“He loves to keep you in suspense, but you know he just wants to dance”

Hanson have a new music video out, for Give A Little, the second single off last year’s Shout It Out. I’ve written extensively on the album previously, and regular readers would know that I love both it and Give A Little very much, although the second single is not in my absolute first-tier. However, it’s a good single choice, even if they wanted to build on the image created by lead single Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’. That song, hailed by Salon as ‘awsome’, and perfectly underscoring the legacy of old-school rock & roll that has always been an underreported running thread in Hanson’s output, actually was my number one favorite song of 2010. Sure, MMMBop was my #1 of 1997; If Only lead the field in 2000, and 2004’s Penny & Me bascially ended up as my favorite single of the aughts; but the point stands: Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’ is a truly excellent piece of music. What really excited me about the release of a new music video, though, was how the video for Somethin’ had actually managed to make it even more irresistible.

And Give A Little feels like an organic extension of that, musically as well as visually. Both songs rely heavily on a cheerful horn section to give the chorus the needed punch, and in the videos, those choruses are invariably met with ecstatic, unctrollable dancing (Let your body lose control!). Fortunately, I always react exactly that same way. While Give A Little may take a little time to pick up steam, once the chorus comes around, I just can’t keep myself from dancing along. In another nod to the special relationship between these two singles, we are even treated with another dose of the characteristic dance routine that looked so deliciously foolish in the Somethin’ video. Scenes with a crowd of people dancing their funky asses off has been a favorite of mine ever since the Twist & Shout segment in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (paraphrased in last year’s Easy A), and this one even has Hanson in the middle of it.

It’s almost like the optimism of that horn section shines through in the lyrics. Although they arrive there from differet angles, both songs are about guys who brim with self-confidence. In Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’ it’s the guy who’s been cheated who wants to show that she’s not the only one who’s kept her options open (I didn’t think you’d end it like this/’Cause the love I’ve got is better than what you gave/Well, I’ve got girls in line/Waiting for these arms of mine),  whereas in Give A Little, it’s about the art of simply making yourself seem irresistible (You gotta show her why she can’t resist/Make her blush now, you put your hands on her hips/She’s gonna keep on playing until you stop chasing/So wrap your arms around her body, tell her all she needs to know). Thematically, though, maybe the cynicism of Voice In The Chorus would have been a more natural fit for Somethin’, while Give A Little could easily have been matched with Kiss Me When You Come Home. It should be interesting to see where they go with this, if there is a third single.

But of course, the song isn’t the whole story of a Hanson music video, maybe not even the most important most important one. The more important question could be put thusly: Is it hot? Regular readers probably know more than they ever though they needed to know about my very longstanding crush on Zac Hanson, the little-drummer-boy-turned-hunky-artistic-force. I always love him in these videos, not least because he looks like he’s having so much fun doing them. Ever since the Middle of Nowhere days he’s been known as the goofy jokester of the three, and although he grew out of the adorable mascot image over the years, you can still see that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Here, he’s bouncing around sexily, as if he’s incarnating the two competing impulses of the song. He loves to keep you in suspense, but you know he just wants to dance…

That said, I’m not a big fan of facial hair, not even on Zac Hanson (1:08, 1:24).Sure, he still looks great in that suit, and he’s just so charming it doesn’t make that much of a difference to me, but I’ve definitely seen him look better. That hasn’t kept me from repeat viewings of the Give A Little, though, and if there’s a takeaway from any of this, it has to be that there are worse ways to spend your day than comparing Zac’s awesomeness in Give A Little vis-a-vis the Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’ video. Trust me; I just did.

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