March 7, A Little Bit Longer by Jonas Brothers
Total Number of Tracks: 12
Songs you might know:
– “Burnin’ Up”
My prior relationship with the album: I remember listening to this full album when it first came out, which is more than I can say about their self-titled album. I even remember some specific songs outside of the main singles, namely “BB Good.” If I had a “favorite” Jonas Brothers album, it was this one. That’s evident by the fact that when the Jonas Brothers announced their 2019 reunion, this is the first album I felt the urge to listen to. All that said, A Little Bit Longer wasn’t really enough to turn me into a proper Jonas Brothers fan either. Was that just my teenage self being stubborn, or does it actually say something meaningful about the album’s quality? We’re about to find out!
My impression this time around: I actually like this album far more than I like the self-titled Jonas Brothers album, which is odd because they really don’t sound all that different from one another. If you recall my review of that album, you remember that I found it to be overly sanitized rock music and the songs were a little too similar to one another. Much like that album, A Little Bit Longer features dudes with electric guitars whining about girls. They are not allowed to swear, but it certainly feels like they want to, (Get some class and kiss the past? Really?)
So why does A Little Bit Longer feel like it’s miles ahead of that album? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure but I’m going to try and explain it anyway. First and foremost, the emotion of of this album just feels more real. It’s the difference between writing about feelings you’ve experienced firsthand and writing about feelings based on other songs you’ve heard about them. A Little Bit Longer has several fantastic sad rock songs, notably “Shelf” and “Tonight.” Neither is angry or aggressive the way many songs on that self-titled album come off. Instead, they’re just… sad.
Yet the Jonas Brothers don’t reach for the overly predictable quiet ballad to express that sadness. In fact, “Tonight” arguably has the most upbeat energy of any song. “Pushin’ Me Away” is another favorite for many of the same reasons, despite leaning more towards the anger/aggression side of the spectrum. We also get songs like “Lovebug” and “A Little Bit Longer,” both of which incorporate quiet, vulnerable sounds and heavier rock sounds into a single track. All of this serves to make A Little Bit Longer interesting and original even though it certainly doesn’t sound interesting or original on the first listen.
I also love how A Little Bit Longer has some surprisingly good guitar solos/lead riffs. You might expect this to be an album of four chords over and over again, and to a large extent it is. But we also get some proper solos in “BB Good,” “Video Girl,” “Got Me Goin’ Crazy,” plus the intro for “Shelf.” That more melodic work with the guitar helps give each of these songs a distinct identity even though they’re all still pretty similar to one another.
Who would enjoy it? I actually think fans of rock music who previously wrote off the Jonas Brothers as just another boyband would be pleasantly surprised by A Little Bit Longer. I would also recommend it to pop fans that place a higher emphasis on emotional lyrics than they are with inventive production or a beat you can easily dance to.