Top 25 Favorite Hanson Songs

Top 25 Favorite Hanson Songs


Over on, Hanson is asking fan club members to select their Top 25 favorite songs in honor of next year’s 20th anniversary (and their 25th anniversary as a band together). I took the survey but it really wasn’t complete because they only listed tracks on their studio albums. Some of their best work is on the fan club member CDs or tracks that “don’t exist” as Zac put it when I asked him once to play an obscure non-album track.

I’ve seen a lot of the other fans making their own lists to share, so I thought I would do the same – it is much tougher than you’d imagine because it’s really incredibly hard to rank certain songs above each other. So here we go!

1. Every Word I Say. This song was on the Penny & Me single. I love the lyrics, the way Taylor sings the song, Isaac’s part in the bridge and the overall huge sound of the song. One the best love songs the band has ever written. “I want you for always, I hear your name in every word I say.”

2. Tearin’ It Down. This is probably a controversial pick. I don’t really know a lot of people who love this song the way I do but there’s just something that grabs me. It’s actually my most played song on iTunes and the groove of the song can’t be beat. Up until last year they never played it live and when I finally heard it, I about lost it. “I’m not a wise man, but I see the haze.”


3. This Time Around. Hanson’s lead single off their second album took the band in a more rock and roll direction. It’s also become an anthem of sorts for the fans and remains one of my all time favorites to hear live. Plus, Taylor never looked sexier than he did in this video 😉 “All I know is that fear has got to go, this time around.”


4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Razorblade. Taylor has been quoted as saying if you don’t get this song, you don’t get the band. It’s really kind of a depressing story about a musician who just wants to play the kind of music he wants to play but is being told to play something else by the record label. My guess is this song was written during the midst of the band’s own struggles with their former label. It appears on the 2003 fan club CD. “Won’t you watch me bleed rock n roll razorblade.”


5. Great Divide. Inspired by their trip to Africa to help children in need, this song kicked off most of the tours between 2007 – 2009. It’s so hopeful, so inspiring and almost Biblical. Any time I feel down or overwhelmed by this crazy world, I listen to this song. “I find hope and it gives me rest. I find hope in a beating chest. I find hope in what eyes don’t see. I find hope in your hate for me. Have no fear when the waters rise. We can conquer this great divide.” 


6. Been There Before. This song makes me emotional (in a good way!). To me, the lyrics describe exactly what someone should feel when listening to their favorite band. “Does it move you, does it soothe you/Does it fill your heart and soul with the roots of rock and roll?” & “When you can’t get through it, you can listen to it.”


7. If Only. One of my very favorites to hear live, this one always brings down the house (literally). Everyone joins in and jumps in unison and if you’re at the Chicago House of Blues, the entire building shakes. I know people thought the DJ scratches were weird in this song, but I love them. “If only I had the guts to feel this way, if only you’d look at me and wanna stay, if only I could take you in my arms and say, I won’t go cuz I need you. I wanna hear you say it’ll always be this way and we’ll be hand in hand for every night and everyday /I wanna scream and shout cuz rules are never doubt /And all I care about is you and me and us and now.” 

8. Let You Go. I always thought this one could have been a huge hit on radio but it was never an album track and up until recently Zac insisted to me that it did not exist. I think it finally showed up on something a few years ago but I don’t remember what. I’ve had a rough leaked cut for years now 😉 “Let’s turn it around/I know that it’s love that I’ve found/And I promise I won’t let you down.”


9. Tragic Symphony. Taylor channels his inner Michael Jackson and it’s pretty darn phenomenal. “Well, the lie you composed is intricate, but if it don’t bleed then it ain’t no cut.”

10. Deeper. This was another one I thought would be a big radio hit. It’s kind of a sappy Isaac love song but it’s always been a favorite of mine and I especially love that Michelle Branch sings back-up vocals. I legit cried when I heard this one live for the first time in Louisville back in 2008. “Every simple notion is poetry in motion /Can’t you see it’s pushing me over the edge /This wrecking ball you’re holding /Could crush the heart you’ve stolen /I give you my devotion all over again And if you let me try tonight you just might see that I’m falling deeper and deeper and deeper in love.” 

11. A Song to Sing. This is another emotional one and might just be Hanson’s best written song. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to hear that extra third verse that didn’t exist on the album version.I really want to copy all the lyrics because they’re just that good, but I’ll just pick a few. “I’m looking for a song to sing, looking for a friend to borrow. I’m looking for my radio, so I might find a heart to follow. I’ve never been this longing for your lovin’.  I’ve never been so wearin’ down to nothin’. I’ve never been just looking for a reason. So maybe you’ve been thinkin’ of me.”

