Philosophy Phriday: Hanson

I think we can all agree that life was simpler in 1997. My biggest struggles consisted of convincing my mother that yes I did need another pack of butterfly clips from The Reject Shop, and topping my grade 3 classmate Anthony in the show and tell stakes. It was hard to beat a Backstreet Boys cassette (we’re talking the album, not just a cassingle), but my bringing my cat to school got me across the line. I am the genius my generation deserves.

The pop world was a simpler place too, with a novelty single all it took to rocket to the top of the charts (see Barbie Girl by Aqua and I Don’t Like It by Pauline Pantsdown). It all got a bit more complicated when three young, long-haired boys burst onto the music scene. They were brothers in music and blood; beautiful, blonde brothers who I only learnt they were in fact not girls when my friend Diana travelled all the way across Melbourne to the top level car park of Eastland to see them play and she was using male pronouns when retelling her life-changing experience.

Hanson had so many unforgettable hits so it’s really hard to pick just one on the grounds of its philosophical excellence. There is one, however, that stands out for its nuanced exploration of love and loss. I am of course talking about their smash hit MMMBop.

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

What really stands out to me in this verse is ‘pain and strife’. Was there ever such a succinct and accurate description of adult life? Pain and strife. Sure, it’s true of love but I think there’s a broader application for this observation. Full time work? Pain and strife. Having to make your own life decisions? Pain and strife. Extreme savings plans? Pain and strife.

So hold on the ones who really care
In the end they’ll be the only ones there
And when you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care
Can you tell me who will still care?

This is heartbreaking to read from three of the most beautiful heads of hair ever seen. I for one do not want to live in a world where Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson have lost their hair. Who would still care? I would still care, Isaac, Taylor and Zac. I would still care. Well, I would care a little at least.

Here is an exhaustive list of people about whose follicle status I have any degree of concern:

Isaac Hanson
Taylor Hanson
Zac Hanson
Prince George (please let him have inherited his mother’s hair genes and not his father’s)

Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those
Keep planting to find out which one grows
It’s a secret no one knows
It’s a secret no one knows
Oh, no one knows

It starts to fall over a little here for me. First of all, ‘plant a flower, plant a rose’: what is a rose if not a subset of flower? This is like saying ‘cook a delicious meal, cook a crispy fried chicken burger with slaw and chipotle mayo served with a generous side hot chips’. Secondly, out of a seed, a flower and a rose, which is most likely to grow when planted? Even with the richest potting mix, fertiliser drawn from your own backyard worm farm and regular watering, I don’t think a flower or rose is going to grow if you just shove its stem in the soil. On the other hand, growing is literally what seeds do. Unless they’re chia seeds being sprinkled on a açai bowl by a 21 year-old blonde woman wearing Lululemon.

The growing potential of a flower vs a rose vs a seed is hardly a secret no one knows. What even is an açai bowl and why you would choose that over ricotta hotcakes with marscapone and fairy floss however, is one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

Thankfully the song picks up again with a catchy rendition of the string of words that is my internal monologue around 3.30pm every weekday:

Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du, yeah

Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du, yeah

In conclusion, Isaac, Taylor and Zac are now 35, 33 and 30 years of age and we are all ancient.


Watch this. You know you want to. Not enough film clips are recorded in the family living room anymore.

If you’ve got another few minutes spare, take a look at Hanson’s guest appearance in what is still the best music video of all time (soz, Kanye/Beyonce), Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night.

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