[a]Hanson[/a]'s collective balls have MmmDropped...

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This Time Around

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This Time Around

Inevitable, really. Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson were a Svengali‘s wet dream – three fresh-faced, impossibly youthful, and implausibly talented youngsters that, bless ’em, couldn’t help but sell four million copies of their near-perfect debut single, ‘MmmBop’. But damn those cruel hormones – Hanson‘s collective balls have MmmDropped, and the giddy rush of adolescence seeks to mutate Mercury’s finest investment into a trio of crack-voiced hulks.

Which unfortunately means losing Hanson‘s aura of innocence. Those sullen faces and distant stares that grace ‘This Time Around’‘s cover – look, they say, this is a rock album. An album to wave at those snide journalists at [I]Rolling Stone[/I]. An album by Proper Musicians.

That’s the undercurrent to BeeGees-esque falsetto-rocker ‘Dying To Be Alive’, where the Hansons, cooped up in their in-mansion studio are fed up with “the troubles that your momma brings”. They just want out, you know? Be their own men, at last. And if Mom wants to bring round cookies now and again, then so be it.

Thoroughly misguided, of course. Maturity is a grisly term that summons up visions of Rick Witter picking up the card for Mr Britpop’s Rent-A-String-Section at his local chippie, and Hanson have happened on its mid-Atlantic MOR equivalent. ‘If Only’ is ‘MmmBop’ without the grins and – featuring the guitar talents of Johnny Lang, a man whose past pedigree includes an onstage jam with Bill Clinton – it achieves only the bland wankery of the soulless muso.

Remember that lingering disappointment you felt when pop muppets Supergrass came back with the achingly serious ‘In It For The Money’? That’s the betrayed essence of ‘This Time Around’. Hanson are forsaking [I]Live And Kicking[/I] for a joyless slog around the arenas of the world. But then, they might well need to capitalise sales. The pop moment moves on, and Isaac, Taylor and Zac have already outgrown their solitary selling point.