Hanson has been around since I was a young child. “MMMBop” was everywhere, whether you loved it or hated it. I’m not ashamed to say (now) that I loved it. Surely you remember these adorable kids:
What you may not realize, however, is that Hanson is still a band with an active fanbase. The band is comprised of three brothers: Isaac, Taylor and Zac, and they each have around 49 children (I’m sort of kidding but not really). Here is the band today:
Hanson fans are wild. I know this because one of my best friends is a Fanson and this entire post is for her birthday (Happy Birthday Sara I hate you so much that I made this for you). Here is my beautiful friend in an amazing photo with the band:
I know and like several Hanson songs, but I am not anywhere near the level of most Hanson fans. That being said, I’m up for the challenge of judging a band I don’t know very well.
I’m not going to sit here and rank EVERY Hanson song, because 1). They have thousands of songs and the Fansons will definitely be mad if I miss any, and 2). They’re still alive and will likely release more music in the future.
So, we’re going to rank every Hanson song that was a single, from worst to best. These are just my opinions of course, but they’re here in print so it’s fact now. Happy Birthday Sara!
Every Hanson Single From Worst to Best
One more time, I need to cover a few things:
- I mostly know Hanson through my friend
- I don’t know a lot about them or their music off-hand
- Although I will do diligent research, I may still get some things wrong. Let me know if I get any facts wrong and I’ll change it, but the rankings are all opinion-based and (probably) won’t change
I know a lot of people won’t read any of this and will just skip to the rankings so they can angrily tell me how wrong I am, and that’s totally fine.
In fact, send me a tweet and let me know your favorite Hanson song:My favorite Hanson song: Click To Tweet
So, here’s what I’m basing my rankings on:
- A lot of these are my first time hearing them, but I’m going to listen to each several times to make sure the rankings aren’t based solely on first impressions
- I understand that technology, mixing and production improve with time, so I’ll try not to judge too harshly based simply on outdated techniques (although for some of them it definitely impacted my ranking)
- The music videos will not be considered in terms of ranking, but they will be analyzed in each song just because I enjoy doing that
- A lot of this will seem like a roast, because that’s just my sense of humor and also they totally deserve it sometimes. I’m not trying to be mean and I will absolutely give credit and compliments when they’re due! Just don’t be mad if I make fun of something, okay Fansons?? I know you love your boys and I get that. I’m just here for fun and for Sara’s birthday.
Important update: This post has been edited with facts from Sara.
I gave this to her on her birthday (April 25th) and it went over pretty well:
We went through the entire post together and she gave me facts I wanted to add. Most of what she said was from her own experience as a life-long fan, but I did try to fact check as much as possible. Links will be provided to all sources. Everything Sara provided is from her own perspective and memory of living through it.
And with that, let’s jump into it!
These are songs that are listed as singles but that I couldn’t find anywhere. I don’t know if Wikipedia is wrong or if I’m not a good detective or what, but here’s the info I have.
Hanson releases members-only songs all the time (which is part of the reason I can’t possibly list every Hanson song ever), but this is listed as a single. What I could hear in that video sounds good, but let me know if you have it and where you’d rank it!
This is listed as a promotional single for their first Christmas album, Snowed In. I cannot find that it was actually a released single, so I didn’t want to rank it unfairly. There isn’t a music video for it, but here is the song.
I love it simply because it’s an original – I’m always a fan of original holiday songs instead of the same 12 we all know. They wrote a solid song and they were super young, so I give it a thumbs up.
This was originally ranked #19 on my list, but after reviewing with Sara I decided to move it to honorable mentions. According to Wikipedia, it is in fact a single. However, I can barely find any info on it and there isn’t a music video.
The beginning vocals are weird as hell. Taylor is doing some kind of talk/yell/singing and it’s…different? But then the chorus hits and it’s a fun, upbeat song about loving someone and all of their little personality quirks, which is super cute.
Honestly my only two gripes about this are the beginning vocals and the fact that I cannot find anything about this single anywhere.
I guess this is a single, but I didn’t find anywhere to actually buy it or stream it legally. It’s a cover of an Infant Sorrow song. While I did find album art on it, this is the only video I could find.
It’s a fun song, I love when they go into grittier rock songs. I just can’t verify that this is an actual single so let me know where you rank it!
