I am physically unable to shake “MMMBop” out of my head. With its scratch-crazy Dust Brothers grooves, inane lyrics, and pip-squeaky harmonies, this song would do equally well selling soda pop or torturing prisoners. I practically have to peel myself off the ceiling every time I hear it. I haven’t had it this bad since MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” While the Hammer is now selling phones, the Hansons—Isaac, Taylor, and Zachary, aged 16, 13, and 11, respectively—seem perched for a bigger calling. Reared on their father’s collection of Time Life ’60s-soul compilations, they make music that remains impervious to little-boy temptations like indie pop, new-school rap, and bpm-happy techno. Besides, until puberty hits, the Hansons’ voices are more suited to Motown. The lads’ same-gene harmonies, stratospheric vocals, and sunny dispositions will win them obvious comparisons to the early Jackson 5. “Lucy,” a Michael-singing-to-his-Ben track, is pure puppy love American-style. In fact, most of Middle of Nowhere is about unrequited baby love. But it’s hard to take a 13-year-old Breck Girl backed by his pansexual brothers singing about the one that got away very seriously. Which is precisely why this album is so much fun. Who else would rhyme “Milwaukee” with “walkie-talkie”? The Hanson boys are completely angst-free. In a world filled with guitar-smashing and heroin chic, the Hansons are temperamental anomalies. So what if their album is instant diabetes? Give me some sugar, baby.

—Catherine Alter