Friday, May 20, 2005

Guilty Pleasures #1: Hanson Middle Of Nowhere (1997)

Released in 1997, Middle Of Nowhere literally sprung out from the middle of nowhere, as the 3 Hanson brothers unleashed their brand of bubblegum pop onto the unsuspecting pop world. Fair enough, the boyband and girlband movement had already taken flight with the introduction of Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and Spice Girls a couple of years back, but Hanson were more than just a boyband. Comparisons to family bands such as the Jackson 5 and the Osmonds would be more appropriate, as the Hanson brothers played their instruments as well.

Comprised of Zachary (then 11), Taylor (13) and Isaac (16), Hanson released their first single MmmBop, which promptly went to #1 on the Billboard 100. MmmBop was bubblegum pop at its best, with a sing-a-long chorus that really didn't make much sense and Taylor's cutesy voice adding to its appeal.

Before dismissing them as one-hit wonders, Hanson returned to the Top 10 with their second single, Where's The Love. It was a up-tempo track that was edgier than its predecessor and rocked harder. In August, they posted another single in the Top 10, I Will Come To You. It was a ballad and it was supposedly to counter the bubblegum pop formula that crtics have panned them for. Two other singles, Weird and Thinking Of You, didn't create huge impacts on the charts.

Middle Of Nowhere is a guilty pleasure because being kids, most people did not take them seriously. However, the album does contain some very nice tunes and I get a kick out of listening to them and singing along to them.

Weird does contain some good lyrics, such as, "When you live in a cookie-cutter world, being different is a sin. So you don't stand out, and you don't fit in...weird."

My favourite track of the album is A Minute Without You, featuring Isaac on the leads, who surprisingly has quite a pleasant voice. Another gem is Yearbook, a haunting ballad about a guy called Johnny who is missing, with his "picture unavailable" on the yearbook.

Hanson were nominated for 3 Grammys in 1998 - Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (both for MmmBop). Sadly they won none. In all, Middle Of Nowhere is a good listen when you don't want to take things too seriously. Just sit back and enjoy the catchy tunes, you won't regret it.


At 8:34 pm, Blogger sottovoce said...

I loved "I will come to you" !! I watched the MTV repeatedly man.. those were the days when I had cable..
"Mmmbop" was nice but got over played after a while.

I remember being amazed that the little kid who was like 10 or something could play drums so well.

Later on when they all got older, and the lead singer's voice broke, they released another song (I forgot the title) but it didn't do as well I think... looks like prepubescent voices sell.


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