Hanson gets a bad rap.
The family trio first appeared on the music scene in the ’90s — the decade of boy bands, Britney Spears and the pop music explosion.
Then, in the summer of 1997, something unusual happened.
Three home-schooled brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, released their debut album, “Middle of Nowhere” (1997), and hit it big.
The album went quadruple platinum and the first single, “MMMBop,” held the Billboard No. 1 spot for three weeks.
In November of that year, Hanson released their first Christmas album, which included a mix of holiday staples and new songs. It has become an enduring Christmas tradition for many fans.
Now, 20 years after their initial success, Hanson is celebrating with a new Christmas album.
Not gone at all
While many think they disappeared into obscurity, Hanson actually have been steadily building a catalog of music that most musicians would envy.
The band always has had a loyal fan base, which they keep by continually connecting with them via their membership site, Hanson.net.
Hanson now have eight albums, two demos, two live albums and a greatest-hits collection in their discography.
Thirteen albums in 25 years is nothing to sneeze about for any band, much less one that went independent after their second album.
Independent, you say?
Decades before this move was considered viable, Hanson created their own production studio so the band’s sound could evolve.
This is apparent in their discography. While “Middle of Nowhere” is fairly straightforward pop, their second album, “This Time Around” (2000), showed slightly more rock than pop leanings.
By the time “Underneath” (2004) came out, Hanson already was exploring a new sound.
As the years have progressed, each new album has explored new sounds while still holding on to the authenticity that makes Hanson’s music timeless.
More than just albums
One of the things that makes Hanson so beloved by their fans is the fact that members of Hanson.net receive access to an exclusive EP every year.
That’s right, new music every single year.
It might not be an entire album, but it’s way more music than most bands release.
This means no year is Hanson-less, which for music lovers is a big deal.
It can take some bands years to release new music.
The only thing worse than waiting for a favorite band’s new album is the eternal wait for George R.R. Martin to finish his Song of Ice and Fire books.
Hanson’s music always has been way deeper than what is on the surface of their songs.
This statement has earned me a lot of eye-rolling through the years — and even a few friends and family members who occasionally wish they could pretend not to know me.
However, I will argue this point until the day I no longer have breath.
All “MMMBop” jokes aside, that song is ultimately about holding on to the people who actually care about you. Otherwise, you’ll end up alone when you’re old.
Considering they wrote this song before any of them were 16, I’d say that it’s pretty deep.
Their continued growth as artists and musicians only adds to their timelessness.
Here I am, 20 years later, discussing in an online blog the merits of a group that hit it big before the majority of the U.S. had access to the internet — and I am not the only one.
Finally, it’s Christmas
Along with a greatest hits compilation, Hanson also has released their first Christmas album since 1997’s “Snowed In.”
“Snowed In” has been on my list of essential Christmas listens since it was released.
So you can imagine my excitement when they announced they were releasing new holiday songs.
I only had to wait another year to finally hear “Finally It’s Christmas.” Trust me — it was well worth the wait!
Once again, it is a delightful mix of Christmas classics with a Hanson twist and original songs that will warm your heart.
This album also joins the ranks of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Trans-Siberian Orchestra as my must-listen Christmas favorites … no matter what time of year the mood to hear them strikes me.