Here are my rankings for all currently known Hanson singles:
24). Great Divide
Let’s get this one out of the way first. There are a lot of factors here. They have an African choir (the Iris Ministries Zimpeto Center Choir) singing a song dedicated to raising money for Africa. It feels kind of exploitative? I don’t know.
As a basic white girl, it’s not my place to tell other white people how to be woke. However, this just seems like an awkward, virtue-signaling gimmick. The music video features snippets of their tour for The Walk, where they raised money for kids in Africa who don’t have shoes:
They also donated all proceeds from the single to HIV/AIDS research in Africa. That’s a good thing; charity is great. My friend participated in The Walk tour (they walked barefoot with fans) and loved it at the time.
Relevant backstory: In 2020, Hanson made news for not standing up for the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd was murdered. I’m not here to debate on the scandal (although I gotta say, they handled it pretty poorly imo). I’m just here to talk about the songs: the good, the bad, and the hilarious.
I think a lot of the cringe is in hindsight, due to the controversy about not supporting Black Lives Matter, but then doing this whole “kids in Africa need shoes” thing, and making an African choir join them. It feels “white savior-y” to me, and I say this as someone who has absolutely been wrong and dumb about a lot of PoC issues. I’m still learning and I hope they are too. There is a whole subreddit about the fallout from their recent drama, and they discussed this issue here.
However, let’s analyze the song itself. I just feel like the choir could have been used in so many other great ways. And we can’t separate the song from its message: The lyrics are very generic, talking about “the great divide” but not actually listing any of the problems they’re trying to solve. Then we add the current situation and it’s just a big ol’ yikes from me.
Here is the link if you want to support their charity work. I’m all about helping if/when/where you can. Here is a link to a list of charities that empower black communities, if you want to make sure you’re making an impact. My hope is that Hanson will realize the error of their ways and then continue to release amazing music.
Anyway let’s get back to the music, shall we?
23). Gimme Some Lovin’
This was from the “Jack Frost” movie, which I haven’t seen. I don’t know if that matters, but this song is just…ouch. I feel like it was actually recorded live, but the crowd still seems fake. It’s a continuous wall of screeching throughout the entire song and it’s very unpleasant. The whole thing is an auditory assault and I feel like pressing charges on the mix engineer. It’s also a cover of a song by the Spencer Davis Group, which is a way better mix even in the 1960s.
Hanson has a lot of energy here and they sound good, but I cannot understand a single word they say because the screaming is LOUDER THAN THE VOCALS for most of the song. There are parts where the harmonies are off, but you really can’t tell because the vocals are so buried in the mix.
The video makes it seem live, so maybe it was? I’m so confused:
I don’t know if this technically counts as a single; I had a really hard time finding any info about it even on Wikipedia. This song is just frustrating because if it had been recorded better, it *could* have been great.
I get way less mean as the rankings improve, I promise.
We have a whole 24 seconds of intro music (which isn’t particularly engaging or ear-grabbing) until Zac comes in, and he’s flat right out of the gate. We all know he can sing, so I don’t understand what happened here. He sounds insecure or bored. Autotune definitely existed in 2007 so there is no excuse for vocals to be this flat.
There are two very long verses and then we finally, mercifully get to the chorus at 1:28, but it doesn’t improve the song much. Although the chorus has a bit more power, the vocals have very little energy and holy hell, some of the notes are so off they make my eye twitch. Overall, it feels like a song for the end credits of a bad high school TV show.
The video is equally strange, where it appears Zac casually escapes from 9/11 and walks carefree as the city burns to the ground:
Isaac is under a bridge and Taylor is in a field, and the whole song feels as disjointed as the video.
This and “Great Divide” are from the same album, The Walk. I haven’t heard the rest of the album, but I’m curious as to why this was chosen as a single.
I feel bad ranking this one so low, because it was a single from one of their independent albums (MMMBop) before they were picked up by their label. They were so young here, and I’m comparing it to their current stuff and it doesn’t seem fair. No one said ranking songs was easy, but that’s the life I chose.
The audio at 1:24 – is that supposed to be a live audience? Similar to the other live songs, it’s a heinous tornado of screeching that makes me want to stab my eardrums for relief. However, it is only present during the choruses, so I don’t know if it is an audio loop or an instrument or what. It sounds like garbage, whatever it is.
