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The Walk

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Album Review

Going independent was not only the best choice for Hanson, it was in many ways their only choice: they needed to prove that they could stand on their own as a band, to find their way into adulthood on their own. As they were leaving their adolescence behind, they began to battle the major labels, who thought the band should go in a different direction than the trio itself did, eventually leading them to form their own label, 3CG Records, releasing Underneath in 2004 as their first indie release. It showcased a band with exceptional pop smarts — the kind of instincts that make for great pop records but don't really have much of an outlet in the 2000s outside of independent releases. Its 2007 follow-up, The Walk, is very much in the same vein, except it reveals the band developing a bit of a middlebrow adult contemporary streak, best heard in the plodding wannabe anthem "Watch Over Me," which is a bit too self-conscious in its good intentions. As always, Hanson shines when they devote themselves to pure pop, and The Walk has several exceptional moments here, including the deliriously good "Running Man," which shivers and shakes like classic '70s soft rock; the sleek, funky "Tearing It Down"; the bubbly, infectious "I've Been Down," propelled by a classic electric piano riff that brings it close to the bastard son of Steve Winwood and Billy Joel; the closing "Something Going Round," which updates "MMMBop" by keeping things lean and muscular. Even "Got a Hold on Me," heard on the bonus track-laden American version, demonstrates where they could go with their ballads, in how it marries a spooky verse evocative of Radiohead (complete with an extraneous cancer reference) to a poppy chorus — it feels more natural, and is more memorable than much of the muddled middlebrow ballads here. Fortunately, that midtempo murk may loom large in the memory but doesn't really make for too much of the record — enough to be noticeable, but not enough to make The Walk anything less than another very enjoyable pop album from Hanson. It's just that there's an excellent, tight, concise pop masterpiece buried within this slightly overstuffed but worthy record.

Customer Reviews

Best Work Yet by Light Years

Every song on this album fits perfectly and is well crafted, well sung and contains some of the best lyrics this band has ever done. This is a concept album, but avoids being cheesy like some. On the contrary, it has ebbs and flows and each song flows into the next beautifully. For those of you who enjoy it, a blow by blow: Great Divide - DLing this will be charity for you both. It's a powerful rocker that doesn't wax sappy like so many songs with similar aims. Been There Before - a love song to music really. This one should be a single. Its midtempo perfection would convert anyone who thinks these are a bunch of silly young "mmmbopers" yet easily. Georgia - also midtempo, the first love song that has been released which clearly seems to be about Taylor's wife. Very sweet. Also single material. Watch Over Me - the only Isaac lead on this record, but his best by far. Almost a little country, but in the older, country story teller tradition, yet cleary with a rock edge. Running Man - very groovy. The first Zac lead of the record. Very different from earlier work. Almost didn't make the record, but I'm so glad it did. A stand out track. Go - Another Zac song, a very sad ballad written about a friend's divorce. First single internationally. Fire on the Mountain - a slow, stoic tale of biblical proportion. Also done by Zac. Quite epic. One More - a heart wrencher by Taylor. Very slow and melodic. Blue Sky - A possible next single, very uptempo and optimistic with lead vocals by Taylor. A must have. Tearing It Down - A Zac uptempo that is often used to close shows as it keeps the energy going high. Something Going Round - This one is very stereotypically "Hansony" and brings back memories of Where's the Love a bit, but the topic is much more profound and the music, better crafted. Isaac and Taylor split the lead. Your Illusion - the most controversial song they've done in a while; the lyrics caused quite the stir when it was first released in Japan. Taylor lead. The Walk - A slow, contemplative tune piano tune by Zac. Think Lulla Belle, but more serious. Got a Hold On Me - the BEST Hanson song ever written. Brilliant, just brilliant driving rock. Taylor shows what he's made of on this one. The must have song of the album. I've Been Down - an uptempo song, also very stereotypically Hanson. Taylor takes lead. All in all, a must have album, just brilliant.

