Hanson hip?

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I was clawed, pushed, and I witnessed a drunk girl making out with her boyfriend at a concert recently. What show was I at, do you ask? Not GBH, not The Runnamucks, and no, not The Muffs, it was none of these bands that I love so; I was at a Hanson concert at the Warfield Theatre on Oct. 9.

Don’t runaway just yet; you know you all have your musical guilty pleasers. Plus the boys have grown, and so has their sound.

The boys from Hanson have grown up quite a bit over the years, and their sound has grown along with them. They still have a very poppy sound around them, but it has turned from “MMMBop” to indie rock. Listening to their latest album “Underneath” you cannot really tell it is them, unless you have been following their career like an obsessed 12-year-old. But I must say that they are far more poppy on the album then they are live.

This is actually the only problem I have with Hanson. The boys have two very different sounds, from the CD to their live act. On the album they are still overly poppy and only quasi-enjoyable. Recorded, they have too clean of a sound, very few solos and take few risks. “Underneath” as an album is just OK, and the un-plugged version of the album is decent, but only because it is different. You don’t find many entirely un-plugged artists out there these days.

Though their song material may have aged with them, the way they present it is still on the poppy side. I would give these boys a few more years before their songs are almost all pop free.

With their live show, on the other hand, they become a very good jam band, complete with instrument solos longer than one measure. Live Hanson screams out the lyrics and rocks as hard as a former pop band can. But it still makes me wonder what happens in the studio to make them lose that spark that they have when they are on stage. At their concert, I could barely tell that the boys were the MMMBoppers of yesteryear because of the way they were jamming up on stage with drum solos, guitar solos, and keyboard solos. There were just a whole lot of solos and jamming.

I think I know what the live show has that the album lacks: risk. Taylor, Zac and Isaac went way outside of their “Hanson box” when they rocked the Warfield. Where on the album they play it safe, it is plain and dry. They don’t take the same risks that they take when playing in front of a crowd. So, I say don’t buy the album. Instead, download a few files and check them out, but wait for them to come back around on tour to get some good Hanson.