12. Strong Enough to Break. This song really struck a chord with me when I first heard it because at the time, a friendship was ending. I know it’s about the band’s break-up with their record label but at the time, it really reflected how I was feeling inside. “Throw me a line so I can anchor my pain , the fabric is about to fray.”

13. A Minute Without You. On to happier tunes! This one doesn’t age and I think I’ve probably heard it 27 times live but it’s just one that needs to be played at every show. It’s also special for the fans because what would we ever have done without this band in our lives? “I can’t keep myself from thinking about you/It’s because I love you, and I know that it’s true, whoooa/I’ll call it desperation, can’t you see it in my eyes?/That I want be with you until the sun falls from the sky.

14. Lost Without Each Other. This one’s for anyone whose ever been in love and had a fight with their significant other. And the video was amazing. Are you listening? “Don’t go telling me we’re over /When you know you’re my one and only lover /And I won’t go saying that we’re OK when we’re /Lost without each other.” 

15. Lost Without You. I haven’t heard this one live yet – for some reason they never played it on the Anthem tour shows I went to. I love the lyrics, the harmonies and the soaring chorus – definitely one of the best songs off Anthem. “I’m gonna take this moment and chase this fear right out of me.”

16. Thinking ‘Bout Somthin’. This one instantly puts you in a good mood and makes you want to get up and dance. It’s a throwback sound that was the perfect lead off single to Shout It Out. It got some national attention when a DJ in Chicago played it but didn’t tell people who it was and the song became one of the most requested. I tried to learn the dance but failed 🙁 We still had fun with it at our wedding reception though. Look for Weird Al in the video! “Well I’ve got girls in line/waiting for these arms of mine/Listen up to what I say.”

16. In the City. This is as close to a headbanger as you’ll get with Hanson. It fantastic live – usually closes out the set and just when you think you have nothing left to give, you find yourself jumping up and down and screaming along with Taylor as he sings about a man scorned by his lover. “I’m gonna ask you once again, do you love me?”

18. Tonight. This is another one that’s really special for the fans – there are several other songs referenced in the lyrics and if you’re a casual listener, you won’t pick up on that. Can’t go wrong with a beautifully written, mid-tempo piano ballad. I also love that they alternate lead vocals. “Chase down the dream and don’t give up without a fight.”

19. For Your Love. This one’s another tear-jerker. I played it at my wedding and would have used it as a first dance if Hanson hadn’t been vetoed by my husband. Isaac ballads can sometimes be mopey but this one is perfect. “I would tear down any wall/ And for your love/ I’ll turn my back on this world/ For your love/ Every treasure I’d deny myself/ For your love, I’m fighting.”

20. These Walls. This song came out at a time when I was having a hard time finding a job and the lyrics really represented how I felt about my life at the time. I’m not in that place anymore but it’s still one of my favorites from Shout it Out. “The sky is falling all over again/Just another day’s conclusion/Another disillusion/The sky is falling all over again/Am I losing my composure? Way too much exposure to compromise/I can’t take on these walls.”

21. Give A Little. So infectious. The horns, the dancing. One of the best songs off Shout It Out. “Give a little heart and soul.”

22. Penny & Me. A breezy, fun summer song that came four years after their second album. We were beginning to think we might never get another album from the band but they finally broke free of their record label and gave us this triumphant return to #1 on the indie charts. It’s the perfect driving around town with your windows down song. “Turn the radio up, push the pedal to the ground.”

23. Hope It Comes Soon. This song is never not relevant. Off the Take the Walk EP.  “Feels like change is coming, well I hope it comes soon.” 


24. On the Road. This song was off the 2014 Fan Club member CD and it has such a rootsy, different feel for the band and I really dug it. I think they should make more songs like this. Unfortunately there aren’t many high quality videos on Youtube – just fast forward the first minute and a half to get to the song unless you want to see Zac acting silly. “And there is no destination but the journey you are on, on the road.”

25. Mmmbop. I toyed with this one because it seemed so cliche. And I’m pretty tired of hearing it live, although I still get excited when they play it. But it was the track that introduced me to the band, so it deserves a spot in the top 25. Also, the lyrics still hit home. “Hold on to the ones who really care, in the end they’ll be the only ones there.”


Favorite Albums of All Time, Pt. 1

I love music and I like to think I have a pretty wide variety of genres that I listen to.  If you scroll through some of the artists on my iPod, you’ll find everything from The Beatles, Eminem, Metallica and New Kids on the Block to Flogging Molly, Garth Brooks and Mumford and Sons.

I’m not a music expert or critic by any means, but if a song or artist makes me feel something – if I can connect to the words or music in the song in a certain way, then to me, that’s what makes great music. It’s not so much about slick production or perfect vocals, but about what makes me feel some sort of emotion. Some songs bring tears to my eyes, others make me feel happy. Some remind me of where I’ve been at in life and others just make me want to dance and have fun.

