By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
"Middle of Nowhere"
Say what you will about these three well-scrubbed rich boys --
they're going to be big. They'll take the unique sound of south
Tulsa to the world!
Oh, I, too, thought I was having acid flashbacks when I heard
that these cherubic, largely ignorable local whinsies had not only
landed a major-label deal but hooked up with the Dust Brothers to
produce it. I thought, it's a wonder anyone could turn a doorknob,
what with all the greased palms.
But however it came to be, “Middle of Nowhere'' is just the
kind of tight, slick record that will beat us over the head for
years to come. Over each track's hurried, lite R&B and incessant
record scratching, 13-year-old Taylor doesn't just sound like
1967-vintage Michael Jackson, he also sounds like 1996-vintage
Michael Jackson. Sometimes his thin coo melts your childlike heart
(“Weird''), and sometimes his roar is both “Dangerous'' and
“Bad'' (“Look at You'').
The one thing that will rescue Hanson
from the inevitable oblivion of acts of their ilk, i.e. New Kids on
the Block, is that they play instruments (11-year-old Zac is a
maniac on the drums) and participate in their writing of their
songs. Yes, Mercury hauled in some bigwigs to pen hits for the
album, but the first single, the frighteningly catchy “MMMBop''
(from their Tulsa indie record of the same name), and a couple of
the most interesting tracks are the ones with Hansons in the credit
lines. These kids grew up listening to classic soul records, and
when those influences show up through their young, modern
rock-saturated filters, the result is some surprisingly fresh
music. Maybe, just maybe, youth is not wasted on the young.
Regardless, though, “MMMBop'' debuted at No. 16 last week, and
it will be drilling into your head around every corner in no time.
Meanwhile, the Tulsa sound still resides peacefully in Tulsa.
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.