The sound of this song is exactly what I would expect from an EP titled White Rabbit, and that makes it a great opening track. My only complaint about this song is that I love me a good Hanson bridge, and there isn’t one in this song, which means it also feels like it abruptly ends as it’s about to take off (much like “Fearless” from Against The World). But I love how the instrumentation has a psychedelic sound that sends me right down the rabbit hole…
I’m a big Enneagram nerd (and a 9w1, but this isn’t about me). I’ve found myself in many conversations with friends trying to decipher what Enneagram we think each Hanson is. I had landed on Isaac being a 4w3, Taylor being a 3w2, and Zac being a 5w4. Last fall, I re-read the book The Road Back To You and started thinking Isaac would enjoy it, as at the time he had been sharing some other “self-help”/psychology type books on Instagram. At the October 2021 shows at Cain’s, I brought him a copy. He immediately started laughing and said he had been wanting to read it, had just purchased the audio book, but was wanting a hard copy to follow along with. So, naturally, I asked him what Enneagram he and his brothers are, and dang it I was so close: Isaac is a 2w3, Taylor is a 3w4, and Zac is a 5w6.
So, what does this have to do with “Strange World”? Well, first, Zac is a Five and this is a Zac song. And:
Fives want to find out why things are the way they are. They want to understand how the world works, whether it is the cosmos, the microscopic world, the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdoms—or the inner world of their imaginations. They are always searching, asking questions, and delving into things in depth. They do not accept received opinions and doctrines, feeling a strong need to test the truth of most assumptions for themselves.-The Enneagram institute
We see this playing out in the lyrics of “Strange World”. After all, “so much we know for sure is just what we comprehend.” Second, as soon as I heard this song it reminded me of another song, but one not by Hanson. The artist Sleeping At Last did a whole series on the Enneagram, writing a song for each number with an accompanying podcast where he did a deep dive into each type and how he created the song. And there’s something about “Strange World” that reminds me of his song “Five“. In “Strange World”, we see a character trying to understand how the world around him works and it’s summed up in my
Favorite Lyric: “Two eyes to see, but what we perceive is rarely what it was. And so, to me, it’s just a strange world.”
EP Ranking: 1st Place
“Trembling” is a fun power-pop song. I’ve read some comments from other fans that say they think it sounds like Tinted Windows, but I don’t quite hear it. To me, it’s reminiscent of “Miss You Like Crazy” or “Somebody Who Wants To Love You” from past members’ EPs. This song is pretty straight-forward, so I’ll spare you the rabbit hole this time. But, you can be sure I’ll be blasting this in my car over the next several months.
Favorite Lyric: “I know that you’ve been afraid, but you know I would give it all away.”
EP Ranking: 4th Place
“Happy” is a fun song that I can’t help but dance to. If it wasn’t a members’ only track, I’d be tempted to make a trending TikTok dance out if it (as if I have that kind of influence). My first impression of this song is that it sounds like it belongs on a commercial, but I didn’t have any specific product in mind. I’d love to hear your suggestions! It’s another one I’ll be pumping in my car this summer, and I’m looking forward to putting it on some work out playlists as well.
Favorite Lyric: “Walking down the street I can feel the sweet rhythm of life.”
EP Ranking: 3rd Place
I remember hearing “Your Eyes” in Jamaica both in 2020 and in 2022. It’s a beautiful love song that sounds like any other Isaac love song until you get to the plot twist bridge: “I’ll grow old and you will find another who sees in your eyes what I saw in your mothers”. I guess I can’t say for certain that this song is not about either of Isaac’s sons, but I’m wondering what made Odette think she didn’t have a song written for her until “Write You A Song”. All in all, this song is Isaac doing what Isaac does: pulling on the heartstrings with a sentimental love song, even if the subject isn’t what we think it is at first.
Favorite Lyric: “I’ll always need your smile, some things never change.”
EP Ranking: 5th Place
I’ve noticed a trend with Taylor: he loves to talk about climbing and building ladders (“Climb”, “Reaching For The Sky”, that commencement speech he gave at TU, etc)…. Enneagram 3 much? As someone who has recently gotten into hiking, I really appreciate the literal translation of this song as much as the metaphor. The lyric “to the outside you’re small, you’ve been racing to get tall, but I know one day you’ll reach the peaks I never saw” makes me think he wrote this song with at least one of his kids in mind. While I do like this song a lot, I don’t think any EP or album closer will ever top the best EP closer of all time, “All I Know”. And it’s just a little too Miley for me to put it in 1st place on White Rabbit.
Favorite Lyric: “From the high seat, they’re all breathtaking valleys. But I still long for the finite days down there.”
EP Ranking: 2nd Place
These five songs have the variety I look forward to in a Hanson Fan Club EP: Poignant (“Climb”), experimental (“Strange World”), fun (“Happy”, “Trembling”), and sentimental (“Your Eyes”). I haven’t heard many people talk about this EP and I think it might get lost in discography having been released so close to Red Green Blue. And we didn’t get to hear it live at Hanson Day (more on that in my HDay blog), so I worry that these songs will be swept away into the vault much like CBIB. But, here’s hoping I’m wrong.
I made this list of first impressions on my phone during the listening party.