Isaac is the lead singer and he’s doing his best. It sounds like the key might not be great for him, BUT ALSO HE IS A CHILD and I am not (that big of) a monster. They didn’t have a label yet, they were all toddlers and they were way more talented at that age than I’ll ever be.
The beginning of the video is hilarious and I love it:
The beginning is a parody of Titanic, which all millennials watched at least 400 times. Also this scene cracked me up because Sara this is totally gonna be you. At 1:00 we flash to different edits of the young boys performing in different locations. They really went all out with the iMovie special effects. At 1:24 we see a live performance of the song (which is also where that horrible noise comes in, but it cuts in and out).
At the end of the video, the lady throws her Hanson CD into the ocean, which is how we all know she’s not a real fan.
20). Thinking of You
Although I would rank this song low, it really isn’t a bad song. It’s far better than the best of other artists. The fifth and final single from their debut album, “Thinking of You” feels like an afterthought as a single. It screams ALBUM TRACK to me, from the weird mixing to the very strained vocals on the high notes.
Seriously, why does every young boy band make their lead singer hit Mariah Carey notes? In this case, the boys wrote it themselves, which makes it both impressive and confusing. You had to know you wouldn’t hit those notes, guys. Even if you can hit them now, in like 6 months your voices will change.
The mixing puts the snare louder than anything else throughout the whole damn song. In the final chorus (around 2:13) we get a strange synth (or guitar?) that just makes everything sound like a mess.
It’s also the only single from this album that I couldn’t find a music video for, which means they probably knew it would be a waste of money. So, again…ALBUM TRACK BUT OK.
Wikipedia puts this video as the official music video:
As predicted, they lowered the key several notches. It already sounds way better. Why not do this in the studio??
Just a quick note: There is a Dust Brothers Mix of this song. It doesn’t change the ranking, but this mix is way better in my opinion. I’m also confused because it was released originally on their indie album MMMBop, before they got picked up by a label and released it on Middle of Nowhere. I don’t know if this is the same version because I can’t find the MMMBop version anywhere. I’m sure some Fansons can clear this up so please chime in!
19). Crazy Beautiful
This is actually from the Underneath album, but a live version was released as a single for their live album. The album version of the song is really great, but the live version does not make sense as a single.
Please tell me this was not the mix that was used on the actual album? Please?? I’m not a huge fan of live songs unless the sound is incredible, and it is absolutely not here. It sounds like someone recorded this with their cellphone in 2003.
It’s still a good song, but the production and audio are way better on the album and I recommend just listening to that.
I’ve never seen Hanson live, but from everything I’ve seen and heard, they are incredible. My critique here is on the sound, because I could not imagine just putting this on and listening to it for fun.
18). Save Me
This wasn’t a worldwide single, but I did say “every Hanson single” so we have to include it. It was released only in Brazil and the UK. Here is interesting background info on it.
The verses are incredible. The melody is great and we start to hear Taylor’s iconic voice taking its final form. He soars into feathery falsetto, then squeaks back down into powerful, gritty, belty notes. However, the chorus is just kind of meh. The prechorus builds up like the song is going somewhere, then falls flat into a bland chorus. Taylor’s vocals carry this entire song.
The chorus at the end sounds great. They’re a lot lighter vocally and I kind of wish they had produced the whole thing like that. Maybe it was the prechorus that let me down all along.
I have made many a terrible, cringe-worthy music video in my day. However, every one of my videos featured far more effort than this one:
You only need to see the first 10 seconds, because the entire video is like that. There’s no plot or even a set until about 2:14. At that point, it looks like the brothers were taken hostage and held captive at a roadside outhouse. It’s grainy and glitchy throughout the whole thing, so at least it’s consistent?
The video doesn’t impact the ranking at all, I just love roasting music videos.
17). Penny & Me
I’ll be honest, I can’t understand a word Taylor sings here. The drums are SO LOUD, WE GET IT ZAC, but also it’s so verbose that it’s almost a mumble rap at times. They really were trailblazers in so many ways.
This song itself was a trailblazer, as it was the first single from their own independent record label. They made a documentary about recording the album, and I highly recommend it (although if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen it).
The music video is really cool and visually interesting:
There isn’t really a story or anything, but there’s a lot of angles and footage and it holds my attention.
