Right after these MMMBop articles made the rounds, I spotted a new article with the title "Reminder: The Men from Hanson Are All Grown Up Now" while scrolling through Facebook on a break at work. I spent the rest of the day thinking “Good for them. Here’s someone that actually wants to focus on Hanson’s current music.” I sat down at my computer to read it as soon as I got home, ready to applaud whatever forward thinker took the time to see past the apparent blinding success of “MMMBop.”
Maybe I should have anticipated that the entire article would be one big Buzzfeed slobberfest over Hanson’s appearances. It turns out grown-up Hanson is “hot enough to just melt the pants right off ya” and not much else these days. Somewhere around the gif of Isaac’s hair flip, it occurred to me that I can either continue to be annoyed by shallow articles, or I can stop hoping to click on that perfectly enlightened piece that doesn’t exist and write it myself. It won't go viral and I offer no sweaty gifs to lure you in, but here’s the truth every Hanson fan wants you to know every time you see another “MMMBop” article.
1. First of all, MMMBop rocks, okay?
It’s not the embarrassing Pokemon shirt you refused to take off in 3rd grade that your friends still won’t let you live down; it’s a Grammy-nominated song that hit #1 in 27 countries. You’re doing pretty well if that’s the one moment from your childhood that people choose to dwell on.
2. Who cares if they're pretty?
I’m not about to argue with the fact that the members of Hanson are attractive, but that fact is so irrelevant to their talent and their craft that it shouldn’t even rank in the conversation. It’s like writing an article about a presidential candidate and mentioning the fact that they have feet. Who cares, unless we’re looking for a candidate that can run a marathon in addition to a country? Nobody in Hanson is trying to be a model or a pinup, and I’m pretty sure Zac’s face isn’t going to surprise us with a killer drum solo any time soon.
3. The Hanson I know melts faces, not pants.
If you go to a show, yeah, they’ll probably play “MMMBop.” They’ll also play songs from their other five albums, and the whole crowd will know every word. The energy is intense, so you’ll probably get your feet trampled if you try to stand still during “If Only” or “In the City.” You’ll involuntarily stomp during “You Can’t Stop Us;” I don’t care who you are. If you're lucky, you'll get to experience their cover of the Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” and you’ll have to swear to yourself that you’ll never tell another soul that Hanson did it better. Their harmonies will SLAY you. I dare you to go to a show and not enjoy or at least respect some aspect of it.
4. Their current tour and/or album is neither a “comeback” nor a “reunion.”
As a Hanson fan with an English degree, I'm offended by articles like this on two levels. Thirty seconds, an internet connection, and the ability to spell both “Google” and “Hanson” is literally all it takes to find out that Hanson has never stopped making music and has been steadily touring and releasing albums since 1997. Suggesting otherwise is pretty insulting to both the band and their fans, and it’s insulting to the entire audience of readers who expect accuracy when choosing to spend their time reading a publication. If I wanted fiction, I’d go to the library. It also says a lot about modern journalism when even the most reputable sources show zero effort to do research to verify basic facts.
And then you get the media outlets that post “reunion” articles every single tour, for which I can only suspect amnesia is to blame.
5. Hanson isn't a "boy band."
They're often lumped into this category for two reasons: 1. They were literally boys in a band, and 2. They became famous around the same time as several well-known boy bands. The term "boy band" refers to a group of male singers also known for dancing. They're typically vocalists/performers who do not write or play their own music.
Isaac, Taylor, and Zac have written and performed all of their own music since the band formed back in 1992. In the last decade, I have personally seen them play the piano, guitar, drums, harmonica, tambourine, mandolin, cajon, cowbell, glockenspiel, and half a dozen other percussion instruments I can't even begin to identify. I've seen Taylor and Zac drum in unison, mirrored on a set of left and right-handed drum kits. I was also on the set of a music video shoot that involved choreographed dancing in homage to the Blues Brothers. The finished product is solid, but let's just say no one mistook them for a boy band while we were filming the flashmob scene.
6. They continue to grow and change, just like everyone else.
And if you must judge them on qualities beyond their music, remember that they’re philanthropists and goofballs and genuinely good people. They aren’t afraid of hard work or criticism, and they’ve had lots of experience with both. I hope we never forget MMMBop, and I hope their faces will stick around for a long time, but I hope they keep making music more than anything. You guys can keep your nostalgia; I can't wait to see what they do next.
originally published on 3/27/16