First Listen

Nov 05, 2018 | HANSON

There must be a dozen ways to process the idea of a double-length, career-spanning album in which the long-running pop band Hanson performs while backed by an orchestra. You could study the new symphonic arrangements, courtesy of Oscar winner David Campbell (a.k.a. Beck's dad), and pick apart how they compare to the originals. You could examine the trend of veteran bands performing with orchestras — even Hanson's pal "Weird Al" Yankovic is doing it — as a way of refreshing their catalogs. You could question the appeal of the idea to anyone outside a preexisting pool of diehards.

But in the case of String Theory, it's perhaps best to view the concept as a means of highlighting Hanson's remarkable songcraft. Hanson has been a band for more than 25 years, and has had a serious commercial legacy to live up to ever since Middle of Nowhere and the inescapable "MMMBop" sold millions back in 1997. When that record came out, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson were 16, 14 and 11, respectively — and, as a result, were widely viewed outside their fan base as a prefab boy band. But even then, they were accomplished players and songwriters, capable of airtight arrangements and impeccable sibling harmonies. Now that they're in their 30s (and still writing new records, selling out theaters and even brewing their own line of beer), they're better positioned to demonstrate what's long been obvious: These guys write hooks sturdy enough to hold up any kind of arrangement you can name.

To read the article and listen, click HERE.

Forum Comments

Yes! A way to start listening to our favourites on repeat, when we don't have the time to listen to the entire listening party. ^ ^

Posted Nov 5, 2018   05:20:58 AM


One word. Epic.

Posted Nov 5, 2018   05:28:32 AM

This is great. So much better to be able to hear it uninterrupted 

Posted Nov 5, 2018   06:53:57 AM


Jaquaida Kinney / Tampa, Florida, US


I just shared this on my face book.

Posted Nov 5, 2018   07:19:30 AM


Michael Jones / Austin, TX, US

1 14 3 2

Awesome review.  NPR actually seems to get it.

Posted Nov 5, 2018   04:48:06 PM


Heather Lundquist / Frisco, CO, US

6 8

NPR has always been so supportive of the guys. I love it. ♡♡♡

Posted Nov 5, 2018   09:36:00 PM

I thought it would play on repeat until the 8th. is that not so? 

Posted Nov 5, 2018   10:07:56 PM


Posted Nov 5, 2018   11:52:47 PM


Posted Nov 5, 2018   11:53:28 PM

Now I can finally share this with my friends! Already blasting this link through Facebook!

Posted Nov 6, 2018   05:32:29 AM


Natalia Vargas / Santiago, Metropolitana, CL

Hanson was, is and will be a real band, his fans know it very well. Hanson has never been a boy band, they are really talented and professional.

Posted Nov 6, 2018   10:00:27 AM


Laura Thorp / Owings Mills, Maryland, US


Okay so not to be nitpicky, BUT.....did it bother anyone else when the guy writing the article that went with it said that they "got Mmmbop out of the way early, as if trying to check off a box and cast it aside?" It bothered me b/c he got so much else right, hit the nail on the head and truly understood the significance of what this project means to Hanson and all of us in the fanbase--but clearly missed the approximately one thousand four hundred forty times that the guys said it was a story about a character (hence Mmmbop being early b/c it's in the "Optimism" part of the beginning).  I think it wouldn't have bothered me so much if this was someone who just didn't get it--but he's done his how could he have missed such a pivotal fact?

Posted Nov 7, 2018   04:40:08 PM

Love it!! :)

Posted Nov 8, 2018   03:25:47 AM

This Album is beautiful!

Posted Nov 11, 2018   10:34:01 AM

Laura, I sent the author of the article three tweets explaining things. I suppose, in fairness, only major Hanson fans probably know what this is all about -- what the essence of the story is. I didn't identify an optimism part as such... but I did see it as setting a time and place for taking an idea forward. It's maybe a small thing, but it gets to me how all these articles say 25 years as if anyone outside of Tulsa even knew Hanson until 1997.

Posted Nov 12, 2018   08:38:15 PM


Laura Thorp / Owings Mills, Maryland, US


Robin, I agree!  I've only known about them since 97 like the rest of the world.  And I sent NPR an email explaining the story thing.....I mean, I didn't really understand that until they explained it either, to be fair (like until after I went to the concert even)--but they have said "we are telling a story about reaching for a dream" in almost every interview.  I do feel like I understand it more and more with each interview and the more I hear them explain it in their own feelings (and listening/imagining it more).  So maybe it's just cause I'm a diehard, lol.

Posted Nov 17, 2018   05:14:55 PM

Join to add your comments

Join Now