Monday, January 30, 2017

Just Push Play and then Re-Play Part Two- Hanson's Loud/Play Vinyl


The Vinyl Package
                        When Hanson announced at MOE last year that they would be  releasing their new LP on Vinyl I was beyond ecstatic, I had received a record player for Christmas and I took it as a sign and then I saw the $150.00 price-tag, and had to question Hanson's sanity and then mine. Hell, I am still questioning my sanity, but I had never bought one of Hanson's album packages before, so why not.  This is literally the most expensive Hanson merchandise I own.
For $150.00 I got:
·        A  painting replica screen-print, of one the pieces Zac featured in the Hanson Gallery event at Hanson Day last year.
·        A Taylor Hanson Photo: from the same gallery.
·        The Loud/Play double-sided Vinyl.
Zac's reprint painting of Ike's guitars
The Painting
            Everyone who bought the vinyl package, basically learned months after ordering  that they would not only receive the exact same painting but essentially a copy of a painting; a screen print. Now, I am not saying screen-printing isn't hard, it is, you have to align it  just right or the imagine becomes messed up and mine looks pretty flawless.
            But is wrong to expect more? I didn't expect Zac to paint 1,000 (assuming they sold a thousand) new big paintings,  but I would have settled for 3 screen-printing choices, or a small note card size original drawing/painting, OR HANDWRITTEN LYRICS ( a line or two), or a thank you note...just something a little more rare and original. Zac did resign every screen-print but he didn't bother to number them, so I don't have any indication on how rare my reprint might be.

#118- So we know Hanson sold over 100 packages
The Photo
            As I have mentioned before, I am Taylor girl and I love his photography, that being said I am so disappointed in the photo he picked for this package and I knew I was receiving a copy!  It's literally as if Taylor put all his photos in a hat and closed eyes and picked one because that's only reason I could come up with as to why they picked this photo. It's a studio shot(which is cool) but it's taken from the other side of the room so all the small details are lost and quite frankly I have better action shots of Hanson in my photo collection and I am not by any means an amazing photographer.
 
One of the drawings from the vinyl booklet

The Vinyl
            From the moment I put the needle to the record, the music seemed richer more vibrant. I'm no music snob or critic but it sounds as if Hanson could actually be in front of you recording these albums!
            Is it possible that Hanson recorded these albums to sound 100% better/best on vinyl?!! If so, they do a great disservice to a majority of the fan base that doesn't have a record player or the money to spend.
            This is the point where I hope I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid, so if you own the record, please tell me you hear the difference too and I am not just crazy, because the vinyl makes me love songs I just liked or tolerated.
Siren Call- On the record, it sounds creepier, the vocals take on an echo-like quality, as if Zac might be singing from underwater, which fits the theme perfectly.
Joyful Noise- Seems less annoying, more crisp, the chorus sounds amazing, what can I say Zac is just great on vinyl.
 At one point during a Taylor lead, I swear I heard him swallow, it was that clear! I cannot get over the intensity of sound.
            The record also come with a large glossy color insert/booklet filled with pictures, drawing and handwritten lyrics, the same ones Hanson made into posters for the h.net store.
            Long story short, in the Loud/Play Vinyl package, the record is the real gem, as I think it should be. The photo and painting print while they may be enjoyable, they make this package seem less personal. Hanson made these pieces as an afterthought and therefore they become one.
            Do I regret buying it, really it depends on the day. I mean, I really hate the photo, literally I would have preferred any other photo, so that was a letdown, but I can't deny that even as a reprint Zac's painting is great and if I was Zac girl or a Zac painting enthusiast, I would be more than happy with it. It a rare piece in that only so many were printed, and that's probably why I haven't decided if I'm going to sell it. One thing is for certain until Tulsa I am going to keep playing this record!
PRETTY PRETTY PICTURES! There is 3 or 4 pages of this in the booklet,along with lyrics!





Sunday, January 29, 2017

Just push PLAY and then RE-Play: Hanson's Play EP and Vinyl Review Part 1

      

Play is the 2nd EP Hanson released at end of 2016, to make up for the fact that  Hanson would not be releasing a full length album. Their first EP Loud which was released at Hanson Day last year was a tough act follow and I have to say, Hanson,   I AM IMPRESSED because while Loud may be great, in my opinion Play may be better!
Track Listing

