I've been wanting to write down my thoughts on the newest Hanson EP for about a month now (since it's release day at H-Day 2017) and I think now that the newness has worn off, I can form more coherent sentences than just "klajsdflaskjdflaskjdflaskjdf" which is how I feel about most things. IN COLOR is the 2017 Member's EP and features five songs. We got to see a little sneak peek of each song during the Member's Live Streams, which makes hearing the finished product even sweeter. This ranks as one one of my favorite EPs (which include Banditos, Loud, and Sound of Light). Alright...let's dive in.
1. Somebody That Wants To Love You
On nights you would play
I'd wait up late
To meet you at the last drive through
Head in the future
Heart in Oklahoma
That's the girl I always knew
Okay, to say I like this song would be a massive understatement. I loved this song from the moment I heard the mumbled lyrics on the live stream. I LIVE for story songs (hello, Musical Theatre writer), and the story of this one gives me a lot of wonderful feelings of late nights in my hometown when I was too young to worry about what came next and everything felt just a dream away. It gives me a MAJOR John Mellencamp vibe, which I am completely fine with. What can I say, I love 80's music and always will. This is the only Taylor lead on the EP, so it's not surprising I love it. I also have this weird...theory, I guess you could call it (and this could absolutely just be a coincidence) but this EP feels like it's more specifically for the fans than any other one before it. I feel like it was incredibly smart of the boys to write a song about a narrator who loves a hometown friend who made it big, just like we have loved them for so long. We did love them with their hair down to their shoulders, when the world was much younger.
If you're looking for a new way
and you're good with word play
I might have a job for you
Watching this stream made me feel like a CRAZY PERSON because I spent the whole time trying to figure out what the bass line reminded me of. I had everyone working on it, and finally we came up with Lady Madonna, whew. I didn't expect to like the song as much as I do. There are a couple production issues (you guys HAVE to get an iso booth for your vocals, I'll pay for it myself sheesh), but I really like how the song itself turned out. It's such an interesting thing to write a song about, and the lyrics are incredibly clever. I have SO much respect for Zac as a lyricist, and this is a great example of that. Oh and...okay I'm a vocal teacher so you can't expect me to write any review and not mention this kind of stuff. Zac's PLACEMENT is ridiculously good. He just floats up to that B flat like it's literally nothing. THAT IS NOT NORMAL. You can't TEACH THAT. Okay, moving on.
3. Reach out for My Hand
You're a word weaver, swimming in the wet quick sand
You're a born achiever, but you're sinking where you stand
This song definitely also has a Beatles vibe, much like the last track, but it also will always remind me of the movie "That Thing You Do" (which is kind of based off of the Beatles anyway, so whatever). There is little I love more than tight, perfectly locked in harmonies, which is a hallmark of Hanson, and this song definitely delivers. It's different than anything I've ever heard them do, and the retro sound paired with the clever lyrics make it a stand out for me.
4. I Don't Want To Go Home
It ain't no secret where we come from
so we wear our history like a badge of honor
Who can say all the choices I'll make?
I have this strange habit of crying at the weirdest things, and this song makes the list. The first time I heard the fully produced studio version I found myself with tears streaming down my face. There's a lot to that. First of all, this song is cathartic. The drums sound like stomping feet and Zac's full throated belt to the rafters can only be achieved by singing with reckless abandon. Second of all, the song is for us and no one can tell me it isn't. It perfectly captures what it's like to go to a Hanson show, and to be a part of this crazy fandom. We do wear our history like a badge of honor. We wear pansy earrings and TTA era shirts and TOMS shoes. It's our collective happy place, where we all know every lyric. We know that Taylor will ask us how we're feeling and that Ike will throw his picks and that they'll all fly off of the drums at the end. We know we'll jump around for If Only and sing back up for With You In Your Dreams. Third of all, I've met some pretty awesome people through this band. I'm so lucky to have them.
I'm seeing Hanson 9 times this year (it was 6 but then EPCOT was announced, whoops!!) and I know that at the end of every show I'll have the same thought. "I don't want to go home."
5. I Lift You Up
Like planting seeds in the soil
I'd water flowers with tears of joy
if crying eyes would break you home
Okay...I have heard a lot of strong opinions about this song. It's definitely the weakest on the EP, and it's very far down on my list of every Hanson song ever. But let's start with the good. Lyrically, I think it's pretty strong. There are definitely religious undertones (or just...tones), and for a lot of people that could be a turn off, so I get that. But hey, I'm religious, so I don't particularly mind. The bones of the song are good. There are good lyrics and a pretty melody, with a beautiful vocal arrangement at the end. Now, for the not so good. I strongly dislike the production of this song. Taylor's weird Lamaze breathing makes me roll my eyes, and if the whole thing was just stripped down and played on piano, it would be a huge improvement. It's just too busy for that kind of a composition. Also, its disappointing that after a power anthem on the previous track, with Zac achieving the most perfect spin on the highest notes (meaning they were perfectly placed and supported), he sings this song with barely any support. I understand he's trying to sing softly, but you still have to breathe!! Furthermore, I wish that the EP had ended on a high, since the entire thing (up until this point) is so uplifting and exciting. I still think that ending it with I Was Born would not have been a bad choice.
So there ya have it! My thoughts and feelings on IN COLOR. For the most part, I love it very much. I Don't Want to Go Home is my favorite from the track list, with Somebody That Wants To Love You right on its heels.
Peace, Love, and Algonquin for the good land,