March 27, 2016

MMMStop: A Fan’s Reaction to Hanson in the Media

We’ve seen an unexpected spike in Hanson mentions lately, and it’s kind of ironic when you think about it. In the last twenty years, Hanson has had multiple new albums and tours, started a non-profit charity organization, founded a music and beer festival with over 40,000 attendees, and started their own record label, all while most media outlets were busy covering things like the next seasonal Starbucks flavor or which muffin looks the most like a Chihuahua. Meanwhile, all it takes is someone getting confused about the release date of “MMMBop,” and suddenly an article about singing the wrong words to a ~20-year-old song goes viral. As a die-hard fan, it’s a little annoying, but we’re used to the MMMBop commentary by now. I’ll hit the “share” button and smile knowing that maybe a handful of people will be reintroduced to a forgotten talent, because this is the internet, and I know all too well that sometimes you click a random link and find yourself 47 Youtube videos deep three hours later.

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.

Also, every possible groan-worthy stick-an-MMMBop-pun-in-the-title variation has already been done. Yes, every single painfully cheesy variation. Time to mmmove 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 man, I sure hope they keep making music more than anything. You guys can keep your nostalgia; I can't wait to see what they do next.


Unknown said...

Great job Holly. As someone who hasn't loved them since I was 12, it's nice to see someone talking about their talent.

asphodelia said...

Amen. I can only second what Kasey said, as I'm also a 'new' fan and I really struggle to relate to all this BS.

Unknown said...

Nice! Well said!

Anonymous said...

Preach girl!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is embarrassing.

Kathline Butler said...

Well said! While yes, they are VERY attractive, they also have TALENT. I'm not exactly a new fan, but a rediscovered fan. I honestly have vague memories of MmmBob, my first experience was the TTA album. Then yes, I was on YouTube one day and came across oh Darlin'. I was like, WHO is THAT?? And yup, I have to admit, Zac did it better. :)

Misty said...

Well said. Every round of these stupid posts/articles gets even more tedious for some reason, probably because their music was genuinely what drew me in in the first place (I heard them on the radio and decided I wanted their album weeks before I had any idea what they looked like). As you said, if we want articles done right, I'm afraid we'll have to write them ourselves and hope they get around.

Unknown said...

This is so well written because it's how so many of us that have been a fan for any length of time feels about Hanson. I saw the article about Hanson all grown up, I didn't share it because that is not the reason I've been a fan for 18 years.

Ashley Allred said...

Holly, very well said! I saw the buzz feed "article" too and I thought it was pretty obnoxious. Sure, they are good looking but the truth is... the talent is where it's at.

Unknown said...

"Did you know they're all married and have kids now?" Do you know how many times I've been asked that when people find out I like Hanson? Good greif! Yes I know, that's what most people do when they grow up, they also still make music too! I agree with this article but I still enjoy the nostalgia. I love remembering when I first fell in love with Hanson. I got so much crap, but it was worth it. It is a trip that all these years later people still can't get over the long haired kids rollerblading. I took someone who knew nothing about them other than Mmmbop to a concert and he said he was surprised how much fun he had. He also said, he'd never heard a crowd sing along and get so excited over every song. He gave them a chance and had a great time. Yep, people are really missing out!

Laura said...

I second all of this! Good job Holly! :)

Katie said...

This. Everything about this. Exceptionally well written. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

AMEN!!! From fanson to fanson, I cannot thank you enough for publishing these points. My 12 yr old son & I (30) will be attending one of their many concerts & couldn't be honored (and excited!) ~Beth from VA

Amanda S.C said...

This article is everything that's good in the world and more. Hanson should get way more credit for the music they write and play. I still hope they will get it someday, but I think each true fan's excitement when they release a new song, or a new album, or tour dates, is way more important to them than what some ignorant people might think of them. That's part of what makes them exceptionally good musicians and people to me. Thank you for this article!!!!

marie_girlnz said...

omg, i love this article! I get so sick and tired of.. Oh i didnt know they were still together... or oh did they get back together! YES they are still going and NO they never broke up!

Jody L. Powell said...

Exactly right, Holly. I'm going to share this, because you took the time to write what I've been thinking every time I see the word "reunion" associated with this tour. The only thing I would add to this is the emphasis that Hanson is not a boy band.

thinkofbroadway said...

I agree with all of this and thank you tremendously for writing it and sharing it. On top of the media and pop culture at large being mostly ignorant of Hanson as a band, this just further drives home my own weariness about the badly-written, completely un-researched trash that passes for "journalism" and gets shared every day.

And damn that Buzzfeed trashticle pissed me off. Even as a kid--with a massive crush on Taylor--I kept saying, "yeah they're cute, but that's not the point! If they were ugly, the music would still be good!"

I actually identify as predominantly asexual now and I'm still a fan of the band, so take that as you will. :)