Why We’re All Still Talking About Hanson 20 Years After MMMBop
This week, Hanson celebrated 20 years since the release of “MMMBop,” arguably one of the greatest summer playlist pop jams to emerge from the ‘90s. (Or maybe even the greatest — but we’re not going to argue about that now.)
However, startling news emerged from the Hanson camp when the three brothers confirmed the unthinkable: That we’d been getting the words wrong this whole time. (Pause and gasp for dramatic effect.) [Editor/Major Hanson Fan Lisa Raphael’s Note:I’ve been saying this for at least 15 years.]
Upon being asked by Vulture if he’d heard any decent covers of the song, middle brother Taylor responded without hesitation: “I gotta be honest: no.”
“People can’t sing the chorus right,” Isaac added. “Most of the time they syncopate it wrong.”
Well, excuuuuse us. And while nobody here has a time machine we can hop into and change the past, we can still offer four reasons why two decades after the fact, we still care about “MMMBop,” the song we’ve obviously failed. So take this as our apology, Hanson. It’s all we have left.
1. The song sounds good even WHEN you mess it up. Do you hear me, Taylor? Isaac? Zac? While there might be lyrics to you, we haven’t heard any distinct enough to warrant a continuity check. Not in 20 years. Instead, we get to sing “MMMBop, ba ba doo-bop, doo-ee-daa . . .” before descending into madness and regaling ourselves with how much we love this song. Which brings me to my next point…
2. The song would be nothing without the video. I mean, right? Does anything embody the ’90s more than watching three siblings atop a background of shape-shifting flowers? Anything? Okay, yes, admittedly, the brothers’ outfits have been plucked from all our middle-school class photos, and their long, wavy, beachy hair has acted as our gateway into Googling, “How to get beach waves in the winter.” But the video is perfect for a song that makes so little sense to the casual listener. At one point, they’re dancing in the street, at others, please see above image. The song is random! The video equally so! And it probably was created to be made into GIFs some day.
3. The song is secretly super-deep though. Don’t believe me? (Of course you do — we’re all friends here.) Behold the opening lines of this very popular song: “You have so many relationships in this life / only one or two will last / You go through all the pain and strife / Then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast.”
This, pals, was our first taste of philosophy. Or nihilism. Or anything more substantial than what we’d been listening to prior. Hanson was deep, you guys. This song was a vessel for thought and provocation and real, serious, human emotions. The only downside? It was set to such an upbeat vibe that we kind of lost sight of the real purpose thanks to scream-shouting the chorus. But I won’t fault any of us for that, because all we wanted was to dance.
4. “MMMBop” is seriously so much fun to dance to. I mean, maybe don’t dance like this. This is kind of the least-cool way of dancing. (But if you like it, that’s also fine! When I dance I usually have to — by law — raise my hands in the air, so I probably shouldn’t speak on this at all.)
But for real: “MMMBop” is a jam. It is a song that, should it come on at any venue at any time, will inspire you to get up and start going, “Oh my God, YES!” before launching into whatever dance moves you feel most comfortable with. It’s catchy and it’s upbeat and it reminds us all of wearing the exact type of necklaces Taylor dons in the video. It is ’90s mainstream pop, after all. And if there’s anything I know about myself and anyone who ever lived through the ’90s: that’s the highest praise of all.
Do you get the syncopation right in the chorus? Be honest @BritandCo!
(Photos via David Becker + Dan Callister/Getty)