In defense of Hanson – they’re all grown up

by Loren Bailey

When I was 13, their album was the first CD I owned. And at 16, theirs was the first concert I ever experienced, yet not many people know that because of the teasing I was positive would follow. Fast forward to more than a dozen years later, I still encounter that same insecurity when admitting, “Yes, I am a Hanson fan.”

Why then am I announcing this for all to hear? Well, because Hanson’s latest album, Shout It Out, contains a message to boldly and proudly be who you are in spite of others’ opinions. I have long believed Hanson’s music is what set them apart from the rest of the boy bands, and it is what continues to draw me in album after album. This trio is no longer a group of kids with long hair, but a talented group of adults with a lot to offer. If I were a music expert maybe I could offer some specific technical insight, but from a fan who has endured the test of time, Hanson is a band that deserves to be respected regardless of personal tastes.

Hanson cites artists from the 1950s and ’60s including Chuck Berry and Otis Redding as their early musical influences and when compared to previous albums, Shout It Out is by far the most true-to-form Hanson album. Recorded as a unit rather than as separate tracks, Shout It Out has a spontaneity and energy often hard to replicate when recorded separately. Prior to Shout It Out, Hanson collaborated with various producers including the Dust Brothers, Mark Hudson and Greg Wells, but for the first time the band solely wrote and produced this entire album. If there was ever a time to give this band another listen, it would be now.

Hanson experienced a lack of success recording This Time Around in 2000 as they recorded over 80 tracks only to be rejected by executives at their record label, Island Def Jam. After a three-year struggle, Hanson broke ties with Island Def Jam and founded their own label, 3CG Records. Since becoming indie artists, Hanson has reached the No. 1, NO. 4 and NO. 2 spots on the Billboard Top

Independent Albums chart with Underneath in 2004, The Walk in 2007 and Shout It Out, respectively.

All bands need two things to survive: people to buy their albums and people to go to their concerts. The details of my first Hanson concert are a bit fuzzy as it was more than a decade ago, but I can assure you the piercing screams coming from thousands of teenage girls will stay in my memory for a long time to come. Since then, though, much has changed for the Hansons and their fans; the men aren’t as outnumbered as they used to be. Beyond the notion a Hanson concert is just for teenage girls lies an entertaining concert that is well worth the reasonable ticket price.

Since the release of Shout It Out, there has been a slew of articles about a possible Hanson revival. The music video for the first single, “Thinking ‘Bout Something,” has more than 1.8 million YouTube views and a rating of 93 precent. This was enough momentum to get the VH1’s attention and they added it to the video playlist. After the success of Shout It Out and a five-night stint in New York City, Hanson is touring this summer across the United States with opening band Rooney. Hanson plays Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre on July 31.