Release Date: July 24, 2007
In anticipation of next week’s release of Anthem, I wanted to go back and re-visit my favorite Hanson album, The Walk. Following a successful (if slightly mellow) outing on 2004’s Underneath, the band removed all the speed bumps to create a timeless record, securing the place amongst the greatest rock bands on the business today. It’s a shame that too few people ever actually heard it.
The album opens with the DD Dliwayo School Choir chanting “Ngi Ne Themba (I Have Hope)” leading into the first single, “Great Divide” which features the choir as well. The inclusion of the choir was intended to help raise awareness of the band’s charity work. Sales from the “Great Divide” single went to the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto, South Africa. Not that this was a one-time only event, you can still partner with the band to support their giving on the Take the Walk website.
Middle brother Taylor brings his power vocals and personal fervor strongest on “Georgia” which cleverly wordplays the Ray Charles classic. While the entire record is very radio-friendly, this may be the most consumable track for the casual listener. The children’s choir returns alongside trio vocals on the Taylor-led deep cut “Blue Sky“.
This album seems to have a wealth of lead vocals by youngest brother/drummer Zac – and shows him to be (arguable) the best vocalist of the bunch. His “Running Man” is one of the few low points on the album and provides a crystal ball glance into the future of the band’s direction. This mis-step is easily forgivable, though, when followed by the breakthrough performance of “Go“. This song is easily my favorite of anything that they’ve done and may be an all-time favorite of any artist in my collection.
Eldest, Isaac, has a few starring moments on the record as well. Another favorite throughout the band’s entire catalog occurs with him at the helm. “Watch Over Me” succeeds due to his steady, lower range that his siblings lack. He is also able to provide a tempered growl in the tag.
With 17 tracks on the extended edition (only $9.49 from AmazonMP3) the value proposition alone makes this a great record. Recently, my friend Dan and I were discussing whether or not a band can “peak.” I said, you just never know when a band is going to come back with a great record unexpectedly (and I cited Green Day‘s American Idiot) as an example. In my mind, this album is the high point of their collection, but I certainly hope to see them surpass it in the future.