Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spotlight of the week: Hanson's "Shout It Out"

My wife told me early into our relationship that she was a huge Hanson fan. I overlooked such a lapse in judgment because of the fact that Hanson at least always played their own instruments and wrote their own songs and since she would've been one of those 10-year-old girls screaming at the band when they first became famous, naturally she would have some nostalgic attachment to them. She showed me a couple of their "grown up" songs, and I was happily surprised at their lack of suckiness, so her sense of taste may not have been totally misplaced. Then she told me that Hanson had come out with a new album and I absolutely had to buy it for her. Begrudgingly, I did, and what I ended up finding was an incredibly catchy and enjoyable album.

Shout It Out is Hanson giving a big injection of r&b and soul into their immaculately crafted pop sound. Horns, B-3 organs, and soulful guitars abound on the album, and the songs truly shine with the combination. Lead singer Taylor's voice has grown up, there's no trace of the kids who infected us with "Mmmbop" all those years ago. Of course, when Hanson was on tour for this album and came through their hometown of Tulsa, my wife insisted we go. So, still begrudgingly, I took her and I was totally blown away. They had the tightest vocal harmonies I'd ever heard in concert, and I've heard a lot of live vocals over the years. Youngest brother Zac has turned into the best musician of the group, laying down some juicy beats and tasty fills. Guitar playing Isaac looks the most grown up of the three (not surprising, being the oldest), and his restrained playing adds a lot of backbone to Taylor's deliciously hammy frontman tendencies.

I've seen two of the songs from the album on VH1, lead single "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'" a few months ago (the video's a parody of the Ray Charles section of The Blues Brothers, watch for Weird Al Yankovic cameo-ing as the tambourine player), and just this past week the dance inducing "Give A Little". Who knows, maybe the boys will stick around a while longer, and if they continue to grow like this, I'll not doubt my wife's tastes anymore. I've had Shout It Out on heavy rotation on my iPod for a while now and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere.

"Thinking 'Bout Somethin'"

"Give a Little"

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