Hanson The Best of Hanson: Live and Electric

In a strange sort of way, it is hard not to admire Hanson on some level. Starting off as a kiddie band and delivering annoying pop hits, it seemed certain that they would disappear after one album only to appear years later on The Surreal Life or America’s Most Wanted. But eight years in, it looks like they aren’t going anywhere, and while they might not be as popular as those early days, they are doing just fine. Despite the fact that the youngest member of the band is still merely 19 years old, Hanson are trying to mature with every subsequent release. 2004’s Underneath featured a collaboration with Matthew Sweet and their latest release Live and Electric finds them throwing in covers of songs by U2 and Radiohead. Yes, Radiohead. This live album is kicked off by Hanson’s version of "Optimistic” and a very straight-forward version too that isn’t terrible by any means. Still, there is something very surreal about Hanson covering Radiohead while throngs of teenage girls scream in adoration. The rest of the disc consists of versions of all their big hits that aren’t nearly as high-pitched as they were — I suppose they can’t reach those high notes like they could pre-puberty. At the end of the day, this is an album for their fans — it probably won’t convince many non-believers that they are a truly talented trio, but they are definitely not as bad as many people might remember. (True North)