Of course the very title ‘A Song A Day’, was supposed to signify the dawn of a new blogging experience for me, a rise above the mediocrity of self-promotion and YouTube links by giving me a regular slot on which to air my witticism and my metaphors for all to see. The thing is though, like Jim Davidson’s TV career, or flared trousers, some ideas can be too good to be true. I have the utmost respect for poor folk who blog unpaid on a daily basis, but for me it takes an idea so bright and realised to make me sit down, quill and parchment in hand and bash out some genius. Despite the loaded and lonely sexual overtones of the last sentence, I literally meant quill and parchment.
So, as noted, it takes inspiration to hit for my attention to turn to the written word. It can be anything – a solitary conker falling from a tree, chatter overheard on a bus, or in this case, all the way from 1997, when three brothers combined to make one of the greatest songs ever.
MMMBop. Say that word to anybody and watch the mechanics of their brain rattle and sizzle as they recollect that summer of ’97. It was the year of change. Tony Blair was being sworn in as Prime Ministe, the English football side produced one of their all-time great performances in Rome, and on June 1st, three brothers were celebrating as their self-penned effort hit #1 in the UK pop charts, displacing the eternal I Wanna Be The Only One, by, er, Eternal off the top spot.
As a seven year old child in that wonderful year, it was inspiring to see three kids – one of whom was near enough my age prove that age didn’t matter. Of course, while that ethos also applied to certain television personalities in the 60s, 70s and 80s, in that case it was one of nothing but purity.
It’s easy to say that though as a mere lad of seven. In a previous entry I noted that the first cassette tape I ever purchased, which was also in 1997, was the infamous No Way No Way by the Essex girl band Vanilla, so my music taste could be construed as sketchy at that time to say the least, but while I can only assume each Vanilla member is now either dead, doped up on Valium, or a checkout ‘girl’ in Asda, 15 years on from that wonderful June morning, Hanson are still recording music, still destroying the world one sweet melody at a time.
In fact, here’s a video of them playing their stand-out hit in front of an enormous Essex crowd at V Festival 2011.
If you look closely while watching the video, you can actually spot one of Vanilla whooping and hollering.
You might be reading this thinking “sure, I get that you like Hanson, but you have notoriously bad taste”, and you might be right, but don’t just take my word for it, take the guy from Glee s and listen to what he has to say:
Or how about two actors who appeared in The Hunger Games, which I’m led to believe is a terrible film?
Or what about international pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen, who seems to be half woman half fringe?
Or what about Thom Yorke the singer of the happy-go-lucky five-some Radiohead who mused:
“If you want to be entertained, go and see Hanson”
Or how about the man most famous for bringing back peroxide hair, Marshall Mathers, AKA soul star Eminem, who remarked:
“Why the *bleep* would I hate Hanson? They’re the only *bleeping* real band out there, I mean I don’t like that kind of music or anything, but they’re *bleeping* real”
Or how about the candle in the wind himself Elton John?
“Hanson…they play their own instruments, a lot of teeny bop acts don’t do that…. they’re different because they want to be a band…I hope they stay together and persevere..’cause I think they can write really good songs..and they are good guys”
Or what about the hat wearing, legend Jamiroquai?
“Ah, nice bunch of lads, totally different class, you see what I mean? Guys can sing. They can play. Good songs. They can all sing… got personality. “
Or what about the star of the average romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Sean ‘Puff Daddy P Diddy’ Combs?
“I think Hanson’s going to be around for a long time. I think that they’re three great talented young men and I think that what people need to stop doing to music is looking at the negative in everything.”
Or what about Aerosmith’s grandfather Steve Tyler?
“I hate it when people say that they don’t like ‘MMMBop.’ Everyone likes ‘MMMBop.’ Whether they like it or not, the song rocks.”
Or what about singer, actor, and homeless abuser Justin Timberlake?
“I think that… I honestly think that like Hanson just did something. Hanson…just did something and went to the edge with the pop market and then it kind of mellowed out.”
(A full list of glowing contributions to Hanson by other celebrities can be found by clicking here. And before you criticise the sad bastard who put them all together, you’re going to go and read them all and you know you are…)
If even Puff Daddy can’t convince you of the Hanson, perhaps a look into the lyrics will. Just one listen will make it seem like there isn’t a lot of worth in the lyrics, and that’s because of the sheer strength of the chorus, which simply goes:
“Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
A chorus that good will always stay in the brain more than the also exceptional verses However, if you delve a touch deeper into the song, and start really listening to what’s being sung (in perfect harmony might I add), you begin to build up an understanding of just what these guys are talking about.
“You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last
You go through all the pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast”
Is any part of that untrue? We do have a lot of relationships in life, not a lot of them last that long. Then, one day you have a meander back through the husk of your life, and you realise that everything is fleeting, every experience you’ve ever had, every kiss, every joke, and every journey. All happen. All go. And all eventually perish.
“So hold on the ones who really care
In the end they’ll be the only ones there
And when you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care?”
Put simply, people who are nice to you are the ones you should keep in your life. If someone is an arsehole, or shallow, or anything but a great person – then get rid of them. Sometimes I wonder if the only thing that matters in life is the experiences we have with other people. Forget work, and money, and football, and all those other aspects. At the end of the day, what define us is our relationships. As noted in the first line, you only have so many in this life. Don’t let the ones that define you be the ones involving those who don’t care about you at all. Define yourself with the person you want to take on the world with, rather than the one who wants to take from the world.
“Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those
Keep planting to find out which one grows
It’s a secret no one knows”
Try anything you can to live life to the fullest. Look in as many dimensions as you can, try and seize everything without taking it all. Keep trying at it, because nobody actually has much of a clue as to what constitutes a successful life, or a happy mind. It’s all purely trial and error. Look, you can analyse anything and you can pretend to find genius in anything, but seriously, just read those lyrics and think about how they relate to you. And then realise that the kids who wrote this song weren’t even old enough to drive a car. You’re telling me that’s not genius? In a world we live in now where all the radio plays is big beats, and endless rhymes of ‘girl’ and ‘world’, the purity and wisdom of these lyrics speak volumes – and that even includes the chorus.
When you think of those words, and the catchy, upbeat tune of the version that went to #1 in all those countries (including Austria) it goes against the reflective, almost mournful lyrics. It all made sense when I read that there was an original version of MMMBop, which was much slower and more contemplative than the breezy, guitar heavy version we all know and love.
Put simply, MMMBop is a perfect song, and one of best pieces of art ever created. It encapsulates a moment more gorgeously than any Polaroid. When I think back to the 90s, I think of the optimism of the times, tempered with the modern-day realisation that the truth is, we had it easy then. Cool Britannia, Blackburn Rovers as a footballing force, The Spice Girls, combat trousers as leisure wear, the curtains hairstyle, Um Bongo, Spyro The Dragon – all fresh and exciting at the time, but with the benefit (or lack of) of time, all looking like increasingly bad mistakes. That’s where a song like this works perfectly – it’s a look back at what could have been. Life lessons from the hospital bed.
But unlike those combat trousers, we have the chance to change before we adapt to our surroundings. Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose. Try anything. It’s the only way to break the cycle and the drudgery that surrounds us all at any given moment. Is it ridiculous that a simple pop song written by a bunch of kids with long flowing hair could have the answers to life? Some would say it’s ridiculous that the answer can be found in science, or in the bible, or in jazz, or philosophy, TOWIE or war. It’s a secret no-one knows, but it can’t hurt to try and find it out.