Lots of love songs and relational optimism. The Hanson brothers talk of romantic devotion growing deeper each day(“Day Has Come”), long-term commitment despite an uncertain future (“River”), a “blessed” love passed down through generations (“Stories”), and consistent, enduring affection (“Surely As the Sun”). With Billy Joel-style lead vocals, the singer on “Sometimes” humbly admits that, despite an obsession with being right, he’s “wrong most of the time.” “Two Tears” apologizes for wronging a partner. Fans are reminded to invest in people, realizing that few friendships will endure (an earlier mix of the hit “MMMBop”).
For listeners unfamiliar with the story behind the song, “With You in Your Dreams” could be interpreted as sanctioning teen sex (“If I’m gone when you wake up, please don’t cry”). In fact, the song was written from the perspective of the boys’ grandmother speaking about her own passing.
As a follow-up to their smash hit Middle of Nowhere, Hanson repackaged these rough demos, which they say were recorded “in late ’95 . . . in a garage somewhere in Tulsa.” A few songs resurface from Hanson’s first disc, but the rest are new, upbeat and equally praiseworthy.