  1. Do you Believe in Love: This was the first track released with the preorder of Play and oh my god.....THE HARMONIES! They just turn my insides to goo, there's  a "Little Mermaid" reference ( kiss the girl)  and it sounds a bit like Queen? What's not to like to like about this song? In my book, nothing, but that being said it is not my favorite track but this EP is off to a strong start.
    Favorite lyrics: I'm searching for the kind, dancing in the moonlight...                   
  2. Freak Out    This is the fun party track of the EP and for some reason to me it screams song for a 90's comedy soundtrack. It's definitely the track you want to turn on after a long hard day at work.
    Favorite lyrics:  I want to give you props Because the way you strut your stuff, It makes my evening rough.
  3. Man on Top:    This is my second favorite track on the EP, it would be my favorite if not for the last track. From what I read from other fans this song gets a lot of flack because of the cheesy lyrics or because of the conceited tone.
                 However, I think that's only one way to look at it. I see it as major ego boost. Just think of a think time when your outfit was on point, your hair looked good and you looked in the mirror and you knew, just knew that no matter whatever happened that day: bitchy co-workers, mean people or those who try to make you feel like less, today you couldn't be touched because today you were the: Man on Top.  And if you haven't had a day like that then you're missing out, the song isn't thinking you're better than everyone, it's believing in yourself, believing you're more and everyone could use that, even if tied to tongue and cheek lyrics.
    Favorite Lyrics: I've got my scars, but you better believe, for every one I have defeated a king...  (These lyrics mean a lot personally due to my Cerebral Palsy scars from multiple operations).
  4. Joyful Noise:  I really wanted to love this song and not just because my lovely voice is one of the hundreds of fans singing on this track but I just can't.  Everything in this song feels like it clashes from Zac's high vocals, a choir that doesn't seem to fit, and bulky lyrics, which is just sad because I love meaning behind this song, and for that reason alone I don't hate the song and do find it enjoyable. I like it better on vinyl, but more on that a little later.
    Favorite Lyrics: Everyone has struggles but when we black the music out they seem to double...
  5. Feeling Alive:  THIS SONG! Let me just tell you....this song I can't really explain to you unless you are Hanson fan, but it's good, like goose bumps and chills good.                                                                                         Holly even wrote a blog about just this one song, which I haven't read yet because I didn't want it to distort my first impression, my impression which is:  This my favorite song on the whole LP, No Rest for the Weary is second. The song feels like an ending  but also a spark of a new beginning, it has an underlying sense of possibility, maybe a continuation of "With you in Your Dreams". We can play this at our funerals instead, how great would that be, if not a little ironic.
    Favorite Lyrics: "My story isn't sterile, been on both sides of the barrel.."
Now on to part two: Play: the Vinyl

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

HopJam 2016 - Hanson's Beer Festival- Year 3


          This year marked the third year of Hanson's international Beer festival. This year it was bigger and better than ever, except for what I would consider a major flaw, it was  the first year that Hanson did not play at the festival and though fans had been told previous years that they would not always play, Hanson kept it hush-hush until the last possible second. I know some fans were annoyed especially those who spent more money to stay Sunday just to see Hanson. I get that they probably didn't want to tell us for fear that attendance would go down but silly Hanson don't you know that Hanson fans will almost support you in anything. At this point I should just admit that my soul belongs to Hanson.
          Since Hanson wasn't playing I wasn't in a mad rush to head out straight to the festival, I ended up visiting some local places that I either usually have to rush through or always ended up missing. I visited my favorite store (IDA REDS), restaurant(COMOS), the chocolate store(Glacier's), Mayfest and the Philbrook downtown.  
     After my exploring I decided to take a break at Guntrie Green where I was not only surprised to hear Hanson over the loud speakers but I almost collided with a news crew who happened to be there interviewing Taylor about the festival. I retreated to  a table where I thought I could watch the interview unnoticed but sadly I am not a coordinated person and when I went rest against the table I missed and ended up bumping into the table instead, which made quite loud noise and alerted Taylor Hanson to my presence. He smiled and waved and continued the interview. Let me repeat that TAYLOR HANSON SMILED AND WAVED AT ME BECAUSE HE RECOGNIZED ME!!!!
          After the interview I had no intention of bothering him but then I remember I actually had something to tell him, a true rarity. I told him that Hanson should make a wine. (I will never be much of a beer drinker, except of course when Hanson is on the label, believe me, I know how sad that sounds.) I told him that they should call the wine "The Grape Divide", he laughed and said that it was good idea and he would keep it in mind, and then a girl came up asked for picture, so I volunteered to take the picture and then thought heck I want a picture too! He agreed, so I turned around to ask someone to take the picture and THERE WAS NO ONE THERE. For possibly the first time and only time it was just me and Taylor Hanson. I ended up asking Taylor to take a selfie, and thankfully it came it out. I thanked him and was about to leave when the cutest thing happened: two little kids (practically toddlers) ambled up to him with their father. The dad explained that the kids had been waiting all day to give the Hanson brothers gumballs. Before my eyes Taylor went into dad-mode, as he got down on one knee and happily accepted 3 gumballs from their tiny hands and exclaimed that this was the most awesomest that had happened all day. My heart melted, literally melted and I knew in that moment something I think I already knew deep down, Taylor Hanson is not only a great and lovely human being but an amazing father. To know a person like Taylor Hanson in any capacity is an honor.   


