Friday, September 9, 2011

Hanson - "MMMBop" (1997)

So, there are six verses in this song but none of them have the same structure. I guess it's the old soul music method of using lyrical text to vamp over a chord pattern and take the song in different directions; what's shocking about this song is how much these kids do it from beginning to end, though, and how brilliantly they pull it off throughout.

First two verses have four lines of text happening in four bars, and then four bars more in which to vamp on the last line. The second verse not only has a different, rising melodic part in the last two lines but also a delightful rhythmic delay that carries the last line further as part of the surge toward the chorus. Vocal harmonies add to the intensity.

The third verse adds four measures of vibing ("Said 'Oh, yeah'/In an mmmbop, you're gone") as a little buildup before it even starts, distancing it a little bit from the potency of the chorus that precedes it. Amazingly, what they do then is push the envelope of the second verse even further by starting the melodic rise earlier, this time on the second line. When this, in turn, pushes the third line even higher than it had been in the second verse, we're into some real Jackson Five territory.

Verses four and five replicate the pattern of one and two, with the second verse ramped up higher than the first. This time, though, it's all vamping on refrain lines until, in the extended fifth verse, Isaac Hanson takes over on the lead vocal part - just like Jermaine used to do!

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