June 8, 2015

(Inside) Inside the Box

1. "Dance Like You Don't Care"

"Dance Like You Don't Care" is one of those songs you're not meant to study too closely. It has more of an electronic sound than I normally like, I laughed hard at some of the lyrics the first time I saw them on paper ("have it sauteed, grilled or filleted..."), and I have no idea what a "swing man" is. But put it all together and it just sounds like a good time. This one is tied for my favorite song on Inside the Box.  I mean how could I NOT like a song with a Space Jam pun?

(Bonus points because I knew he was saying kool-aid all along.)

2. "Give Me Your Best Shot"

This song is like the angry, trash-talking cousin of "You Can't Stop Us." The difference is it's directed at one person, and it's missing that extra punch in the drums. It works though, because it's not threatening to beat you up exactly. It says something more like "I don't need to pound anything heavy and intimidating because even your best shot is pretty weak." Best part: the line "Your face is turning red/But my knuckle's turning white."

3. "Grace Unknown"

I have to admit, based on the title alone, I didn't have high hopes for this song. But then Isaac's voice happened and that was the end of that short-lived, unfounded opinion. I really like everything about the sound of this song, from the instruments to the harmonies and all kinds of fun music-speak I don't know the terms for. Bottom line, I think I speak for everyone when I say:

4. "Don't Hide Your Tears"

I caught the end of the livestream for this song when it was still in the works, and I just knew it was going to be a skip song. My first impression is that it sounded cheesy and fluffy and not about anything real. And then all the stuff with my dad happened and I finally got the finished product in my hands, and the lyrics felt like they were written for me. "Let me be your escape/Every day I'll run away with you" and "Let me heal your tragedy/ Turn your troubled heartbeat red from blue." That was my Hanson Day experience this year put into words and wrapped up with little angelic Beach Boy-style harmonies on top. One of Hanson's strengths has always been the way their voices blend together, and this song showcases some of their best harmonies, in my opinion. I think if I had to pick, this one is my real favorite from Inside the Box. It's a happy sad that just makes me feel better when I listen to it.

5. "What Are We Fighting For"

The first line of "What Are We Fighting For" throws me off every time. My brain wants to think he's just repeating the same phrase a little bit differently, but then it catches that subtle difference between "What are we fighting?" and "What are we fighting for?" One is looking for a reason, and one is looking for that thing that brings people together in the first place that makes any fight worth fighting. I love that the title is the version of that question that looks for the deeper connection and not the fight itself. It's more hopeful that way.

Or maybe this is just a classic example of an English teacher over-analyzing and reading into something that isn't there.

My only disappointment with this year's kit is the lack of Styx song titles. Come on, Hanson. After "Best of Times" in 2013 and "Show Me the Way" in 2014, I had high hopes for a "Come Sail Away," or knowing Zac, a "Mr. Roboto."