First off; yes, that voice belongs to a guy. How anyone that has anything to do with an Adam’s apple is able to create such a high falsetto is beyond me. But "Son" is blissful, poignant and really sweet like your favorite My Little Pony (I call "Buttercup!").
The first song, "Hiding Behind The Moon," is an absolute stunner akin to Elliott Smith's best, in the heyday of his heroin addiction (will someone get that guy a clean needle already? He hasn't recorded a great album since he boringly kicked the habit). In fact, it's no coincidence that Hanson is also signed to Smith's old label, Kill Rock Stars. The record execs at said label were obviously so pleased with Hanson's sound that they signed him off an unsolicited demo sent to them in the mail. Which means that they'll be really sad when Hanson ditches them in...say...about two more albums for more money with Dreamworks. Sorry, guys. Speilberg always gets what he wants.
But in contrast, Elliott Smith's music exhumes pure desperation and despair while Hanson's emits a feeling of hope, something of a positive nature, despite the seriousness of his sound. And while their styles are comparable, as mentioned, Smith's Layne Staley Shtick gets too overwrought at times. And Hanson's very appropriate cover artwork of a picture obscured by the sunlight spells out the very basic difference. This is a very sunny album.
Indeed, this is the "Son" you never had. Yes, a song like "The End of Everything Known" will make you feel that related to music.
Besides, you'll feel so much cooler when everyone else jumps on Hanson’s bandwagon after he performs his hit song from a Gus Van Sant film at the Grammy's with Celine Dion.
[ I always try to listen to an album as I write about it--which I'm doing right now--and I just have to say that I feel really weird thinking about how hot this singer must be...and then realizing it's a guy. I haven't been this confused since the time I saw that crazy plot twist in Disney's The Emperor's New Groove. Is what they were saying was that the prince was a llama all along? But that's completely insane....]
Disclaimer: Jeff Hanson had nothing to do with "Mmmbop." Those kids look like girls, this guy sounds like a girl. There’s a big difference in the grand scheme of gender confusion.