Overall, the song is fine. The verses, despite being unintelligible, have a great groove. The production and song structure remind me of Jason Mraz’s “The Remedy.” I just sang that on top of this song and it fits almost perfectly.
Misophonia alert: at 1:44 there is something going on, it sounds like Taylor is drooling but it might be an instrument. It jumps out at me every single time and I cannot handle it.
The bridge is cool and different, I think it’s just the chorus that bugs me a bit. That first note is consistently flat, but it’s followed by a cool chord change so it’s like audio whiplash. I don’t know, it’s fine. Let’s move on.
16). I Will Come to You
We start the song with a dreamy ballad feel. Then young Taylor tries out a new singing style, one in which he is not screaming at the top of his lungs. I’ll be honest, it’s kinda weird. There are some notes that don’t come out at all, and they didn’t think it necessary to punch those in for some reason.
Still, it grows into a solid song with a slower groove. As the song gets bigger, we hear the trademark Hanson harmonies, Taylor’s voice gets stronger and the production is great.
Misophonia alert: at 2:33, Taylor sings “that your son is dying,” but it sounds like “thatccchhhhhyour son is dying.” This drops the song’s ranking several places because WHY would you not edit that out?!?
It also has one of the most hilariously inconsistent music videos I’ve ever seen:
At times, Taylor really sells it. Grabbing the air, raising his eyebrows, the whole shebang. However, he only does that about 50% of the time, and the other half he looks exhausted or bored. He’s trying 100% harder than the other two though, because they both just look like they wish they were dead. Isaac seems to think that showing emotion = unhinging your jaw and opening your mouth as wide as possible.
Overall it’s a good song, and I am 100% sure my friend envisioned Zac appearing in her room in a shiny golden light as he does in this video.
15). I Was Born
The song is okay, upbeat and fun.
However, it seems like the song exists entirely so they could make the music video, to reminds us that they have 17,000 children:
It’s a cute video I guess, it’s just kids doing kid stuff. Very low-effort in terms of storyline, but I’m sure it’s enough to make a lot of people happy. I would have much preferred dogs, but that’s just me.
Taylor sings in verse 1 and he’s doing a weird whispery technique, but it sounds good and works with the vibe of the song. We get Isaac singing solo in verse 2, and he’s surprisingly good. Not that I thought he was bad; he’s just not known as the singer of the group.
Lyrically, the song is supposed to be inspirational I guess. “I was born to do something no one’s ever done before,” could mean literally anything. You could cure cancer, or you could be the first person to die while orally pleasuring a polar bear. There’s no limit to what you can do!
14). Better Days
This was released on an exclusive, members-only EP (along with “Compromise,” which we’ll get to in a bit). Honestly I don’t have any actual complaints about it. It’s a complex song, focusing more on their songwriting skills than trying to create a hook. Which, that’s fine, but then I feel like maybe this shouldn’t be a single?
The video is great and I had no idea Isaac could play the cello:
It’s truly a good song, there’s just not anything I remember about it other than Isaac played the cello. The production is great, the mix is great, everything is great. I’m having a hard time ranking them now!
This song was co-written by Desmond Child, and you can definitely tell he impacted this song in many ways. It’s a reflective ballad about how weird it is that we’re all weird. It’s the kind of existential crisis that most young children haven’t had yet. Still, they sing the absolute hell out of it. It’s emotive, powerful, and exactly the kind of song I would have pretended like I understood just to seem cool.
The video features a bunch of crowds and makes me feel agoraphobic:
It’s a quality video, though. They clearly put a lot of thought into the crowds; they aren’t just random faceless people. There are cool shots of just the brothers in an artsy room, and at 2:32 they go underwater on a subway car. I am super impressed at how they’re able to maintain open eye contact and lip sync underwater. I’m impressed with the video as a whole.
12). Finally It’s Christmas
I’m always happy when artists write their own holiday songs, because god knows we have enough covers of the same 10 songs. This is a great addition to any holiday playlist. It’s upbeat and very classically Hanson-sounding, with the addition of sleigh bells.
I absolutely adore the music video intro:
We start with a Bing Crosby Christmas special, which fades into young Hanson talking about Christmas, which fades into now older Hanson watching their younger selves. It’s super cute and Zac’s hair looks like it was styled by angels.
The song starts with a “do do do” part that totally reminds me of “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone.” I love the melody and production. The lyrics are good, but it’s just “how many Christmas cliches can we fit into one song.”
