What, you thought we were going to get through any playlist curated by me without encountering some Hanson?
My love for Hanson is not ironic. It is sincere and enduring. Yes, like all of you, the first of their songs I knew was MmmBop – and I’m not here to argue that that’s any kind of great work of lyrical genius. But it makes you smile, right?
From there, I found their album Middle of Nowhere. From there, all their subsequent albums. (Yes, they are still making them. No, they don’t all still look like girls; in fact, they are disarmingly attractive adult men). Their most recent album, Anthem, is probably my favourite of 2013. The day I saw them live was pretty much the greatest experience of my life – hours of pure euphoria. (Marred only by the fact that fellow Han-fan Meghan couldn’t be there because her derpy cat had eaten Christmas. Luckily, reliable pop-party-pal Saz was there to step into the breach).
Hanson are genuinely talented songwriters, singers and instrumentalists. Clear?
Did you know that they released a Christmas album? It is, of course, delightful. Most of the tracks are peppy covers of American Christmas standards: Little Saint Nick, Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, White Christmas. But, in amongst them, are a couple of Hanson originals. Today, let’s enjoy At Christmas.
Let’s not focus too hard on the lyrics. This album was released right on the heels of Middle of Nowhere, and as such was penned at speed by teenagers. It reads a bit like a Year 9 end-of-term Christmas homework assignment. As juvenilia goes, though, it’s relatively inoffensive. We can let it be.
We’ll focus instead on the sweet musical arrangement. The arpeggiated piano giving way to the sonorous cello line, with the guitar gently filling the middle space between them. And their gorgeous vocal harmonies wrapping it all together like a big warm woolly scarf. Have you ever heard anything cosier?
I won’t argue that this deserves a place on Now That’s What I Call Christmas; I understand that Hanson are never going to be for everyone. But they’re for me, and I’ll share them with you if you want. It’s nice to share the things you love… at Christmas.
[SEE WHAT I DID THERE?]