Leaps and Bounds Above the Rest

I have not been, as most buyers of this album are, a fan of this band for all ten years of their existence. I hear Mmmbop like everyone else, but after that, I assumed they left the face of the earth and tried to recover from then ten minutes of fame. I rediscovered them this past april, and boy was I wrong. Hanson is easily one of the most respectable bands in the business. They produced an oustanding documentary about the state of the music business, not to mention the docu-podcast, Taking The Walk, which gave fans an inside look at the making of this record. After all the hype the podcast produced, I was not disappointed. A record very clearly shaped by the brothers' experiences in Africa, it contains interspersed song intros from their recordings with the choir. It is a record about the walk of life, lover, loss, happiness, sadness... it is emotional and well written. Great Divide was the single to break their stereotypes. Opening with a brilliant guitar rift that sets the mood, Hanson uses this song, a charity single, to urge the world into action. To help our brothers and sisters in need. As Isaac appropriatly describes it, this "funk gospel" song really shows the growth of this band. Been There Before, a tribute to Johny Cash and the other great artists, is soulful and mid tempoed, a great song which could easily have been a single. Georgia has a beautiful opening piano hook, followed by the sweet and slightly soulful sound of Taylor's voice, is a good song. It does become slightly repetitive, which is its only flaw. Watch Over Me is perhaps, the most lyrically beautiful song of the album. Isaac's only lead vocal, it's well worth it, and definately one of the best songs here. Running Man is, as the track tells you, the "party song". It's upbeat, fun, and brings the relief to this emotionally heavy album. Go is a lovely ballad, the first time youngest brother Zac has sung a single, and it certainly wasn't a mistake. His voice rings out in the higher notes that none of the brothers could match. One More is the only song I couldn't connect to. A little slow paced and difficult to really rock out to. But hey, I can't think every song is perfect. Blue Sky brings out the rocking side of, with heavier guitar rifts and the presence of the African choir once again. Taylor's voice really rocks out on this one. It's one of those songs that isn't your favorite at first, and then slowly grows on you til you can't get enough of it. Tearing it down is again one of Zac's babies, and it's groovy and upbeat. Your Illusion is perhaps one of the most underestimated songs on the album. It is deep in content and meaning, the sound is pure and full. A great Ballad. The Walk, is really song writing at its best. Written even before their 2004 album, it made it onto this one as the theme and driving force. It talks of the journey we all make in life, carried by Zac's very real and down to earth voice. I was thrilled when Got a Hold on Me made it as a bonus track. Having seen it on the podcast, it had that kind of infectious piano that you can't help but crave more of. Adding it was a great decision. I guess I'm still holding out that Live Forever will be released in some form in the future. It doesn't hurt to dream Overall, a superb album, their best one to date. Anyone who sees them as the teenybopper band from the 90's needs to listen to this album. They display a maturity and a level of musical talent far above most of the popular bands of today. Well done Hanson.

Allow me to clear up the obtuse iTunes review for the new Hanson record...

I can't believe I love this record. The new Hanson record? Seriously!? I shouldn't judge like that, ya know, before hearing things. But that "MmmBop" thing didn't make any sense to me. Anyway...this record is great, just really great. If you love songs that make you want to sing along, songs that really seem to actually matter to the artists singing them, then you'll love this record. The songs are inspired, well played, well produced, not overdone. I'm seriously a fan now. I'm a Hanson fan. And I'm proud of it. Buy this record. Help the boys out.


Formed: 1992 in Tulsa, OK

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Sounding like a revamped Jackson 5 for the '90s, Hanson came storming out of Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1997, blessed with photogenic looks and a surprisingly infectious sense of melody. Hanson had a sunny pop sense that stood in direct contrast to the gloomy grunge that had dominated the first half of the '90s, yet they also arrived with hip credentials -- a handful of the cuts on their debut were produced by the Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys, Beck, Sukia), and the rest were produced by Steve Lironi, who...
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The Walk, Hanson
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