It’s better than hearing the same 15 Christmas songs on the radio 400 times, so I’ll take it. It has an upbeat vibe and Zac looks adorable. How old were they here? Am I allowed to say that yet? This was in 2017 so I feel like I’m safe.
11). This Time Around
Taylor fights with his piano in a loudness contest at the beginning. Then the band comes in and further drowns out his voice until the chorus.
In the video, he moves his head while playing the piano, and I’m willing to bet that’s how he recorded the vocals as well. Pssst….audio engineers….you can fix that.
Isaac takes the verse after the chorus, and I can barely hear him as well until he starts belting. I am truly confused by the mixing on this album as a whole. Their other single (“If Only,” which is up next) also has bad mixing.
The chorus is great, I love the energy of it and the levels are great as long as everyone sings as loud as they possibly can. It’s not fair to make these kids solely responsible for the audio levels when there’s this thing called “normalizing” and/or “compression.”
Mercifully, when the break comes (at 2:50) we have Taylor and his piano and we can hear both. It’s a short-lived relief, because the band comes back in to swallow his vocals a few moments later.
The video is important because it solidifies Taylor as a hairstyle icon. As someone who’s had every hairstyle that Hanson has ever done, this is one of my favorite looks, both on Taylor and myself. I can’t pull it off like he can, but I can record my vocals at a consistent level, so there’s that.
10). If Only
The song begins with a jarring harmonica that made me flinch, and transitions into a jarring harmonica competing with record scratching. Another few seconds and the harmonica would have won, but then Taylor comes in and I can barely hear him. From 0:16 – 0:28 his vocal levels are wildly inconsistent, from inaudible to super powerful.
The video features the band getting thrown all over the place on their tour bus, which seems to be how they recorded the audio as well.
I try to be mindful of the fact that this was recorded a long time ago, but let’s be real: audio mixing has been around way longer than Hanson. Also, Taylor is playing the harmonica in the video, but the actual recording was played by John Popper of Blues Traveler.
This song is important though, because it was the first single from the group’s sophomore album. There was a lot riding on this, and it showed us that the young boys were slowly morphing into young men (vocally anyway, they still look super young).
Honestly, this would be a solid song if the harmonica and record scratch were taken out. The harmonies are perfect, the indie rock vibe sounds great, and eventually the vocal levels are fine. A great choice for a debut sophomore single, in my opinion.
9). Lost Without Each Other
Since I’ve been so critical of their mixing, I feel I should say that this mix is incredible. Everything sounds perfect. Even in the chorus when Taylor slips into falsetto on the high note, it doesn’t get completely lost.
The video is good, no particular storyline, but visually interesting and fits with the high energy of the song:
This was the second single from Underneath, and it wasn’t nearly as successful as “Penny and Me.” I’m shocked by that. I feel like this is a much stronger song, but since this was their first indie album I’m wondering if promotion played a role here. They didn’t have the label backing to put a lot of time or money into any singles, so this one may have slipped through the cracks.
It’s a great song and I’m sad it didn’t bring them the attention they deserved (and needed) at the time.
8). Where’s the Love
I vaguely remember hearing this one once or twice on the radio around the same time as “MMMBop.” It has a similar vibe, just a little more funky (that bass tho). It also has a background choir which really adds to the production.
The music video is full of 90s outfits and nostalgia:
At 1:47, they run into a flock of pigeons and act like they’re going to kick them, and I am not okay with that. I’m sure none of them were hurt, but still. It’s a weird visual transition into the chorus, as terrified birds fly for their lives while preteens kick at them.
The video has a ton of different shots and it stays interesting throughout, but there are a couple of things to note. In the close-up shots of the crowd, the background actors are enthusiastically dancing (or flailing their arms wildly at least). In the wide shots, barely anyone is moving, especially in the back.
At 1:20, we see a woman in a beautiful green head wrap. She’s striking and memorable, which doesn’t work in her favor when they reuse her multiple times in inconsistent background shots. She’s in almost every stair scene, either coming or going. I assume they used the same actors in that scene but I can only focus on her. At 1:21 she walks past them, then she’s behind them again at 1:25. Then at 1:27, she’s walking the other way. At 1:31, there she is again, walking on the other side of them. It goes on like this, you’ll see her in almost every stairway scene.
