Sunday, September 16, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: The shame of pop music aka my 15 year love affair with Hanson.

At ten years old we’re all pretty impressionable. It’s when we finally take that step outside the culture given to by our parents and start creating our very own cultural identity. It’s also where we start getting lured into embarrassing fads that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. But really it’s an amazing time, we get our first celebrity crushes (even though we have no idea what to do with them), we start going to the movies with our friends rather than our parents and we purchase CD’s (iTunes downloads now I guess). These early tastes are important, they affect how we interact with culture from that moment on, so why is that we are so quick to dismiss our tween loves and childish. 

In honour of all our early introductions to popular culture today I am going to share with you one of the many loves I found at the age of ten that have stuck with me throughout the years. That is, of course my love for Hanson. Yes, that band of ridiculously young boys from Tulsa that wrote one of the best pop songs ever, “MMMBop”.  Don’t pretend you don’t remember that song, even if you weren’t at such an impressionable age as I was when it was released. It’s catchy as all hell and I love it, even if I am still trying to work out what exactly an MMMBop is (I think it’s a measurement of time). 

“MMMBop” was the first song I ever remember impacting me in the way that great songs can and Hanson was the first band I ever fell in love with… and I really fell in love, not just liking but descending into the all-consuming madness that is true love. I distinctly remember getting up on a Saturday morning and watching both Rage and VideoHits just so that I could see the film clip. I’m pretty sure I even had it taped as well. When I got the CD, “Middle of Nowhere”, for my birthday I actually squealed – yes I was one of those girls. Sure part of it was the beginnings of my teenage hormones. I was sure that I was going to marry Zac, I had it all planned out and everything. But it was the music I fell in love with. For those of you that have not heard the album in a while or ever I would suggest giving it another listen because it really is fantastic. 

So many memories of my youth are associated with that album; in fact I’m pretty sure one of my first ever popular culture arguments consisted of arguing with girls at camp over whether Taylor or Zac was hotter. Considering the fact that it’s kind of my job to argue about popular culture now that's a pretty big deal. 

Of course, as I got older and society forced me to become more and more ashamed of my love of popular culture, Hanson got pushed into the background. They were never forgotten, and even though I wouldn’t have told any of my friends I still listened to their music in the privacy of my own room. Secretly I was still a Hanson fan even if I wasn’t man enough to admit it. That said my secret relationship with Hanson basically consisted of replaying “Middle of Nowhere” over and over again. It wasn’t until I was about fifteen that I added another new Hanson experience to the relationship.

In the year 2000 Hanson released their first studio album since “Middle of Nowhere”, and the first single was called “If Only”. It is a testament of how much my tastes had actually evolved that when I saw Hanson’s video for “If Only” I realised that Isaac Hanson, who I had dismissed when I was younger, is actually really attractive. But this story isn’t about which Hanson brother I would most like to sleep with, it’s about the awesomeness that is pop music and the shame surrounding it. A shame that forced me to hide my new found Isaac crush and my love of Hanson in general. 

It’s been fifteen years since I heard MMMbop for the first time and I am finally willing to express my love for Hanson… you might say that I am willing to “Shout it Out”. Not only is “Middle of Nowhere” one of my most played albums on iTunes but I totally love their latest album as well – it’s called “Shout it Out” in case you didn’t understand my awesome punnage and the song “Give a Little” is pretty much on repeat on my iPod at the moment. 

Anyway the reason I felt the need to express my fifteen year love affair with Hanson today is because last night I got to see them perform live and I can officially tell you that it was everything I wanted and more. 

It’s pretty clear that Hanson have not lost their appeal to the ladies because the Enmore Theatre was pretty oestrogen heavy last night… and I have not heard girls squeal like that in years. I’m now a little deafer and my voice is gone but it was totally worth it because Hanson rocked my world and ate it. Man do those boys know how to put on a good show, I spent the entire night dancing and singing along (yes I know all the lyrics) and I definitely wasn’t the only one. Until you’ve experienced a large venue full of people singing along to “MMMBop”, you have not lived. My personal fav was to "With You in Your Dreams" though. They just had so much energy and considering they have been doing this for fifteen years with people labelling them a one hit wonder for about 12 of them it’s incredible. 

Well there you have it, I’m a Hanson fan and I’m not ashamed to say it. I don’t really know what else to say about it, except thanks Hanson for bringing some awesome pop music into my world.

What about you? Do you love Hanson like I do? Maybe you have a similar experience with another band when you were young and impressionable. Or maybe you’re having a secret love affair with a band that Hipster’s only like ironically. Share your story in the comments.