Highlights
  • Everyone seemed to have ordered a HopJam Beer Package, and nobody seemed to know where to buy individual tasting tickets. I spent an hour looking for the table.
  • Hanson had five beers to taste, Mmmhops and the Festive Ale are still my favorite, and the new flavor "Tulsa Tea" which one would think would be kind of sweet, was absolutely vile in my opinion.
    Hanson's Beer Flavors
  • 3CG  was turned into the lost and found and I kept joking that I would get lost on purpose.
  • The bakery next to 3CG had MMMHops infused foods: the MMMHops chocolate pie, was quite good.
  • Hanson favorited two of my tweets about the festival. 
  • Cute early Hanson photos were posted in window of the brewery next to 3CG
  • A mural was painted by local artists behind 3CG: 
    Zac Hanson getting interviewed about donating the wall and the mural 
  • I caught the Xambassadors and Hanson as they joined the all the bands on stage for the Encore of John Lennon's Instant Karma  
  • This year the HopJam was  a lot more organized with a bunch of activities: beers, food trucks, live music on both the main stage and the park stage. It was a lot more family oriented this year and I unfortunately didn't  explore enough and completely missed the life sized games they had behind Cain's Ballroom.
  • At the end of the festival, I ran into Zac and was able to get a quick picture. Sadly, I didn't hardly see Ike all festival, rumor was he had to go home to pack for the Show "Greatest Hits" which I ended up attending the day after I got back from Tulsa.  
Til next year!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

MOE/Hanson Day 2016: My Perspective and my Review


          This year marked my 6th year making the trek to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Six years!  I would have never thought I would visit Tulsa for Hanson Day once, let alone six times and probably a 7th, come next year, since Taylor Hanson is forcing us all to come back for their 25th year!  Through the years I have learned that MOEs (Member Only Events) are like potato chips, you can't just have one.

Monday, July 25, 2016

We Both Know we Could Never Choose


      Okay since I have been lazy with getting my Hanson Day Recap blog done ( I swear it’s coming), and Hanson just posted this poll (H.net under“Hanson Ask”), asking the Hanson.net community to choose their top 25 Hanson Songs.  I thought I would share my choices.
My list (In no particular order)
  1. A Song to Sing
  2. Been There Before 
  3. Cry/Cried
  4. Dancin' in the Wind
  5. Every Word I Say
  6. Got a Hold On Me
  7. IF ONLY
  8. Tragic Symphony 
  9. Weird
  10. These Walls (I prefer Acoustic version)
  11. Lost Without Each Other 
  12. Lost Without You
  13. Crazy Beautiful
  14. I've Been Down
  15. Strong Enough to Break
  16. Save Me
  17. Use Me Up
  18. Thinking 'Bout Somethin' 
  19. Penny and Me
  20. A Minute Without You
  21. Already Home
  22. Watch Over Me (If "Grace Unknown had been option, it would have replaced this. Hands down my favorite Ike song.) 
  23. Believe
  24. Cut Right Through Me
  25. MMMBop



The Process

When I first went through the list my immediate thought was: “WHO picked this list?!”, because really It felt like Hanson just threw darts at song titles listed on pieces of paper but then I realized it was the alphabetical order that was confusing me. 
I wish they had listed the songs by albums instead, because even though I am Hanson fan, half the time I can’t remember the names. “Take our Chances” ( I had to Google to get the title) and “Waiting For This”(Always want to call it Shout it Out), are especially hard for me.
Once I got past the confusion I quickly went through and checked all my favorites. It wasn’t until I got to number 14, that I started to struggle. So I went back up to the top and actually read the directions.
  