The song is great, though. Strategically, it made sense to release it right after “MMMBop.” It was the label’s way of saying, “these kids are actually really talented.” It wasn’t as big as the preceding single, of course, but it’s a solid song.
This is a brand new song, released right after they were unmasked as the Russian Dolls on “The Masked Singer” (here are all of their performances if you want to see). Anyway, this is a solid single and a good choice to release right after a lot of national attention:
It has some slight country elements to it, especially in the beginning. The production is great, everything sounds really clean. It starts with the chorus, then goes into the verses at 0:42. The background vocals sound lovely and serve as pedal chords for the verses. At times they can drown out Zac’s vocals a bit, but he sounds great throughout the whole song.
At around 2:30 there’s a really cool breakdown and a key change. It kind of reminds me of a slightly more country version of “Give A Little” (which we’ll get to in a bit).
The video is really well done. It’s just them on a stage performing the song in front of a green screen, but the shots are incredible, the scenery is great and it’s a solid song for their new fans from The Masked Singer (as well as the Fansons, of course).
6). Get the Girl Back
I love this song, mostly because it sounds exactly like my dad’s old band. In the beginning it sounds exactly like “Lowrider” by War. It builds from there, adding Taylor’s whispery, gritty vocals over a cool organ part.
Background vocals kick it up a notch in the prechorus, and we crescendo into the chorus which deserves every bit of buildup it received. The chorus keeps the energy high with added horns. There’s an awesome breakdown with just vocals and percussion, finishing with another high energy chorus. I really love it.
Let’s talk about this video though:
It starts with a closeup of a sign that says “HANSON SOLD OUT” and underneath it says “PUPPET SHOW,” which made me think they were going to be puppets? But there are no puppets at all during this video, so I’m confused.
There is a whole 30 seconds of literally nothing. People standing in line for the puppet show, Kat Dennings is there with a guy playing her boyfriend, people are talking, etc. It could have been a 5 second setup, but whatever.
At 1:48, Kat Dennings gets into a fight(??) with her boyfriend. I rewatched it about a hundred times and I still have no idea what happened. He hands her a drink, she rolls her eyes and stomps off. They were happy when they got there, so I really don’t know what’s going on. Boyfriend is equally confused, but he goes to the bar and then everyone at the bar sings the lyrics to him.
In the breakdown, there is a dance-off?? I guess? We only get small snippets of scenes broken by cutaways to the band. Although Boyfriend didn’t participate in the dance-off, Kat Dennings is impressed that he stood there and did nothing, so they made up? I….okay. I feel like there was either a lot cut from this video, or it was created by 4 different people who all had different ideas of how it should go.
A girl faints at 4:02 for absolutely no reason, and we never find out what happened to her. Maybe she died, IDK.
The concert ends, Kat Dennings and Boyfriend leave. As they walk out, they pass the same group of people still waiting in line for the “HANSON SOLD OUT PUPPET SHOW,” even though the show is over. I’m still waiting for them to turn into puppets or something. Nope. Just a truly bizarre fever dream of a music video with no rhyme or reason.
Such a good song, though.
5). Give a Little
I feel like they’re finally old enough here for me to say this: Taylor is hot. Deny it, I dare you. In this song and video especially, he exudes a swagger that makes me understand how young girls fell for him back then (I didn’t see it until about now).
The video as a whole is really good. Great dancers, lots of excitement, Taylor dry-humping his piano. It’s such a stark contrast to the video above: minimal set design, no plot, but a way better video overall.
Anyway, about the song: It’s a lot of fun. Production is fantastic. Every part of it is a hook, from the guitar line to the horns in the chorus. It’s a great time and I have nothing bad to say about any of it. Rare, I know.
This song was originally at #8, but since I’ve been listening to it nonstop for days I feel it needs to be much higher. The first time I heard it, I was blown away. Their vocal harmonies are mesmerizing. It’s a ballad, very heartfelt and emotionally gripping.
The video is cute, just some behind-the-scenes studio stuff and then some recording footage:
The vocal styling reminds me of 60s rock bands, where super tight harmonies were common (The Eagles, Boston, etc). However, the production is modern and simple. The vocals are the star here and they deliver it so well.
