The Christmas All Over Again feature will showcase artists issuing their second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. Holiday album in 2017. Each post in the series will feature two albums: an older one and the latest one from 2017. The series is named in tribute to Tom Petty's contribution to A Very Special Christmas 2.
Its been twenty years since the trio of brothers going by their surname of Hanson burst onto the national scene with the album Middle Of Nowhere led by the insanely catchy single "MMMBop" which spent three weeks at Number One on Billboard's Hot 100 in Summer 1997, selling one and a half million copies in the process. At this apex of their popularity, the boys holed up in a recording studio for a brief time to record Snowed In, their first Christmas album, which was featured here on The Hideaway as a personal favorite back in 2013. And apparently, I'm not alone in my praise: at least one person thinks Snowed In is the Greatest Christmas Album Ever!
In December 2016, Hanson streamed a live special from their studio entitled Finally It's Christmas, featuring the song of the same title above, giving hopes that perhaps a new Hanson Christmas Album was happening.
The day after that stream, the Hanson brothers posted the teaser above for their new Christmas album - due in 2017! This year has been a landmark year for Hanson as they celebrated their 25th Anniversary as a band with a world tour and a double disc greatest hits album. So like a good little fanboy, I made a note in my planner and set a reminder for late October and sure enough, four days before Halloween, a new Hanson Christmas album was released. And the boys once again streamed a Christmas performance on December 15, 2017.
Finally It's Christmas was definitely worth the wait for this fan, with a dozen songs* including one - "Happy Christmas" - with backup vocals by the twelve kids the brothers have sired between them. The title track kicks things off with middle brother Taylor delivering his usual excellent blue-eyed soul performance. (If you haven't heard them yet, check out Taylor's power-pop supergroup Tinted Windows) and Isaac laying down some tasty guitar licks. What follows are rocking interpretations of some of my favorite Christmas music including McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime", Charles Brown / Eagles "Please Come Home For Christmas" (abbreviated as "Please Come Home" here), Stevie's "Someday At Christmas", Elvis's "Blue Christmas", "Winter Wonderland", "Have Yourself A Merry Christmas" and Mariah's modern-day classic "All I Want For Christmas". A clap-stomp take on "Joy To The World" leads into "Go Tell It On The Mountian" in a medley they call "Joy To The Mountain". After two listens, I've paired Finally It's Christmas with Snowed In, in what has become the Most Listened-To Playlist of Christmas 2017.
*Technically, there are fourteen tracks on the album but tracks 3 and 8 - "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bells", respectively - are both less than 30 seconds long.