Such cute girls 

Ever had the hiccups? Not your standard misgasp of alcoholic air followed by embarrassing respiratory restraint, but the whole, soul-consuming body revolt complete with unseemly contortions and, quite possibly, a dance to the bathroom? Thought so.

For those of us stupid enough to care, there was a soundtrack to said humbling pounding throughout the wonder that was 1997, and that little gem was ridiculously titled "MMMBop" by three little corn-fed, blonde-haired girls named Hanson. Oh wait: They were just nubile boys.

Anyway, you can't care. "You can't, 'cause you don't know Ã?/And in an MMMBop it's gone." Wiser words have never been spoken, I think. Nor have more prophetic ones. Hanson fell away, leaving a legacy of unintelligible wisdom to litter coked-up VH1 nightmares of pop-culture significance. Sound familiar?

"Sorry I couldn't make it on time," bops Taylor Hanson, the prettiest girl, from New York. "I was doing a radio station and I've been on the air."


"Yeaaaah, I'm in New York. We finished the second leg, or first leg, whatever you call it." He pretends the fall never happened. "And we just started up again, going down the East Coast and then back to Atlanta. Just kinda doin' the shtick."

OK. The shtick, it turns out, involves a comeback of sorts, soliciting remnant fans with acoustic versions of songs you never really listened to. Genius!

"What's going on right now is, the next album comes out in the spring. And so, we said, you know, let's do something kind of special and different, something that's really on the heartbeat of what's going on, and do some really special acoustic shows."

Let's see: heartbeat and special? Aren't those terms reserved for Moody Blues comeback tours?

"And then, along with that, there's an acoustic album, which you might have."

No. No, I don't.

"If you don't have it, we'll send it to you."

No, don't. Hiccup.

"It's kind of ironic that we decided to start by doing an acoustic tour, because our new album does have a sort of heavy dynamic to it." He summons irony, but irony is the enemy here. "We produced most of it ourselves. We've always produced, but we really didn't want to do any collaboration as far as producers this time."

Read: We can't afford producers.

"We really want to have it get down to the core. That sort of U2/Police kind of thing, with the energy of the music, we wanted the album to have that kind of energy and, um, visceral, um, feeling. It bounces around; there's definitely some stuff that you go, well, that's definitely Hanson."

And here it comes:

"We're just taking it to the next level, I guess."

Hiccup! Hiccup! Hiccup!

"Our experience has been so unique to people that are our age and people that are our peers, people our age now are just now saying, 'This is what I want to do, maybe I'll start a band.' And we've already had so much experience. So many great experiences. It's just always been about the music."

Well, not really. In the case of Hanson (and I could drink a case of Hanson right now and still be on my feet), the backlash was inescapable. Hateful websites, homosexual accusations, rumors of homeschooling (those are true, I suppose). Anyway, Taylor's OK with everything. Too OK.

"You begin it trying to make an impression on people, then because you make an impression, people have such misconceptions about you. You're challenged to let people know who you are, and then you want people to know who you are now."

Insert stupid comparison here:

"I mean, look at Paul McCartney. Paul McCartney is trying to sell a new record, and people expect him to be who he was." He forgets irony altogether. "That's an extreme example."


"You always laugh about certain things. I mean, people look back at like high school pictures, and they go, 'Wow, why did I wear that sweater?'"

Taylor was homeschooled.

"There's always things like that. But as far as career decisions, I don't think I'd ever be able to go, 'Wow, I wish I'd never done that.'"

But didn't it hurt? You know, being completely dismissed and thrown into the cesspit of public hatred?

"You know you've been successful when you have people who are making a point of being, um, against you." He's against me asking. "It doesn't matter whether you're really great or you suck, like, if you're enough of an impact on people's psyche, and make enough of an impression, you're always gonna have some negative coming back, also."

Turns out that, by Taylor's impression, people still like them. Well, sorta.

"Not that it's the same response, in the sense that it's the same old same old," he rationalizes. "It's just an amazing response. What people don't think about is that it's been six years since "Middle of Nowhere," and all those fans -- the ones that are our peers, the most hardcore group -- are now six years older. Now they're in college, or starting their lives."

But didn't you once share your life with creepy-crawlies The Osbournes?

"The Osbournes, there was a couple of different things." He pulls out his shit list. "One `was` that Sharon paid like $50,000 dollars for a pair of tickets, and another, this huge rumor for a couple of years that I was with Aimee. But that was complete crap."

And you should know. As for the future of Hanson in the pop parcel? MMMUncertain.

"The problem is that there's so many shifts and changes in the industry," he chutes, then ladders. "People are going to have to find the solution to whatever the next transition is. We're excited to be in control of what goes down, and have an intimate relationship with our fans."

And in an MMMbop, he's gone.

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