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Does Hanson still walk ‘The Walk’?
The Duquesne Duke

If you could resurrect one fad from the 1990s, what would it be? The Macarena? Grunge flannel and worn-out jeans? Beanie babies?

Would Reebok pumps return to the scene?

Hanson, the popular ‘90s boy band, known for its three long-haired members and their big 1997 hit “MmmBop,” is trying to make that comeback with its current “The Walk” tour.

Thank goodness it’s not ‘90s-style overalls.

Tonight at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall, Hanson will be performing songs from their latest CD, The Walk. Out of 40 dates, Pittsburgh will be the eighth stop in Hanson’s most recent tour.

For those who haven’t thought about the three crooning cuties since puberty, Isaac Hanson, the oldest of the brothers, explained there is “no question that the band has evolved and grown up a lot” since its “MmmBop” days.

The music still maintains a lot of familiar qualities, Hanson said, but the newest CD is “more groove-oriented” and shows the band’s more aggressive side.

Not only is Hanson’s music less “bubble gum,” but the group itself is fighting for a pretty grown-up cause.

After a recent trip to Mozambique, Africa, the Hanson brothers decided “to do something tangible with [their] tour to further make fans aware of what [they’re] passionate about,” Hanson said.

The group partnered with TOMS shoes in an effort to fight the poverty and AIDS epidemic the brothers saw on their Africa visit. At every stop of Hanson’s tour, TOMS shoes will be selling footwear to concertgoers. And with every pair purchased, TOMS shoes will send a pair of shoes to a child in Africa.

“It’s just one step in the right direction,” said Hanson about the partnership. “No pun intended.”

The Hanson brothers also incorporated African influences into their recent album. The Walk includes several tracks that feature actual recordings of an African children’s choir. (Much like performers Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel, who rejuvenated their careers by borrowing African musical styles and techniques.)

Hanson got chills when he first heard the children sing. “I was struck by the amount of hope despite their circumstances of extreme need,” he said.

The consistent theme of the CD is “searching for hope in difficult circumstances,” Hanson explained.

To make even more of an impact, each day they have a scheduled show, the three Hanson brothers take a one-mile walk around each of the concert venues with their fans.

“We like to get out there with fans and talk to them and tell them what we’re passionate about,” Hanson said. “We want to encourage action, not just awareness.”

During the past few years, the Oklahoma natives have produced a few albums, including This Time Around and 2004’s Underneath. But with its newest effort, the group broke off from its long-time major label to co-produce The Walk.

And much to their female fans’ disappointment, all three of the Hanson brothers have married since their last commercial success.

“If you liked Hanson in 1997, you’ll still like how we play,” Hanson said, reassuring die-hard Hanson fans. “And if you think you don’t like Hanson, well, we’re willing to bet that you’ll be proved wrong.”