It should be noted that this was a members-only release, but the video is public. They’ve put out quite a few exclusive EPs (I think?) but this is one of the few that the general public is allowed to hear. I’m glad they made that choice because my ears are better for having heard this.
Listen, this song slaps. I’ve definitely burst into spontaneous dance when it came on the air. If you haven’t done this, I know you’ve considered it. Perhaps you were worried you’d be judged, but we need to normalize dancing like an idiot to Hanson at Five Below. Here’s your permission: Surrender to “MMMBop.” It’s good.
This was, of course, their breakout single. It was massive, spreading like a virus throughout radios and schools across the world.
Fun fact: The song originally was much slower, but The Dust Brothers produced it into the upbeat pop track we all know and love. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a good producer can really make or break your entire music career.
The video is super low-budget and a lot of it looks like it was filmed at their actual house:
At 0:16 there is someone in their living room, staring out the window. I kept waiting for him to reappear as some sort of plot-moving character, but I think their dad just didn’t realize they were filming. Also at 0:46, does Zac have dreadlocks??? What is happening?! If they are dreadlocks, I have to redact my previous statement that I’ve had every Hanson hairstyle. If they are tiny braids, I sadly cannot redact it.
Zac’s hair shouldn’t distract you from how much he kills the drums, though. His hands were so tiny! He was like 4 years old when this came out (not really but close) and they are so, so talented.
At 1:28 we watch a flower grow in slow motion, then at 1:40 the band is hilariously super-imposed over the flower. The rest of the video is really cute, just three kids having fun. They run on the beach, they rollerblade, slamming into each other at 3:31. They pretend to be on the moon. It’s just a cute, wholesome video and feels like they had a good time making it.
“MMMBop” by Hanson is a fantastic song and I will hear no arguments about it, thank you good day.
2). Siren Call
This song is so incredible, and the album itself is amazing. I was only going to listen to “Siren Call” and ended up listening to the entire album, including all of the interviews. It’s that good. I particularly love the orchestral version of “MMMBop,” because it proves it’s a good song regardless of the arrangement.
Everything about “Siren Call” is perfect. It’s intense and unsettling in the beginning, but that fades when you get to watch Zac play the drums while singing and also being ridiculously attractive:
My friend’s favorite is Zac, and I totally understand it now. I mean, they’re all cute, but Zac the Snac kills this song. The video itself is just a live performance, but that’s all it needs to be. It’s incredible, it gives me chills, it inspired me to watch the entire rest of the album when I have zero attention span. I cannot recommend this song or album highly enough.
Structurally, the song is perfect. The prechorus lets Zac access his higher register and he does it effortlessly. The chords and harmonies are so good with the full orchestra building throughout. I highly recommend this album as a whole.
1). Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’
Not only is this my favorite Hanson song, it’s one of my favorite songs of all time. I know a lot of people will disagree that this is their best, but feel free to let me know yours! Here’s why it’s my favorite:
My friend had been a Hanson fan from the beginning. When we met, she was never pushy about it (I was far more pushy into forcing her to listen to Whitney Houston). When this album came out, she casually showed me the song and I was blown away. This was probably the first song I had really heard since “MMMBop,” and I was like, “holy shit, they’re amazing!”
Ever since that day, this song is a regular on my playlists. It’s so fun and it never fails to put me in a good mood. We start with just a cowbell and Taylor’s vocals, which grows from there by adding a guitar, and then of course Hanson’s incredible harmonies. The whole song has a retro feel with modern production and mixing, which I love. They sing with passion and attitude. It’s perfect.
The music video is also their most high-effort video to date, with real choreography:
I had no idea Hanson could dance until this point, because mostly they’ve just played their instruments. Before I realized who it was, I was like “Wow, that tambourine player at 0:43 has amazing energy, I love him.” The guy playing the tambourine is Weird Al. This is the best collab that has ever happened, hands down.
In the video, for some reason, they kept the sound from the dancing in instead of muting it. This means we hear every shoe squeak and hand clap. I could have done without that, but whatever. They have a whole crowd dancing, cutting back to scenes in the studio where Isaac, Zac and Weird Al dance while Taylor sits like Ray Charles with sunglasses on, swaying back and forth. I was kind of disappointed he wasn’t dancing, but he joins the crowd at 3:24 to join in the choreography.
It’s so cute, it’s so fun, it’s such a great song. My favorite Hanson song and one of my top 20 songs of all time.