“Pick the songs you think both represent our greatest, but also the way you would share our music with the world. “   

Basically this told me to include MMMBop on my list, where I would have normally left it off, I don’t know if it’s because people normally associate Hanson with MMMBop or that Hanson almost feels obligated to play it  at every show but MMMBop usually makes the short list for me. I then proceeded to check the songs that hardly ever get skipped on my iPod. Watch Over Me made the list because I felt I needed an Ike song even though I am tired of hearing this song live.
The last five songs were the hardest for me to pick and the debate I had between “Cut right Through Me” and “Fired up” about gave me an aneurysm. I end up launching the pop-out media player on Hanson.net and listening to the tracks that I was having the most trouble with. “Cut Right Through Me” ended up making the list for being a far more solid song (lyrically) than “Fired up, in my opinion.

Honorable Mentions:
1)    Fired Up:  I love this song and it’s great live but the hokey lyrics is why it got cut. “Come with us, if you want to live…” Would I share this song with non-Hanson fans, probably not? Sorry, Hanson.  
2)    In the City:  This list feels wrong not to have this song on it and I had contemplated switching “Ive Been Down” with this  but I love the latter more. If I could have cut MMMBOP, In the City would be on the list.
3)    Georgia:  This is one of my favorites on The Walk album but it was this or “Been There Before” and Been There Before will always win. ALWAYS! But I am thinking I should have taken off “Save me” and  put this!
4)    Carry You There:  Solid song. I like it and it grows on me every day.


What my List Says About Me

1)    I’m a Taylor Girl:  No Surprise There. I think Isaac and Zac got one song each, sorry guys.
2)    I am not much of a ballad person:  This I knew. I rely on Hanson to pull me out of my funk or whatever and sad songs just make me sadder.
3)    If I had to pick just one song: IF ONLY. This was the song that not only introduced me to the band but made me love them. I will never get tired of hearing this song!
4)    My favorite ALBUM is according to numbers:
 MON: 4
TTA: 3
Underneath: 7 (With Every Word I say)
The Walk: 4 (With I’ve Been Down)
SIO:3  
Anthem: 4

This is surprising since Underneath is not my favorite album, Anthem is but I guess there are more songs on Underneath that I feel define Hanson.

So what are your top 25 Hanson songs?!
Also check out Tall Bald Fan's podcast the "H-Bomb Show"  as he debates the best Hanson Songs from each album in the weeks to come! 



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hanson's Loud EP: You're the One that Brings me Back

Zac Hanson's painting of "Loud", the cover of the new EP @HDay Gallery 2016

     Hi all! I  returned from the Middle of Nowhere ( Tulsa, Ok) about a week ago and I finally stopped dancing to Hanson's new EP: Loud, long enough to sit down and write a review. 
            Hanson's new EP Loud was given to all fan club members who attended Hanson Day/ MOE 2016. If you are a fan club member who didn't get a chance to attend your EP should arrive in mail sometime next week. Hanson's EP Loud features 5 mostly up beat tracks and is actually part one of a two EP set. Hanson's second EP: Play, releases October 10th of this year and will have five more (live) tracks. The 10 tracks are supposed to make up for Hanson not releasing a new album this year.
            If the first 5 tracks of Loud are any indication of what Play will sound like, then I will not be disappointed.
The Tracks

1)    Ooh La La La: Fun. This track is just pure simple fun. No deep meaning here, just the simple elation one gets when an attractive person passes them on the street and your immediate thought is: DAMN, or in this case Ooh La, La, La. This song is catchy, I dare you  not to get the "Damn good lookings and the Oh La,La,La stuck in your head.  This song also says everything I've thought about Taylor Hanson, just in case you wanted to know.
Favorite lyrics: "I know every thread you wear is woven to entice. How you use it ain't fair."
2)    Stop me in Tracks: My favorite track on this EP. If this whole EP isn't a love letter to fans, this song certainly is. I know it's ridiculous to think this one track could pertain to us, this song could easily be about any person, place, or thing but when I first heard it live at the Hanson Day concert, in its completed form, it just screamed: HANSON.
            I thought yes, Hanson you finally understand what most the fan base has been trying to tell for 19 years! That at the end of the day when I am worn down, beaten, and at end of my rope, Hanson it's you andyour music that brings me back! This song is awesome live, and it was amazing to see hundreds of fellow fans during the concert with their arms raised screaming "I don't wake up DEAD INSIDE!" I felt in that moment, that we were all connected, that we had somehow reached a greater understanding our love for this band.  Someone please comment below, and let me know if you felt it too, or at least know what I'm talking about so I don't feel like a crazy person.
 Favorite lyrics: "When I get home, Monday morning I have the scars to prove it."
3)    No Rest for the Weary: I am lyrics person and boy does this song have them. The type of lyrics that just flow and when you hear them you go, "Oh, damn that was good line!" I had a friend state that this song was the best Hanson song in years, and I am inclined to agree. It's definitely could of been new album worthy. With every new EP there is usually one song that stands out above the rest, this is that song.
 Favorite Lyrics: Basically, the whole 2nd verse but, "Cause my feet can't move to where my heart just aint."
4)    Something Loud: This is the best Isaac song! I know, I know I said that about " For your Love" and "Grace Unknown" is probably my favorite Isaac lead but with every new Hanson chapter, Isaac songs continue to impress me. And this song is just fun, with great lyrics! 
Favorite Lyrics:  "Every pint is a picture of home."
5)    Siren Call: This is my least favorite track on the album. Loud is so upbeat, catchy, and dare I say loud, that this balled just seems to bring everything down, but maybe it's strategically placed. A calm to a high, a means to an end, the rest after climax, the last resounding note in a beautiful masterpiece? Maybe I'm just selfish and like the songs states I want to enjoy every second "before the music stops", thank god for repeat!
Favorite Lyrics: "But when we stop, it starts to beat of your aching heart."

