Release Date: Jun 18, 2013
Record label: ADA
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
In 2010, Hanson released the great record everyone always knew they could make. Backed by a charming if not brilliant music video that depicted the group re-imagining The Blues Brothers’ “Shake A Tail Feather” scenes for lead single “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’”, Shout It Out highlighted Hanson’s soul music chops while staying true to the group’s sugar-soaked formula. It was the perfect combination of baby blue eyes and Tulsa, Oklahoma, musical pedigree, a move that served as proof these guys had finally grown up without having to resort to acoustic guitars or reflective ballads smothered in supposed sincerity.
"Come with us if you want to live," Hanson sing on the White Stripes-y "Fired Up." The brothers who gave you 1997's Disney-funk fantasia "MMMBop" can't back up that superhero brag. But their very existence is a marvel, and from the bubble grooves of the boldly titled "I've Got Soul" to the easeful power pop of "Cut Right Through Me," their pro-rock competence is pretty impressive too. .
Old pros since childhood, Hanson long ago shed the exuberance that characterized the records of their youth, yet they've never switched their pop blueprint. They still pledge allegiance to classic rock, rooted in the '60s but seen through the prism of the '80s, with the latter decade taking precedence as the group ages. More and more, they're starting to sound like the legions of middle-aged '60s vets who turned out punchy, polished nostalgic work toward the back half of the '80s, a sentiment that certainly is true of 2013's Anthem, the trio's sixth record and an album that lives up to its title.
Because they reached household-name status at the height of boy-bandom, Hanson often get unfairly lumped in with harmonizing singing groups like the BSB and 98 Degrees. As much as you know that Taylor played the keys, Zac the drums and Isaac the guitar (well, at least if you're an 80s-born female), you kinda forget they always performed all their songs with actual instruments, and wrote them to boot. Unfortunately, their sixth studio album, Anthem, has neither the undeniably sweet earworms of their first effort nor much of the catchy soul-rock they've produced since.