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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can't You See That I'm Stuck Here Underneath

From the first 2 Hanson albums, i gathered that we would be seeing something different every time they recorded a new album.  And I was right.  But in the years between This Time Around (2000) and Underneath (2004), a lot more changed than any of us expected.  For one, Mercury Records/Island Records/ Island Def Jam Records was trying to make the band something they were not.  As we all saw years later in their documentary "Strong Enough to Break", they struggled trying to find a balance between contractually fulfilling their obligations with the record label and making the music they loved and maintaining their creative freedom.  This band had been together making music longer than these record label execs had been in the music industry, and from what we have seen in the last ten years, all they really cared about was making money.  We all witnessed the struggles they went through to remain true to their art, and as much as we hated to wait for new music, i honestly say we all agree were glad they did.  These years were also the years when napster and music downloads really became a part of the mainstream music world.  I know it was wrong, but i loved listening to the unreleased Hanson music that leaked.  Yea, some of it wasnt great, but for the most part, it was phenomenal and it really made me a bigger fan; if this is the music they rejected to make their albums, one can only imagine what we can expect from their records.  So in 2004, Underneath was released.  I remember listening to it on my walkmen nonstop for about 3 weeks until i knew every song and digested every harmony.  This album had a little bit of everything.  The happy pop rock from "Penny and Me" and the truly dramatic (in a good way) ballads like Underneath and Broken Angel.  One song that has stuck with me from this album is Believe.  We all go through tough times and there are always various things that help us through them, and this song was truly inspiring.  there really is more to life than depression and hard times.  If anyone knew that, it was Hanson.  Underneath was released on Hanson's independent label 3CG Records (hey Hanson, if you need artists, you know where to reach me :)) and went on to become the most successful self-released record of all time; it debuted at #1 on the top independent albums chart! The band continued touring non-stop promoting the new music. I was still in high school and unable to drive myself the 3 hours down to LA to see a show so i had to follow their tour online via what other fans would talk about.  although i wasnt happy about it, i had to deal with it.  That September 2004, Hanson performed on the sun dial at Columbia University, and really triggered my desire to go there.  I've never told anyone that.  I had already wanted to go, i had visited the school, was impressed with their academics and location, but this one event (which happened before i even set foot through the doors) really made my decision.  So in the fall of 2005, I moved to New York City to attend Columbia University and that is where my Homeless for Hanson adventure began.

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