1. A rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause.
With arching melodies, epic guitar riffs and rhythms inciting you to put your hands in the air, anthems give us a soundtrack to life’s defining moments. And for HANSON, their sixth studio album ANTHEM marks the beginning of their third decade of making music together.
Over their first 20 years, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson have made their mark. Five years building a fanbase as an independent band led to a meteoric rise with the 1997 international smash single MMMBop from their debut album Middle Of Nowhere. A long line of hits, four more studio albums, multiple Grammy nominations and over 16 million album sales followed. Over their second decade, the band charted their own course running an independent label while maintaining a coveted connection with their global fanbase, and in 2007 they launched a grassroots campaign to support poverty and HIV/AIDS relief in Africa (TakeTheWalk.net).
Set for release in the US in June followed by worldwide release and a coordinated world tour, the bands sixth studio album ANTHEM is an album that celebrates the power of music to ignite passion and bring people together.
“We have always been in awe of the ability music has to engage people, whether it’s a song that makes you want to dance, or a song that inspires you to take action for a cause. We want this record to be the anthem for all of those moments”, says Taylor.
Following two years of non-stop touring behind the bandʼs critically acclaimed fifth studio album Shout It Out, they decided to re-group at their home base in Oklahoma to shape the sound and vision for the album that would mark a new era for the band. Over the summer of 2012 the music that began to unfold was infused with new energy, producing a melodic tour de force. To begin recording ANTHEM, which is produced and written solely by the band, they returned to Sonic Ranch Studios where the buffer of thousands of acres of pecan groves and desert provided an essential escape from distraction. There they captured the foundation of the album the old-fashioned way, live, in one room.
From the blistering blues guitar riff of ‘Fired Up’, to the intimidating power of ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ and the unstoppable grooves of ‘I’ve Got Soul’ and ‘Tragic Symphony’, the listener is buoyed by the high- energy and force of the music. The album also continues the band’s signature vocal harmonies and eclectic influences, with guitar driven pop like ‘Cut Right Through Me’ and the soaring sing-along ‘Scream And Be Free’, as well as the romantic innocence of ‘Lost Without You’. There is a tip of the hat to power ballads, with Isaac taking center stage on lead vocal with ‘For Your Love’, and Zac carrying the entrancing heartache of ‘Save Me From Myself’, which features Gogol Bordello’s Yuri Lemeshev on accordion.
“The sound of this record touches on most of our musical influences, a bit of soul, a bit of song craftsmanship and some good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll … this time it just has a little more fight in it”, says Isaac.
The album’s debut single ‘Get The Girl Back’ shines a bright light on their largest influence, 60’soul and rock ‘n’ roll, and it comes bursting out of the speakers from the first beat.
The video, a narrative tale which features the band performing in a packed club while characters’ relationships evolve around them, showcases an ensemble cast of their friends led by actress/writer Nikki Reed (Thirteen), and Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls, Thor), Drake Bell (Drake & Josh), Paul McDonald(American Idol), Drew Seeley (Another Cinderella Story), and newcomer Alex Beh. “It also has that vibe of a big, sweaty rock show that you’d want to be at,” Taylor says. “The video invites people into the first chapter of a story that we hope inspires everyone to want to stick around for more,” says Zac.
HANSON friends Michael ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick and Joe Karnes, from Los Angeles-based indie soul band Fitz and the Tantrums joined them on ‘Get The Girl Back’. “It’s hard to find bands whose sound and aesthetic is similar to ours,” Taylor says, “But we connected on a love of ‘60s soul and pop”.
In addition the record features guest appearances from music aficionado Tom “Bones” Malone (Blues Brothers Band, David Letterman band and band leader on Saturday Night Live), who contributed horns to ‘I’ve Got Soul’ and ‘Get So Low’, and Imani Coppola who added strings to ‘Tragic Symphony’, highlighting the song’s classic Michael Jackson influence. The band also reunited with renowned mix engineer Tom Lord-Alge, who mixed their first two major studio albums.
Every album has a story, a pattern of events and influences that come together to create a piece of work. In the case of ANTHEM, the greatest part of the story is the element of HANSON which has always been core to their success – their dedication and passion to reach for the best, for their music and their fans. For this band their ANTHEM is melody, passion, and conviction to stay the course with their music and with their faithful supporters; and that is an ANTHEM for the ages.