Review : Hanson - Shout It Out
AbsolutepunkRemember that trio of Oklahoma blondes that took the radio by storm in 1997? Remember all the jokes about how puberty would ruin their careers, that they were a flash in the pan, that they'd go bankrupt, wind up in rehab, etc.
Turns out all of those predictions were wrong.
Fourteen years removed from their time in the spotlight, the rock trio Hanson are still making albums, still touring the country and still selling records. And while their omnipresence on radio may indeed be behind them, their fifth studio album (ninth overall) Shout It Out, is bonafide proof that Hanson are far from a flash in the pan. Drawing on the classic sounds of R&B, soul and blues albums they listened to growing up, Shout it Out is a breezy, sun-kissed collection of 12 hook-heavy, brass-indebted rock songs not unlike Chicago's 17.
From start to finish, Shout it Out is awash in frolicking pianos, playful guitar solos and ample amounts of horns. Anchored by Taylor 's full-lunged vocals, this is an album of soulful, viciously catchy rock n' roll. Opener "Waiting For This," sets the tone with a tickling piano line and Isaac's lively guitar work. Zest-laden, undeniably sunny and awash in optimism, it's a promising opening for a wholly satisfying body of work. Though "Thinking 'Bout Somethin," is the disc's lead single, It's successor, the groove-based "Kiss Me When You Come Home," seems a feasible choice for second single. Feeding off Taylor's impassioned crooning, Isaac's inspired playing and Zac's snappy drumming, it's a decidedly mature dose of pop perfection.
Though the band is at their best when left to their own devices, the aid of helping hands certainly does little to diminish their sound. A pristine example is the glorious harmonizing of soul singers in the gospel-influenced "Carry You There." Unfortunately, that marks the end of the the album's first half as the following three songs flatten out significantly. "And I Waited," "Give a Little," and "Make it Out Alive," seem to rely on the horn section to do most of the work. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but whereas "Carry You There," fed off the soul singers, this middle triumvirate doesn't seem to feed off the horns in nearly the same way. Instead, what could have been an engaging and memorable stretch turns into 12 minutes of filler. Thankfully the piano-driven ballad "Use Me Up," is next and hot damn, if it's not one of the best ballads written this year. Achingly tender, unarguably sincere and gorgeously arranged, it is arguably one of Zac's finest vocal performances to date....full text
EwHaving gotten out his new-wave ya-yas with Tinted Windows, Taylor Hanson leads his bros on a trip through the soulful side of mid-'60s rock on Shout It Out. Uptempo jams like ''Waiting for This'' shimmer with top-shelf songcraft; Motown vet Bob Babbitt even sits in on bass. But sometimes you wish these whiz kids would act their age. B–...full text
SlantmagazineThough they've long been written off by mainstream pop audiences, Hanson has continued to play to a devoted cult following and, more importantly, emerged as an awfully good pop band. Their eighth album, Shout It Out, is the trio's most ambitious project to date, borrowing heavily from several eras of Top 40 pop in an effort to expand their sound. And, as with their last few albums, Shout It Out includes a few moments of real inspiration.
When all of the elements come together for brothers Isaac, Taylor, and Zac, as on the harmonica-driven "If Only" and radio-anthem-that-should-have-been "Penny and Me," they have proven that they're capable of brilliant pop singles that stand alongside the work of bands with far more street-cred, like Fountains of Wayne and Apples in Stereo. On Shout It Out, lead single "Thinkin' About Somethin'" fits that bill. Kicking off with a healthy dose of cowbell before the brass section transforms it into one hell of a Blues Brothers homage, "Thinkin'" is maddeningly catchy kiss-off song. It's a hook-upon-a-hook-upon-a-hook, culminating in a coda of "I've been getting a love that moves me/While you've been getting around," delivered in perfect three-part harmony. It's easily one of the best singles of 2010 (though the less said about the brothers' awkward dancing in the video, the better).
Unfortunately for Hanson, though, they've never been able to sustain such a level of quality over the course of a full album, and there isn't another song here that equals "Thinkin'." The melody and arena-rock arrangement of "Carry You There" are effective, but the song's lyrics find the band at their most maudlin: "You don't have to be afraid to just rely/On someone to hold the weight part of the time" is arguably the song's least embarrassing couplet. The strong rhythm section and horns on "And I Waited" wouldn't sound out of place on radio playlists alongside Adam Lambert's "Whattaya Want from Me" or Lady Gaga's "Alejandro," but it goes on at least a minute too long and ultimately overstays its welcome. If the album as a whole is a step up from the didactic, if well-intentioned, The Walk, songs like "Use Me Up" and "These Walls" are nonetheless mired in clichés that weigh down the band's gifts for memorable melodies and powerful hooks.
Other than the trio's weakness for trite turns of phrase, the major flaw on Shout It Out is its spit-polished production. With the exception of "Thinkin'" and "Voice in the Chorus," which favorably recalls '70s-era Elton John, most of the songs sound as though they've been run through at least one too many ProTools cycles. Every note is tuned to perfection, and the percussion lines have the precision of a metronome, making the performances sound robotic. That sterility works against the heavy piano power chords on "Waiting for This" and the ebullient horn section on "Make It Out Alive." In producing the album themselves, Hanson undermines their attempts to give their sound a bit more grittiness and soul....full text
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