Thursday, January 12, 2006

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #9 - I Will Come To You by Hanson

Alyson: One of the things that annoys me is people who say Pop is meaningless, and isn't capable of passion - it's a hoary old chestnut, as if the directness of a lyric wrapped in a tune is somehow something to be ashamed of. So far though, Claire and I haven't really looked at Pop ballads, which are deceptively easy to screw up. Britney Spears early albums, I'm looking at you. Whether it's flat vocals, or dispassionate performances, the Pop ballad often goes horribly, horribly wrong, and is the most skipped track on the CD. I would hope this song, though, gets a fair airing everytime "Middle Of Nowhere" gets a spin.

Hanson as you know by now found the excessive joy and heart stopping brilliance of Mmmbop a bit of a millstone - they were proper musicians, dammit. So following on from Mmmbop, ridiculously daft and catchy, and the slightly lesser follow up Where's The Love, they brought out probably 1997s finest ballad, possibly my favourite song of that year, I Will Come To You. I don't think Hanson had fully crossed into my brain other than my Dad Aussie Kev saying "Are they girls" and thinking he was a hilarious, original human being. The first time I heard this song, I was in a shopping centre on the Gold Coast, and I literally stopped dead, in the middle of the shopping centre to listen, lost to anyone else, in my own world. And if THAT isn't the sign of an amazing Pop song, I don't know what is.

What is there to say? It's an epic frankly. It could have been horrendous - an awful mess, a band stretching beyond their limits - but it never once feels like that. Taylors vocal belies his age, given it could easily have been ridiculous, but his harmonising with Isaac works wonderfully well. The lyrics could have been pure schmaltz, but they aren't. The fact they mean, and believe (some would say at that age naively, but I would scoff at this) every word they sing makes this a very special song. It's as much a song for each other as a song for the wider world, but it's shot through with a very special kind of emotion: I'd say that to me "Angels" for instance sounds flat, lifeless, and I will never connect with it as I do this song. There's not a lot to praise in terms of clever technologically, no jaunty tune to analyse - it's all very straightforward - it's a brilliant, powerful pop ballad in which not a single second is wasted.

It's fair to say this song means SO much to me, personally - it's a song on this list I'm proud to write about, but I have to be kind of vague. Some songs on this song have an obvious brilliance, this one, I can't properly find the words to express what it means to me. It means that my friends are always going to be there for me. It means I will be there for them. It's in my brain, and it's in my heart. It's a song that might just be mine, maybe I'm the only person in the world who thinks this should be on this list - but what is the point of music if it doesn't make you feel like that? And this song will always make me feel somehow safer and more secure.

And they say Pop can't mean anything....

Claire: I used to, shoot me down in flames, find this song ridiculously OTT. Maybe it was selfish of me to expect MMMBop (of which more shortly) every time, but I used to find it a bit silly Hanson were attempting a pop power ballad - that isn't snobbery, but I couldn't reconcile those ickle kiddies producing anything other than silly novelty hits. Wrapped up in Spice, and dismissive of the kiddie rock, what could HANSON possibly produce, I would sneer. Something as good as Spice? I frankly missed what the appeal was. At the time.

In actual fact, I've come to realise I was horrendously, awfully wrong, because burned through Hansons desire to be proper musicians, they produced one hell of a power ballad. The power of the whole thing is pretty amazing, with even Isaac stepping up to the vocal plate - I'd say it does at times ALMOST stray into a mess, but any time I've heard it, it plays to Hansons melodic strengths. To think they fretted about being proper musicians...

There is no irony in saying it's powerful, and beautiful. But this is Alysons song, and it always will be. Nothing I can say can capture it as well as she puts it.


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