Look, I'm not trying to make you feel like a dinosaur, but I have to deliver some somewhat jarring news: Hanson, those shaggy-haired boys who made you think hemp necklaces were totally cool (spoiler: they're still not), has been a band for 25 years. And, like many of us, they've gone through a number of stages.
In 1997, they gave us "MMMBop," that catchy-as-hell tune that no one, not even the most macho dude at the bar, can avoid singing upon hearing it. The early 2000s weren't as kind, and brothers Isaac, Taylor, and Zac left their label Island Def Jam Records in hopes of finding more success. Unfortunately, not even a documentary tour and a guest-judging gig on Cupcake Wars in 2013 could bring them the level of fame and attention they had received back in their prepubescent days.
But unlike the rest of the country, 2017 actually seems to be treating Hanson well. Recently, the boys from Tulsa, Oklahoma, made an acoustic appearance on NPR's Tiny Desk Series, and oh my God, it is so good.
The trio kicked off the performance with a truly fun version of their 2010 single, "Thinking 'Bout Somethin,'" but it was their next song, "This Time Around" that really confirmed for me that these guys deserve another chance. There's something refreshing about hearing a 17-year-old song, knowing the words, but feeling like you're listening to something completely new. No longer beholden to the synthesized pop that was glorified in the year 2000, they were able to showcase their musical chops, from Taylor's playfulness on the piano to their polished a capella harmonization.
In addition to their revamped sound, the guys have spent a lot of time focusing on who they are as a band and as individuals. Though they recognize their past successes — and seem to be refreshingly aware that they'll never fully escape being a former boy band — they're dedicated to their future as musicians, too.
"So, this is our 25-year anniversary, but we can't do anything without thinking about the future," Zac said. "People ask us how we stay together as a band, and that's really, I think, the whole source of it: the future, the next thing, the next song, the next project. That's our game. That's what we're in it for."
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm excited to see what's next.