The Genius of "Mmmbop"

OR: You still let other people influence your decisions.

“Mmmbop,” the 1997 pop-hit by preteen wonder brothers Hanson, is objectively a great song. I rediscovered this musical apogee while listening to a “90s Throwback Playlist” recommended to me by Siri.

In “Mmmbop,” the usual array of power chords characteristic to pop music is leveled up by the strangely mature, thoughtful lyrics. A layered harmony takes advantage of the smoothly hit, high-pitched notes. The song accomplishes what pop songs should: it makes you feel good.

It also made me think back to 1997, early in my middle-school years, when it would have been social suicide to admit liking the song. Because of the time lapse, I can’t discern if my displeasure existed because I found it harsh on the ears or because I was culturally inclined, from the low self-esteem of my peers, to find long-haired boy rockers gross.

Likely, it was a little of both. Showing my affection for “Mmmbop” would have caused unnecessary suffering in the form of teasing and bullying. Or would it? If I had not cared what others thought about my musical tastes, would I still have not enjoyed playing it on repeat again and again as I have done lately?

Sadly, as adults, we choose jobs we find unsatisfying and do work that drains our souls for similar reasons. We care what other people think. We can’t be ourselves because of some social stigma that doesn’t actually exist. We know money doesn’t buy us happiness, but we fall for the trap anyway. We tell ourselves lies that are incompatible with our values. 

We’re building Sobol to help teams and organizations change their thinking around “work.” We hope many more people can be as fortunate as us and find the life-changing sweet spot in the Venn diagram between passion, learning, and importance. We believe with a few tweaks of how people view a “job,” self-managed teams can become the norm. A movement that goes beyond buzzwords and allows people to find fulfillment in their day-to-day. We’re saddened to witness people fail to convince themselves that the work they’re doing is “fulfilling,” somehow important, or “good experience.”

This is tragic given our one, short life. As the Hanson brothers wisely sing, referring to friends, money, jobs, lives, “In an mmmbop they’re gone. In an mmmbop they’re not there.”

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