Now, to bring this late 1990s nostalgia trip to an end, it is time to talk a bit about Hanson. When it comes to appealing to Finnish children/teenagers in the late 1990s Finland, Hanson probably scored even more successful hits than the Spice Girls. This was caused by the fact that both boys and girls could relate to these young brothers. Hanson's smash hit MMMBop held the #1 place on a popular Finnish music video chart show Jyrki Countdown for months.
Even though I spent more time listening to the Spice Girls I was surely impressed by Hanson's international breakthrough album Middle of Nowhere (1997). Brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zak Hanson wrote all their own songs, some of which in collaboration with other people. On the album there were obviously really catchy hits (MMMBop and Where's the Love were big ones) but I remember the more melancholic songs as well. Yearbook was really haunting, and now that I listen to Weird again, all I can say is these guys wrote some amazingly soulful music! Taylor Hanson did most of the lead vocals, and his work was impressive already back then. In addition, I Will Come to You is still stunning - a real classic.
It may be partially because of Hanson that I ended up preferring music played with actual rock band instruments to computer-programmed music. I haven't followed Zak, Taylor and Isaac's musical career much otherwise than Tinted Windows but I guess that is what happens. I loved these guys and I still do. However, in my personal experience Hanson was never quite as big as Spice Girls. In fact, probably the only reason Hanson weren't my #1 craze in the late 90s was that the Spice Girls were so huge.
In the early 2000s my whole musical focus moved from electronic dance pop to guitar-driven pop-rock music. The final breakthrough was year 2003 when I suddenly realized there was something irresistible about domestic artists such as Lemonator, Egotrippi, Jonna Tervomaa, and others. Next year I was already buying or borrowing CD's by Teenage Fanclub, the Posies, Jellyfish, Jason Falkner, Material Issue, Weezer, Supergrass and of course, the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson (SMiLE) and the Beatles. For some reason most of the music from the time of this big awakening had some kind of a connection to power pop, although I also appreciated other “alternative” contemporary music such as Radiohead and Muse (and I still do). The rest is, you might say, history.