March 8, Jonas Brothers by Jonas Brothers
Genre: What Disney Chennel circa 2007 considers to be “rock.”
Total Number of Tracks: 14, (12 original tracks, plus a cover of “Year 3000” which was first recorded by British group Busted, and “Kids of the Future” which is just a re-written version of “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde.)
Songs you might know:
– “Hold On”
_ “When You Look Me in the Eyes”
– “Year 3000”
– “Kids of the Future”
*Just kidding. It was 2007.
My prior relationship with the album: As I’ve said in some other blog posts of Disney Channel albums from this era, I never really gave most of these albums a fair shake the first time around. I certainly remember hearing the singles as a teenager, and I remember the cultural craze that surrounded the Jonas Brothers at the time, but I don’t think I ever listened to this album beginning to end back in the day. While I never detested Jonas Brothers music the way I detested say, Hannah Montana songs, they got lumped in that same crowd. It’ll be interesting to see if the album pleasantly surprises me or not, now that I’ve grown up a bit.
My impression this time around: I WANT to like this album more than I do. There’s certainly some catchy hooks here and there and on a cursory glance, it’s incredibly similar to other mid ’00s pop punk albums I thoroughly enjoyed. I also admire the Jonas Brothers for doing so much of their own writing at such a young age, and that makes it harder to be hard on them. But here we go.
One of the core issues going on here is that you can tell the Jonas Brothers themselves wanted this to be a true rock album, but the fact that they were part of the Disney Channel machine meant that the album had to be sanitized in a way that rock music shouldn’t be. The majority of these songs are angsty, upbeat rock songs, but they lack the grittiness and raw anger of other angsty, upbeat rock songs of 2007, of which there was some stiff competition. I’ve also never liked the way Nick Jonas’s voice sounds when he tries too hard to do that nasally, raspy “rock voice” as he did on vintage JoBro albums. The pop/R&B sound he found later in his career is a far better fit.
The album also suffers from a lack of variety. While none of those Disney-fied pop punk tracks are straight up terrible on their own, there’s nothing really separating one from the rest. I can’t help but think I could really like this album in short bursts, say if I were to shuffle these songs into the rest of my library and enjoy them as they came on. But when listened to together as a group, the songs weaken each other more than they strengthen each other. Their appalling genericness becomes evident in a way it never would be when listening to one song at a time. While we do get some well-timed sappy ballads that keep the album from becoming even more predictable and monotonous, these well-timed sappy ballads are still in the same “passable but meh” category.
What IS interesting to me is that I do have a soft spot for the couple songs I remember from 2007. At the time, I thought “Year 3000” was hella stupid, but when it comes on now I can’t help but think “damn, it’s catchy” and a smile takes over my face whether I intended it to or not.
“S.O.S” holds a special place in my heart too, even though there’s some cringy lyrics like
Next time I see you, I’m giving you a high-five…Cause hugs are overrated, just FYI
This leads me to believe that if I HAD listened to this album more when I was younger, the other songs would carry a lot of that same nostalgic appeal. Unfortunately if you try to listen to this for the first time as an adult, I’m not sure it holds up.
Who would enjoy it? I think if you were on the JoBros bandwagon in the late ’00s, you will always be able to return to this album and be glad you did. Otherwise, I’m not sure it’s worth your time. There’s so many other angsty rock albums I’d recommend before I recommend this, and unfortunately there’s not much else this album is offering.