Hanson Day is May 6. What started as a one-day celebration of the band Hanson in 1997 in Oklahoma, their home state, has become a yearly event celebrated among Hanson fans (fansons). This is why the “mmmboppers” still matter.
- Like it or not, “mmmbop” is a classic pop song. It has a catchy hook (even if no one knows exactly what the words are) and reminds us of happy 90s pop. Along with the Spice Girls, Hanson helped relieve us of the grunge that was infecting the radio and delivered us catchy, bubblegum we all wanted to chew.
- In a time of heavily processed music and musicians who don’t write their own music, Hanson still writes and plays all their own music, and they rely on their instruments and their voices to create catchy songs, not computerized beats and autotune. Their music is a throwback to classic 50s and 60s rock and roll and has only matured as the boys (men) have grown up.
- They put on a damn good live show. With twenty years of music and six studio albums of backlog – not to mention all their fans-only EPs, independently-released albums pre-fame, and covers – there are PLENTY of songs for them to choose from, and they don’t play the same setlist two nights in a row. This makes the concert-going experience unique for each individual show, and keeps fans coming back. You never know when they’re going to bust out an old song you haven’t heard in 15 years, or a song they’ve never performed live before. It isn’t a Hanson show without “mmmbop,” and when the entire crowd sings along, it’s chilling and magical.
- They’re still making music. The number one question I get asked when I talk about my love of Hanson is “are they still making music?”. Yes. 2013 saw the release of Anthem, their sixth studio album, and they collaborated with Owl City and Blues Traveler in 2015. They’re currently working on their newest fanclub exclusive album, Loud.
- They’re doing it all themselves. After their label, Mercury Records, merged with Island Def Jam in 2000 and subsequently didn’t know what to do with this pop band of long-haired brothers, Hanson went solo. They documented their struggles with their label and the making of their third album, Underneath, in the iTunes-released documentary, Strong Enough to Break (now on YouTube). The result was the formation of their own label, 3CG Records, and they’ve been doing it on their own ever since.
- It’s not all about the music. Starting in 2007, Hanson helped raise awareness for poverty and AIDS in Africa by hosting barefoot walks prior to their concert, where, flanked by fans, the brothers walked a mile through the streets sans shoes and then donated $1 for each person who took the walk with them. The Take the Walk campaign was done in partnership with Toms Shoes.
- So often, children who rise to the huge stardom Hanson saw later endure difficulties adjusting to an adult life and are the scrutiny of the media. See: Lindsey Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Aaron Carter, Justin Bieber, McCauley Culkin. But Hanson made it through alive and relatively unscathed. Sure, there are rumors Zac went to rehab, but nothing’s been confirmed and the boys still retain their wholesome image. Some of that is due to their religious upbringing (no, they’re not mormons), but family has always played a big part in their lives, and Hanson is a family-friendly band both the parents and the kids can bop along to.
- They don’t rely on references to drugs, sex, or the f-word to make catchy songs. Hanson lyrics are purposefully vague, complicated, and poetic. They talk about life, love, music, and growing older. Even “mmmbop” was more mature than people give it credit for: it was about learning to hold onto the moments in life, about holding on to the people who matter and letting go of the people and things that don’t matter.
“So hold on to the ones who really care, in the end they’ll be the only ones there/when you’re old and start losing your hair, can you tell me who will still care?”
“This Time Around” is just one of their many songs with thought provoking, powerful lyrics:
- Their fans are epic, have been there a long time, and they realize and appreciate that. Most fansons were teenagers when they first listened to Hanson – the same age as the boys themselves – and have grown up with the band. Our first loves stay with us, and for many fans, Hanson epitomizes that. They’ve been there from the long blonde hair and higher octaves, to the marriages and children. The band is a place for the fans to come and feel like they’re “home” again, and the boys don’t disappoint. There’s the online fanclub, which comes with exclusive online rights and content as well as early admission to concerts, a yearly “members EP,” and invitations to special concerts and events. In addition, they put on special events each year to interact with the fans – their Back to the Island retreat in Jamaica, Hanson Day festivities, etc – that aren’t just about the music, with more personal events included. There are livestreams (the Christmas specials are a favorite), youtube videos, interactive forums, etc. They know they wouldn’t be who they are without the fans, and they give back.
- They’re not afraid to make fun of themselves and branch out. As they get older, they have new interests, and the best example of this is their new beer, mmmhops. It’s a twist on their biggest hit, but it also showcases their tongue-in-cheek attitude about their success and desire to expand.
So grab a bottle of mmmhops and sit back, relax, and listen to Hanson.