What do three brothers do when their hit single doesn’t pay the bills anymore? When they haven’t heard it in a car commercial? “Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose.” How would these lines fit into a jingle about milk? At least they wrote the song without the help of “superwriter Nashville city guy,” right?
Who am I talking about, mmm? I’ll give you a clue: Bop. Yep, I’m talking about the three brothers of the band HANSON. In 1997, on the heels of their hit single “MMMBop,” some genius A&R person (that’s a record executive to you, young tween) decided that the three long-haired Hansons should do a Christmas album.
Are there any similarities in this album to my favorite Christmas album of all time? Alvin, Simon and Theodore— three chipmunks with pudgy cheeks—and Isaac, Taylor and Zac—three cute rocker dudes who write songs and let sand fall from their hands in videos? Houston… we have contact! Have I ever listened to “Snowed In,” their Christmas album? No. But I will now. And I bet 3% of you reading this will put it on just
because of this article you are reading with your twinkling eyes.
Yes, of course, there are covers of great tunes on their Christmas album. Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph” gets “Hansoned” on the record in rockin’ fashion. Big guitars and crazy hippie sounding drums bulldoze through the track. PERFECT background vocals cradle lead singer Isaac. His voice sounds very seasoned and kinda mature, actually. (I’m scared after going back and reading that line I just wrote.) Yes, these kids can sing.
Sometimes you get one too many “whoa, yeahs,” but these dudes weren’t even driving yet. “Silent Night Medley” gets the “overdone kid rock star” treatment. Trying really hard to add emotion to their version, the boys fall flat on their hairless faces. Harmonies so tender and mild. But over-production, organs that sound like rock and roll church and oooohs and aaaahs kinda rock a little too hard on this one. However, I can totally picture the household of local rock legend Jani St. James of Silicone Sister headbanging over eggnog with visions of a possible Nickelback collab in their heads!
Rockin’ versions of spiritual songs are O.K., I guess. I’m just having a hard time right now imagining a Marshall stack set up in Blufftonite Marc Cote’s house, and a young Marc patiently trying to learn this back in ‘97 when it came out. Is it possible that could have happened? If Marc and I are about the same age… maybe not. But, hey, 50-year-old dudes like to drink beer and rip their shirts off after playing three-chord rock in their “home studios,” so maybe it did.
I wrote this article to lift all our spirits at a time when most of us are happy, but a few of you out there may not be. I like making people laugh, so I thought this might be a good idea. If you know a Grinch, turn them on to this album. Send them the article with a fruitcake. Better yet, have a wacky friend in a bad Christmas sweater join you and go visit someone over the holidays this year. Spread the cheer. Have a beer. Some nog. Pet a dog. Yuletide log. Bah-humMUDBOG.
[Editor’s Note: The wait is over. Hanson just released their new 2017 holiday album, “Finally It’s Christmas,” in case you missed their Middle of Everywhere 25th Anniversary Tour.]
By Jevon Daly