TITLE: Middle of Everywhere: The Greatest Hits
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Charting: MMMBop (#1 US, #1 UK), Where’s the Love (#27 Airplay, #4 UK), I Will Come to You (#9 US, #5 UK), Weird (#19 UK), Thinking of You (#23 UK), This Time Around (#20 US), If Only (#15 UK), Penny & Me (#10 UK), Lost Without Each Other (#39 UK), Go (#44 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Thinkin’ Bout Something
LINEUP: Taylor Hanson, Isaac Hanson, Zack Hanson. Session musicians also helped but usually just on bass as time went on (and various percussion and horns).
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Sometimes early success is good, since Hanson could eschew the hits and work on their own music thanks to their early hits and the bank that they made.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Hanson used to be a joke, since “MMMBop” was a goddamn ear worm (and it still brings a smile to my face), and they were so young. It was thought they were going to burn out and fade quickly as soon as the hits stopped coming.
Well, the hits stopped coming, but they went their own way. Starting with their third album, they set up their own record company, and moving away from the pop-music machine, they made well-crafted songs, while pop in nature, expressed their own musical ideas and maturity. Having wrote their songs for their entire career helped, and also having the security of tours and royalties also helped them in their musical independence.
Their music from 2003 onward is smart, full of hooks, and appeals to a broader audience than their hit phase. Instead of trying to re-capture the past, Hanson moves forward, does what they want, and has become a better band for it.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Well, not everything they do is great. Being from Oklahoma, they’ve no doubt had a lot of conservative influence in their political views. And sure enough, at least two members have stepped in social media controversies around Covid and BLM, and they had concerts in January 2021 despite Covid.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but songs from their first two records aren’t streaming on this collection, but you can add them separately.
GRADE: A-: Yeah, their artistic evolution warrants this grade. Frankly, they’ve always been pretty good at the pop music thing.