Why is Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
It’s pure pop joy, pure joy joy. Okay?
Some stats & info about Hanson – Middle of Nowhere
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Pop Music
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Middle of Nowhere released? 1996
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #642 out of 1,000
Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
This comes directly from my notes during the lengthy research process for this here best 1,000 albums ever project: “MMMBop” is just a fabulously ebullient pop song, okay? I don’t know if that comes off a bit defensively but I’m just saying.
And I’m still just saying. It is. It’s pure pop joy, pure joy joy. Even the typically downbeat Stephen Thomas Erlwine at All Music notes that Middle of Nowhere is “…like a post-alternative version of the Jackson 5,” and “…is positively bubbling energy throughout its surprisingly infectious and melodic debut.”
And that infectiousness really does span far beyond “MMMBop.” “Where’s The Love” is confident, energetic, and bursting with youthful energy.
“Look At You” is a great example of leveraging the young trio’s (the brothers Hanson comprise Isaac, Taylor, and Zac) midwestern charm and earnestness with turntable scratches and a multi-layered production that creates a big, high-powered sound.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere
There’s a TV show called Friends From College that ran exactly two seasons on Netflix. Despite it being pretty good (not great, but quite watchable) and sporting a cast fronted by Fred Savage and Keegan-Michael Key, I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person I know who has watched it.
One of my most favorite scenes from the short lived series involves Savage’s character, Max Adler. A major storyline involved Adler, a publishing agent, developing the concept for a fantasy series that Key’s character, Ethan Turner (a “serious” writer trying to crank out the next Harry Potter mega-franchise), would author.
And the pair believe they’ve done it. The culmination, if memory serves, involves Adler taking tremendous joy and pride in opening a box that includes the first printed editions of Turner’s surefire masterpiece (or maybe it’s the completed manuscript, but it’s something significant if you can dig).
Fred Savage-as-Adler dances around his office in utter jubilation as “MMMBop” by Hanson triumphantly accompanies the scene…
It all comes into focus for Adler. He realizes that the concept for the next Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is not original in the slightest. That the same exact concept was being developed by his publishing agency, and he was just completely tuned out to it the entire time. The signs were everywhere, as a montage relates.
And the tempo of “MMMBop” is slowed down — WAY down — to creepy sludgy levels as a way of emphasizing the nosedive of Adler’s mood and, likely, his friendships and career.
It’s one of the most effective uses of music that I’ve seen for comedic purposes. Absolutely hilarious and still makes me laugh to this day.