June 16, 2014

(with songs reviewed by a fan)

Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re aware that Hanson has an official fan club. If not, congratulations, you’re one sentence in and you’ve already learned something new today. It’s $40/year ($50 international) and includes a “membership kit” (EP + fan club card), access to exclusive forums on hanson.net, and a slew of other potential perks provided they happen within your year of membership. For someone like me that frequents the forums to connect with other fans, travels to plenty of Members Only Events, and can't imagine not having on a ton of extra EP songs, the price is worth it year after year. Dear 16 year old me who would have mercilessly taunted someone in a Hanson fan club, get over yourself. The joke's on you in 10 years anyway.

This year's EP, MUSIC MADE FOR HUMANS (WITH ROBOTS TRAINED BY MONKEYS), made its debut in Tulsa last month for Hanson Day. Now that most fan club members have had a chance to receive it and give it a listen, here's my review.


Take Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again," put it in a minor key, wipe some of the audible smiles out of it and you get this song. It's less a celebration of life on the road and more a cautionary tale. It warns "You'll pay the toll, if you have a pretentious soul," among other sage advice for anyone choosing music and the traveling lifestyle it demands. You can practically hear the desert and dust in the guitar.

It also has one of my favorite lyrics on the EP:
"And there is no destination but the journey you are on."


Take the last line "I may not be a dancer, but I just can't wait to try" and substitute "Michael Jackson" in place of "dancer." I won't be the first or last to make the comparison, and I think Taylor did a pretty decent job of bringing out some MJ vibes in this song.


It's neat getting to hear Isaac branch out and showcase his falsetto, something we don't hear often if ever. I want to love this song but the truth is, at no fault of Isaac's vocals, it's just not my favorite (today, anyway. Hi, I'm fickle). The picture it paints is a little too close to other Hanson songs for me. Something about the line "dressed so fine you could make me blind" was bothering me, and I finally realized it's because if you rewind back to another Isaac lead on another EP, you'll hear the lyric "You know that skirt's so short your eyes could bleed." It's an occasional skip song for me on the CD, but I did enjoy it more live.


This is the earworm track, the one you can love or hate but you're going to be singing it regardless. Luckily, I happen to like it. My only complaint is I wish I had a better understanding of what this song is actually about. The past is catching up to somebody, but who and in what context? I do think it's interesting that the song is written in the perspective of the people that are carrying out the apparent justice being served. "We know your secrets." "We're gonna take what's left of your soul." "Tonight we ride." They're a united front against something and a force to be reckoned with if you're the guilty party. Pray it's not you.


"White Collar Crime" is my personal favorite from this year's EP. It's satirical and pokes fun at anyone with a get-rich-quick scheme way of thinking as Zac tackles the persona of that guy forever stuck on the verge of the next big thing. Props to Zac for being able to sing the line "I got my M&P and I.P.O. in R&D. Ain't no competition, I'm the whole entire industry" without getting tongue tied. They nailed this song live and it was a great way to end the set of new EP songs with a bang.

*The "S" gets an asterisk/question mark because the title is written as "White Collar Crime" on the back of the CD case and in iTunes, but "White Collar Crimes" in the lyric booklet.