Since music means so much to me,  I decided to post a list of some of my favorite albums of all time. It’s probably going to be pretty long and since new albums come out every day, this will definitely be an ongoing project. Most of these albums won’t make the critics lists but that doesn’t bother me.  To me, they don’t need a critic’s seal of approval – I think they’re great and that’s all that matters.

Ready? Here’s the first 10 on my list (side note: these are in no particular order – I would probably have a very hard time ranking them in any sort of order):


Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

Alanis put to music all the angst-filled emotions of a woman scorned and millions thanked her for it. She said what all of us have wanted to say to the jerks in our lives and she rocked hard while doing it.

Favorite Songs: You Oughta Know, Right Through You, All I Really Want


The Dixie Chicks – Fly

Natalie Maines and company brought a little pop, bluegrass and folk to country radio and paved the way for today’s country-pop crossover superstars. It’s very rare that you will find an album where every song is good, but this is one of them.

Favorite Songs: Cowboy Take Me Away, Let Him Fly, Without You


Hanson – The Walk

Inspired by a trip to an African orphanage, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson crafted an album full of uplifting tunes and messages of hope. Most people only know them as the trio that gave us “Mmmbop” back in 1997, but this is the album that proves the band’s artistry and musicianship.

Favorite Songs: Great Divide, Been There Before, Tearing it Down, Watch Over Me 


Fallen – Evanescence

Rock and roll never sounded so pretty. Amy Lee and her band Evanescence stormed on to the mainstream music scene in a huge way back in 2002. Her gorgeous opera-esque vocals set to piano driven goth-rock earned the band a Best New Artist Grammy and 17 million albums sold world-wide. But when your debut album exceeds perfection, there’s really no place to go from there but down. Two follow-up albums later, the band is still making excellent music, but nothing will ever top Fallen.

Favorite Songs:  Going Under, Whisper, My Immortal, Imaginary 


Jars of Clay – Jars of Clay

Christian music doesn’t normally cross-over to mainstream pop, but Jars of Clay’s song Flood became one of the biggest crossover hits EVER for a Christian artist. Their first album was their best – mixing an acoustic, organic rock sound with deeply spiritual lyrics. Nothing else they’ve released since then has sounded quite like this gem.

Favorite songs: Love Song for a Savior, Flood, Boy on a String, Liquid


Bad – Michael Jackson

When something that was put out over 25 years ago still sounds catchy and current, it definitely deserves a spot on my list. Not to mention the five #1 songs the album produced – the first time that had ever happened in music history. Bad contains some of the best and most infections pop songs to date. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Michael Jackson was and always will be the “King of Pop.”

Favorite Songs: The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, Smooth Criminal


No Doubt – Return of Saturn

Gwen Stefani is the ultimate cool chick. She’s not the best singer around, but her voice is clearly recognizable and sometimes that’s all you need. Return of Saturn, the follow-up to the über successful Tragic Kingdom, didn’t leave my CD player for months.  Even now, 12 years later, I can still relate to some of the lyrics – maybe even more so than I did at the age of 17.

Favorite Songs: Simple Kind of Life, New, Ex-Girlfriend, Artificial Sweetener


The Moffatts – Submodalities

Canada’s answer to Hanson, the Moffatts, went a decidedly darker direction on their second album and enlisted Metallica producer Bob Rock to give it some edge. The result? Anthematic, fist-pumping rock songs you want to crank in your car and sing along to at the top of your lungs. It’s a shame no one in America really knew who these guys were because they put out some pretty awesome tunes in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Favorite Songs: Bang, Bang, Boom, Typical, I Don’t Want You to Want Me


Adele – 21

The unbelievable voice. The emotion in the songs. The fact that your heart breaks over and over for this girl each and every time you hear Someone Like You.  Most of us have been there at some point in our lives too and that’s why so many people identify with Adele’s music. This is the album you listen to before you hit the Alanis stage. The first time I listened to 21, it moved me to tears and still does two years later.

Favorite Songs: Rolling in the Deep, Turning Tables, He Won’t Go, Someone Like You


Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers – Self Titled

Part country, part rock and roll, SK6ERS never really hit it big. Chances are you’ve never heard of them, but they’ve put out some of the best Americana rock of the past decade. The songs, mostly penned by Stephen Kellogg himself, are lyric driven and usually autobiographical. Energetic and upbeat – perfect for listening to on a sunny day driving around town.

Favorite Songs: Anthem of Our Discovery, My Sweet Charade, Star the Day Early, Vegas, You’ve Changed