You might be surprised to hear that Bono (yes, that Bono) has called Hanson’s music “genius.” I will take pretty much any opportunity to disagree with the man (“Uno, dos, tres, catorce!” Please.), but as much as it pains me, this is one instance where I just can’t bring myself to argue.
I consider it a travesty that most people’s first and only encounter with Hanson was the wildly popular, heavily overplayed, and super annoying “MmmBop.” It’s not that it wasn’t a fun pop song. The problem was that they were very young and had long hair and, as a result, pretty much everyone over the age of 15 wrote them off. If you were one of those people then you probably never heard their sophomore album This Time Around, or the folk-inspired Underneath (one of the most successful independent albums of all time), which was one of the better albums to come out in 2004.
But it’s not too late to catch up. Completely independent now on their own label 3CG Records, the Hanson brothers are doing things their own way and it just so turns out that their way is catchy pop masked inside a hefty layer of totally accessible folk rock.
The Walk, out now, is as independent as it gets. The trio wrote, produced, and recorded at their own studio and this album is creatively every bit their own. It’s a winning combination.
With a little bit of soul, a heavy dose of rock, and a whole lot of heart, this album is both mature and very self-aware. What I love most is that while middle sibling Taylor has a unique and powerful voice, they have made the decision not to let it overpower the adroit guitar playing, which takes precedence on nearly every track.