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'90s Pop Sensation Hanson Is Still Going Strong After More Than 25 Years

Taylor, left, Zac and Isaac of Hanson. (Jonathan Weiner/Courtesy of the artist)
Taylor, left, Zac and Isaac of Hanson. (Jonathan Weiner/Courtesy of the artist)

This hour originally aired on Nov. 12, 2018.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Two decades since “MMMBop,” ’90s pop sensation Hanson is still going strong, with orchestral versions of their greatest hits. The Hanson brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac join us.


Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, Grammy-nominated band of brothers. They’ve sold more than 16 million albums to date. Their album “String Theory” is out now. (@hansonmusic)

Watch on YouTube.

Watch on YouTube.

The Essential Hanson: Our Producer-Curated Playlist

Compiled by On Point producer Miriam Wasser

From The Reading List

NPR: “First Listen: Hanson, ‘String Theory’” — “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.”

Associated Press: “Review: Hanson, the kings of ‘MMMBop,’ turn to orchestras” — “The Hanson boys have done everything in their power to get you to listen beyond ‘MMMBop.’ They’ve put out solid new music, live CDs, Christmas albums — OK, lots of Christmas albums — greatest hits collections, and even covers of songs by U2 and Radiohead. Now they’ve gone uptown — they’ve gone orchestral.

“The 23-track double album, ‘String Theory,’ finds Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson reworking past songs and unreleased ones for swaths of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. One new song, “Siren Call,” uses a full 46-piece orchestra.”

Miriam Wasser produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.