Hey there, hey. It is 8:21 EST on April 28th, 2020 in Syracuse, NY where everyone is at there wits end with COVID-19. My 4 year old Border Collie doggie is playing with a Tupperware container, because the 10+ bones and various other doggie toys are simply not good enough for him anymore. And I’m not going to stop him because he finally isn’t barking at the dog next door or a squirrel running by the window. Ladies and gentleman, welcome back.
Once upon a life-time ago, this blog was dedicated to opera reviews and maybe some upcoming recital program notes. But now, it’s getting personal. Behind every true artist is a person with mundane boring everyday life stuff. I’m so glad you’re here.
What am I up to right now? Right now, in this very moment? Other than witnessing the sweet sweet peace of my dog entertaining himself, I’m doing the absolute obvious. Creating a personal ranking of each album from my absolute favorite band of all time since the age of 12. Hanson.
Ladies and gentleman, how on God’s good green earth, is “Shout it Out” not actually number one? Just how? I get it (sort of). “The Walk” was epic in 2007. I’ll admit. In 2010 when “Shout it Out” was release I was SO excited. But then sad. Then confused. It felt so different from my beloved “The Walk”. It felt, almost wrong.
I had just moved to Tucson at the time and I was determined to make this album the soundtrack to that chapter of my life. It didn’t stick. I felt heartbroken. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals stole the coveted spot for the chapter of, “Big move across the country and live somewhere so drastically different than what you’ve ever experienced or could imagine”, but here we are now, and I just have to say… I’m grateful. If “Shout it Out” wasn’t the soundtrack to my life then I’m pretty sure it has taken over a more important chapter since.
Laura stop. In the name of love, stop. How could anything be bigger than your Tucson chapter, and furthermore, that year in your life!? Have you the brainworms? To that I say, clearly, you have never taken public transportation for any extended period of time in the Syracuse, NY area. My dear friend(s), when you’re walking a half mile to the bus stop in a Syracuse snowy day (AKA a blizzard anywhere else) or a Syracuse blizzard (everywhere else would be closed at this point.. but no, not Syracuse!) you reassess what music is important to you. And when “Make It Out Alive” comes on your play list, you don’t begrudgingly trudge through the snow; you make it your mission to show that snow you’re the MFing boss. By the time “And I Waited” pops on, that snow storm stood no chance against your strong will and aggravated stubbornness. Now, to this I tell you the order I rank each Hanson album. You are welcome.
1#- Shout It Out- I just gave my personal reason why this album stands above the rest but go find out why for yourself. For those of you complaining about the consistent use of brass, to this I say, you can only be so blessed to enjoy a band that takes advantage of such musical prowess. You’re spoiled, enjoy it.
2#- The Walk- I can’t be the only person in this boat, but I somehow skipped everything between “Underneath” and “The Walk”. So when I realized Hanson was still performing and releasing albums, “The Walk” made a powerful connection for me. I specifically remember sitting in French class my (first) Senior year at Roberts Wesleyan when a classmate walked in wearing a Hanson shift gushing about how she just attended a concert and attended “the walk”. To that, I was filled with envy, and disappointed it had only been a week prior that I had figured out they even had released anything since 2004.
#3- Middle of Nowhere – I know what you’re going to say, but let me stop you RIGHT THERE. No, just because it’s their first album does not mean it needs to be at the top. The god’s honest truth is that this album holds up; little teen-y and pre-teen-y voices and all. Musically this is an incredible album. Yes, it is filled with nostalgia but when you don’t listen to something for 10 years at a time, if you still thoroughly enjoy every track, then it deserves to be ranked high. Go, get down with your 12 year-old self ladies, I approve.
#4- String Theory- I’m putting this here because it incorporates everything I love; the style, the throw backs, the artistry, new material, the use of orchestra… yaaaaas. An updated orchestra version of “Yearbook”, absolutely haunting.
#5- Underneath- I will level with you, maybe this should be #4. It doesn’t matter though, I’m guessing no one reading this actually knows what I’m blogging on about, and if you’ve gotten this far, I’m impressed. For some odd reason, my senior year of high school I was IN LOVE with “This Time Around”. I’m 99% sure it was just because it was their first album since their debut and it felt like a big deal for me at the time (after all, I waited.. what.. 3 years?). Anyway, “Underneath” was so different than “This Time Around”. I latched on to a couple of songs, but the rest didn’t stick like I wanted them to. Not like TTA. Wait, Laura , Stop you brainworm filled wierdo, why is “Underneath” ranked higher than TTA? Well, because it’s better… duh. TTA is a good album but go listen, “Underneath” is better. Ok, you’re welcome. (Ungrateful.. moochers…)
Ok Let’s pause. I know. I’m not a Hans-encyclopedia or whatever. I don’t know EVERYTHING EVER AND BLAH BLAH BLAH. But I’m not going to add Christmas albums, Live recordings and “The Best Of” albums. So don’t even get on my case about that. If I forget an album, I don’t want to hear it. This is my personal list, which means something might be left off. (I KNOW I PUT “STRING THEORY” IN THIS LIST STOP YELLING AT ME!!!)
#6- This Time Around- There are some seriously cheesy songs on this album. Like, I can’t even apologize for them because they were fitting for the early 2000s. That awkward time just after the 90s. Like, we are leaving the 90s, but we also don’t know how to NOT be in the 90s at this point. Really an identity crisis for teens and young adults so give it up for the cheese and schmooze. “If Only” has got to be one of the stupidest songs but it was a hit and on TRL. I don’t understand, but whatever. The harmonica saves the day in this album.
#7- Anthem- I love “Juliet”. Just, go listen to “Juliet”.
Alright. I’ve said my peace. It’s time to go play Don’t Starve Together on the PS4 with my family. Next week, Wagner. See you then.