Middle of Everywhere: The Greatest Hits

by: Hanson

Mercury released a Hanson compilation as part of their 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection series in 2006, but that collection naturally stopped its overview in 2000, when the trio left the Universal Music universe. Hanson didn't fade away in the 21st century, they kept making new albums on a regular basis, releasing four albums between 2004 and 2013. Middle of Everywhere: The Greatest Hits doesn't ignore these records because it's designed as a celebration of the band's 25th anniversary. Cleverly, it runs 26 tracks -- a song for every one of their years, plus one to grow on -- and samples their six proper albums rather evenly, adding a good new song, "I Was Born," for good measure. What this compilation showcases is a smart, tuneful guitar band who always knew how to blend power pop, soul, and oldies, and who have only refined their craft over time. If the earliest hits still retain a youthful effervescence, what's more impressive about Middle of Everywhere is how it shows that Hanson aged into the template essayed on 1997's Middle of Nowhere, becoming a skilled and confident pop combo that can endure a quarter-century and maybe more. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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