As a whole, the Loud EP is solid. The best Hanson EP in years, every track can be played straight through and sound is 100% Hanson. Now if only Hanson would release Play in a CD format so Loud and Play could be a MATCHING set! Come on guys!
My other favorite Hanson EPS: Facing the Blank Page and Sound of Light.
Next blog: Hanson Day 2016 Recap.  



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Something Goin Around: The Hanson Fan Complex.


           I have been a Hanson Fan for almost 13 years and most of the fandom for even longer. In my almost 13 years I have observed and learned a lot of things. The first thing you need to know is that the Hanson fandom are  very dedicated and  passionate when it's comes this band. Every fan I've ever met has said that Hanson's music changed their life in some way. 
          The second thing you need to know, is with this passion and dedication transpires a complex and for lack of a  better name something I have named: THE HANSON COMPLEX.  No matter how big or small of a  Hanson Fan one is, we all have this complex. If you're Hanson fan you have it, I'm sorry. *  However, the complex is not whatever compels  fans to go through Hanson's trash. That's just good old fashion, crazy.
The Hanson Fan Complex
            In my mind the Hanson Fan Complex is made of up of 3 parts. I might be missing one or two, please comment below if you think of anymore.  I have personally experienced all three parts but if you have done one or two it still counts.  I have titled each part for easier explanation.
  •   The  Hurry up and Wait: Hanson Fans are the only fan base I know that rushes to do a Hanson -related activity just to end up having  to wait, and I'm not talking about standing in line for a concert, hours before doors, even though we do that too. I am talking about rushing to the computer to buy presale concert tickets, only to have to wait for the time that they go on sale and then waiting months for the concert. Rushing to buy plane tickets for Hanson events, right after the dates have been announced, not to mention booking hotels. I was nervous waiting until February to book my flight to Hanson Day this year which takes place in May!

            Now  Hanson Time might be to blame for some of  the waiting, but not all.  Last year hundreds of fans and I waited for over 2 hours in line just to give the band money for merchandise! WE WAITED IN LINE TO PAY THEM!!


  • The "I Don't need this, but I Need This : Now this one is more merch related. Hanson releases new merchandise on like a monthly basis.  Do you need that new shirt? No.  You already have at least one Hanson shirt but are you going to buy the new shirt? Probably. I mean, I own 2 pairs of Hanson sunglasses and  I am  not real sure why, except last year's pair came in my favorite color.

              When it comes to Hanson I have learned that I always end up spending more than I originally planned because something I just suddenly need comes along. I hope this Hanson day I  can do better, but I'm not going to bet on it.
  •  The "Maybe I Could": Also known as wishful thinking. This involves looking at flights, because maybe, just maybe, you could  fit that extra tour date into your schedule or that BTTI vacation! Never mind you haven't found a way to pay for it. If only, you could get time off . You'll figure it out, you're a Hanson Fan! Sometimes it doesn't work out but if there is a glimmer of hope it might, you'll try every angle to make it so!

          I've taken finals early, road tripped for hours, skipped school, gotten shifts covered, carpooled, slept on the sidewalk, stayed up way past my bedtime, and sometimes just straight up lied just so I could attend a Hanson-related event.
            That in a nut-shell is the Hanson complex, I know how crazy and absurd it sounds to any non-fan. It is, but it also very real and sometimes stressful. It might be an addiction but Hanson is also my passion and I would not trade the moments/ memories that this Hanson Complex has given me.
Not for anything.
Michelle
*The complex does not apply to those who just like Hanson's music.
PS.  Heading to Tulsa this month for Hanson Day 2016! I can't wait! I expect my next blog to be about that!