June 18th, 2013
by Pete Crigler
On their ninth, yes their ninth album, Hanson is trying hard to reestablish the band in the ever-changing pop world. In essence, if you are still thinking about them as the little teenyboppers that made your sister happy in 1997 with “MMMBop,” then you’re thinking about them the wrong way entirely. Over the last few years, they have been working steadily to rebuild their name, and on this album they have managed to make a pretty decent pop album for the 21st century.
Now, I will say that I haven’t paid much attention to Hanson over the last few years so I was taken aback by the opening track, “Fired Up,” which has a great rocking feel and was something I didn’t expect from the trio of brothers from Oklahoma. Nonetheless, I was more than pleasantly surprised by it – in this day and age, it’s a refreshing change of pace from the other pop sap on the radio. The full-on sixties party throwback that is “I’ve Got Soul” keeps more in line with what they’ve been doing over the last few records and is also a great celebratory song for the summer. It’s a strong one that will please the longtime fans and maybe rope in a few new ones as well.
“You Can’t Stop Us Now” is one of those tunes that makes the listener completely forget about “MMMBop”. The first single “Get the Girl Back” sounds a lot like Taylor’s old band Tinted Windows and it should be on the radio, but perhaps isn’t quite as strong as some others on the record.
The ballad “Juliet” is one of the most sluggish of the band’s new material, starting slow out of the gate and never really catching up to itself. “Already Home” sounds like something from around 2000 or so, which could either be a good or bad thing depending on how big a Hanson fan you are and how much you liked their This Time Around album. “For Your Love” is damn near perfect and would sound great on FM pop radio if they played anything like this anymore – an all-around great song that works on its own merit.
“Lost Without You” sounds like the tried, true and tested formula of Hanson and is sure to appease old and new fans alike, and should be able to bring in some new converts to a good old pop sound. “Cut Right Through Me”; however, ranks as weak in comparison. To be forthright, it would probably sound much better coming out of the speakers at the local amphitheater. “Scream and Be Free” is sure to be an instant classic amongst the Hanson faithful and will probably become a treasured song for years to come.
“Tragic Symphony” has a lot of grit and spunk to it that allows it to keep its head above water. “Tonight” would work well as the closing track; it’s got all the feel and euphoria of a finale. The actual closing track, “Save Me From Myself” is decent enough, but doesn’t have the oomph to close the record.
All in all, the album is very good. The only thing that could be recommended to make it better would be to revise the sequencing. Aside from that, it’s a damn good pop offering and one that anyone other group looking to begin a new chapter should check out in order to hear how it done right.
Source: Lithium Magazine