On April 1st it was announced that brotherly trio Hanson will be touring Australasia for the very first time this August. “Oh the hilarity!” said much of the media. Surely news of the 90s one-hit-wonder’s August concert at Auckland’s Powerstation must’ve been an April Fool’s Day joke?
I’ve always had a prickly relationship with the expression “one-hit-wonder” purely because for such a precise definition, it’s so often used in an imprecise way. As in, two or three-hit-wonders frequently get called one-hit-wonders. And in the case of Hanson, how could you be a one-hit-wonder if the album (Middle Of Nowhere) that produced that “one” hit (MMMBop) also spawned other major hits like Where Is The Love, Weird and I Will Come To You?
But so proclaimed the entertainment media in its insatiable desire to categorise multi-hit, multi-decade artists by only the song, decade and genre they’re best known for. This way of thinking leaves genre-bending artists with 30+ years of hits like the Bee Gees reduced to being “70s disco group the Bee Gees,” or almost all of Lionel Richie’s Commodores output being overlooked in order to accommodate “80s star Lionel Richie.”
Perhaps over the years since Hanson’s “one” hit MMMBop (1997), I’ve wanted them to be bigger and better than they really are. As a Gibb brothers fan, I’m sympathetic to three brothers who write their own material. Regardless, I’ve always appreciated the harmonies and melodic abilities of Hanson and own four out of their six official studio LPs – only missing their past two releases through laziness rather than any dissatisfaction.
So for anyone who thinks of the Hanson brothers as 90s one hit wonders, here are three of their best songs that aren’t called MMMBop: The gospel-styled I Will Come To You (1997), the mature rock-ballardry of Save Me (2000) and the Otis Redding / Johnny Cash tribute Been There Before (2007). This final song – Been There Before – is for the me the great unknown Hanson song and melodically falls into the same category of songs as John Mayer’s Waiting On The World To Change and originally, Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready.