Album Details

October 11, 2005
Three Car Garage
Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock

Album Review

The Best of Hanson: Live and Electric is not a compilation; it's a live album, capturing the band on their supporting tour for their 2004 album Underneath. It's not their first live album -- about a year and a half after their 1997 major-label debut, they released Live from Albertane, which was a little fast for a live record, but it does illustrate just how crazy Hanson mania was in the late '90s. Here in 2005, Hanson not only have a larger repertoire to draw from, but they're a different band: they're older, stronger, road-tested, and tougher. They're a mature band now, usually for better, but sometimes for worse, as in on their opening gambit of covering Radiohead's crawling "Optimistic." It's a move that practically begs for the band to be taken seriously, to not be thought of as teen pop sensation, and the self-consciousness of the cover is awkward. But that's the only false note on an album that's tight, lean, and quite entertaining. Every song here, whether it's a newer tune or their old hits "Where's the Love" and "MMM Bop," is given an arrangement that is simultaneously stripped down and opened up, giving the trio -- augmented by Pete Griffin on bass and Aaron Kaplan on electric guitar -- plenty of space to jam. In a way, this is as much as a throwback to the era of late-'70s live albums as their first records were a throwback to late-'60s/early-'70s bubblegum: there just aren't many live albums any more that sound like a band in concert, revealing a different side of the band, one where the songs seem to gain strength in a live setting. That's not to say that this is the second coming of Frampton Comes Alive! or, even better, Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous, but this is nevertheless a very good live album that will certainly satisfy hardcore fans and, if given a chance, could change the minds of some skeptics.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Optimistic
  2. Every Word I Say
  3. Where's the Love
  4. Look at You
  5. Strong Enough to Break
  6. I Will Come to You
  7. Underneath
  8. Hand in Hand
  9. In a Little While
  10. Penny & Me
  11. MMM Bop
  12. This Time Around
  13. Rock 'N' Roll Razorblade
  14. If Only [*]
  15. A Song to Sing [*]
  16. Penny & Me [DVD][*]
  17. Lost Without Each Other [DVD][*]
  18. Underneath [DVD][*]
  19. Underneath [DVD][*][Mix]
  20. Crazy Beautiful [DVD][Live][*]
  21. Being Me [DVD][Live][*]
  22. Strong Enough to Break [DVD][*]
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