Hanson Day 2015

I went out for a drive today with the windows down, the sunroof open, and a very special album on my stereo. Middle of Nowhere was released eighteen years ago today, and it remains one of my favorite not merely for the songs but for everything that came with it. It was a few weeks after the album’s release before I even heard “MMMBop” while flipping radio stations in my bedroom one long, boring night and hoping for something to catch me. “MMMBop” caught me. I was late to the party, but it was only just getting started. The governor of Oklahoma had declared May 6, 1997 to be Hanson Day, and we’ve celebrated every year since.
There was no “we” that May night; there was only me. A little over a year earlier, I’d moved away from most of my friends to a new town, and I never quite clicked with anyone there. “MMMBop” and later Middle of Nowhere clicked like none other. That music was exactly what I needed at the time — happy, relatable, and fun. Through the band’s chat room, forums, fan club, and concerts, I went on to make some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Next weekend, I’m going to Tulsa to spend the weekend with some of them for the official fan club event.
Does any other band put on a weekend-long event in their hometown for their fan club? If so, I don’t know about it. Hanson go all out — pop-up store, art gallery, bowling tournament (spawned from, no joke, a shirt Zac wore in a photoshoot years ago), lectures, dinner, movie night, concert, even an afterparty. Every year, the event evolves a little, and I leave in awe, cheeks hurting from smiling so much and so long, wondering how they’re going to top it next time. Somehow, they always do. And somehow, every show, every event, something hooks me all over again just like I was hooked eighteen years ago by that song unlike any other on the radio.
Thanks for everything, Hanson — all the music, all the hooks, the friendships, concerts, events, and memories. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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