This year, I want to go back to ground zero: the music. For me, a truly great show is rarely ever isolated to just the music; it’s a combination of the performance and plenty of other variables like the company, location, or some specific interaction. This particular show didn’t fit that mold for me. Don’t get me wrong, the friendships and all of those other variables were great as usual, but something about the new music just firmly planted this one in the “other” category in the best way possible. It's great to be able to get something more than auditory satisfaction from music, but I think at the core it's still important to be able to connect to the music on an individual level and not get completely taken away by the wonderful byproducts we value so much. Something about this show felt more personal and internal than communal to me and fit well with Isaac's discussion of music and spirituality having a place together. This one was all about the music for me.
The songs they debuted blew me away in a way that I haven’t felt before at any of my 100+ shows (the closest was hearing Use Me Up for the first time live at the MOE in 2009). That probably sounds like a huge exaggeration, and maybe I got caught up in the moment a bit, but that's my honest first reaction. The music felt fresh and inspired and enthusiastic in a way that I didn’t get from the last few EPs (or maybe ever, if I’m being honest). I’ve made the comment here before that going to a Hanson show is not a religious experience for me, but I have to say this is the closest I’ve come so far to revoking that statement. The music from Play in particular was just outstanding to me. There was one song called “Feeling Alive” that made me feel like I wanted to cry because it was so good and so right. It made me emotional for no good reason that I could identify other than pure satisfaction of a song well done. I don’t even remember how it went, but I remember how I felt. Maybe the feelings I had were facilitated by the vaulted ceilings and the crowd of raised arms below me at the Brady, but it felt like a Hanson revival of sorts. I hope the recording can capture even a fraction of what it felt like to be in that room for me.
If you watched the Making of Loud live streams at all, there was one that started with a short clip of Zac playing a song on the piano that had the line “Do you believe that somebody’s made for you.” It was really pretty and I was worried that it was going to be another great segment that would go into the Hanson vault for years to come, so I was surprised and delighted to hear it at the show. It went from what sounded like a ballad in the stream to this epic pop song that Zac said has the biggest vocal range out of any Hanson song yet, and is probably only second in speed to “White Collar Crimes.” It sounds like Queen and Hanson and birthday cake and money raining from the sky. I am not leaving disappointed.
I don't remember much about "Joyful Noise" or "Man on Top" except that I liked both of those a lot too, and "Man on Top" had a "na na" part that I swear was just a few syllables shy of being the Clarissa Explains it All theme song. Sorry if you'll never unhear that now.
The songs from Loud are all catchy and earworm worthy and my brain can't seem to decide which one it wants to put on a permanent loop. I think it's a toss up between "No Rest for the Weary" and "Stop Me in My Tracks" so far. They ended up removing the kazoo parts, and I have to confess I think it was a good call because it sounded great without it. I'm not sure the world was ready for the sound of a swarm of bumblebees humming along to Hanson music. I've just read through all of the lyrics and I can't even tell you how excited they make me, especially "No Rest for the Weary." I'll cut the Loud commentary short because I'll do a full review of the EP later since I already have it in hand.
I've mostly avoided reading other fans' opinions and commentary on the weekend so I could figure out where I stood first without second guessing myself, so I don't know if I'm the lone crazy that absolutely loved it all or if I'm speaking for the class again. Maybe people will read this and go "OMG, were we even at the same show?" and think I'm being sappy as usual, but I hope there's a pretty big group of "OMG, me too!" I can honestly say I have so much confidence in the sound of this new music, and it makes me excited to see what the future holds for Hanson and for us.
Part 2: Play (Hanson Day Events)