Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hanson – Shout It Out

By Janelle Sheetz

Back in 1997, I don’t think anyone would have thought that all these years later, Hanson would not only release their fifth studio album, but that it would be really good, too.
Shout It Out is ambitious, wonderfully fun pop from beginning to end. Hanson may not dominate the radio airwaves anymore, but Isaac, Taylor and Zac really know how to write solid pop songs and could probably teach today’s pop stars a few things.

Shout It Out, in all of its pop glory, still manages to show Hanson as mature musicians, with a horn section helping to enhance the power of the songs without overpowering them. The album flows well and never has a dull moment — in fact, this album is anything but dull.

The opener, “Waiting for This,” sets the tone for the rest of the album, starting with a great piano line and beat. The album’s first single, “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’,” is a wonderfully catchy song designed to end up on plenty of summer playlists. Songs like “Kiss Me When You Come Home” and its successor, “Carry You There,” show just how the band has matured. “Give a Little,” my personal favorite, opens with a catchy guitar riff and culminates with a fast, horn-filled chorus. Not every song is a hook-filled pop powerhouse, though — “And I Waited,” for example, is a little bit darker and a little more intense, with a strong beat and abrupt ending, and “Use Me Up” is a slow, beautiful ballad that’s definitely one of the album’s strongest songs, even though they’re all pretty fantastic in their own right. “These Walls” and “Musical Ride” together pick up the pace again after “Use Me Up,” and “Voice in the Chorus” gives one final dose of pop perfection before the closing track, “Me Myself and I,” ends the album on a slow but pretty note.

The album’s lone downfall is the lyrics. They’re relatively simple and occasionally predictable, with a few clichés, but at the same time aren’t too trite, thankfully. Their negative impact on the album as a whole, though, is only a minor one. They’re just not enough to take away from the rest of the album’s strengths.

Shout It Out is, for the most part, full of infectious pop songs that are bound to get stuck in your head and keep you singing along and tapping with the beat. Hanson is proving that they still have a place in pop music — even if they tend to get written off unfairly — and they’re just going to keep getting better.

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