Release Date: May 12th 2023
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Montana Sky
- Sail Away
- Waffle House
- Vacation Eyes
- Summer In The Hamptons
- Summer Baby
- Little Bird
- Walls (feat. Jon Bellion)
In case you haven’t known by now, my preferred genre of music that I have always set above any other kind of music is Christian music. Christian pop, Christian rock, praise and worship… it’s what I have grown up with and it’s what keeps me grounded and secure in my faith in Jesus. Recently though, I’ve been diving deeper into other genres and God has spoken to me evidently in a plethora of other albums decidedly not overtly grounded in Jesus. Country music, for one, has resonated with me more than I think I would’ve envisioned, or even cared to admit (considering how I don’t live in America, and don’t relate to many of the ‘country cliches’ in some songs); yet iover the last few years- from 2020 onwards essentially; I’ve been actively wanting to step out further in my listening habits… knowing that God is speaking and that I could gain some different perspectives of the world we live in. which brings me to the Jonas Brothers and their latest album called The Album which released in May this year.
To tell you the truth, I’m not that much of the Jonas Brothers. They seemed to pop for me, and they seemed very, very cheesy. They were your typical ‘sibling teenage heartthrob boy band who were raised by pastors, when ventured out into the world for a mainstream career’- it was something that I didn’t want to listen to, because it had nothing to do with Jesus. But in 2021, as it was kind of my unofficial New Year’s resolution of sorts to listen to albums I wouldn’t normally listen to and to be stretched in my understanding of what a good song is… I bit the bullet and decided to listen to Nick Jonas’s Spaceman. And what I found was that the project was a somewhat musically busy yet equally haunting and thought-provoking album. Yes, I can say that now I am appreciating Spaceman for what it is. A solid pop album with plenty of lessons to be learned and plenty of relevant and relatable topics as well. Truth be told, I’m not that much of a fan of Nick Jonas even now… but I can see why someone would be. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, Spaceman is an unexpectedly good album, and reminds us that we need people, and we need connection now more than ever. Fast forward to now, and the follow up to Jonas Brothers’ 2019 comeback album Happiness Begins has released- so how does the Album stack up?
By expanding our creative vocabulary, we were able to open things up beyond the need for drama. We’re speaking about something that bears more weight than having a good time or life being awesome. There are some complex, dynamic themes in there. The world is such a dark and intense place. We like to bring positivity in where we can. It wasn’t an intentional feel-good record, but the fact it ended up there makes a lot of sense.
As a group and as a collective of individuals, messages of inclusion and accepting all people from all walks of life are really important to us. It’s [the song Americana] about celebrating what makes us who we are as well as certain figures who have helped shaped culture. It’s almost anti-politics because it’s about people who represent good in the world. Blue jeans and marijuana is the America that I love.
There’s nothing we’ve said or done on this record that doesn’t feel completely authentic to who we are. It’s impossible to be a human being and not be sensibly aware of what’s going on in the world. It’s a beautiful thing- It’s nice that we can say, ‘This is who we are; this is what we like’. Take it or leave it.
The basis and main lyrical theme of the album is the fact that human relationships are the most important thing in this life, while the sibling trio also sing about their rock steady relationships with their spouses. Album “Miracle” is a poppy and explosive metaphor for the band members spending some ‘quality time’ with their spouses, with plenty of religious imagery present for good measure and to remind us that these guys came from a Christian household when they were younger. And though this type of borderline explicit material isn’t what you would have expected from these guys way back in the late 2000’s, the opener reminds us how much time has passed and that these guys are adults now, and secure enough in their relationships to sing this song and have it not be weird or awkward. And… why should it be? Sex was created by God to be enjoyed between a man and his wife, and as Nick, Joe and Kevin are singing this song about their wives; shouldn’t we think that this song is sweet and loving and tender?
The rest of the album highlights a myriad of issues as these young men encourage us to live life and live it to the fullest. “Montana Sky”, an acoustic Bee Gee’s inspired melody, speaks about how the brothers have travelled the world with their international touring, including seeing ‘Montana skies’ and ‘Georgia sunsets’, but still reiterate that their spouses are still where they long to be at the end of the day; while the acoustic pop track “Wings”, the shortest song on the album, speaks about how Nick, Kevin and Joe credit their wives for their successes on and off the stage. “Sail Away”, a euphemism for making love, is probably not needed on the album, but reminds us how pure of a love we should seek between us and our spouses, and that the pure love Jesus has for us exists as well; while “Americana” is a joyous and celebratory 4th-of-July patriotic anthem celebrating America and all it should stand for (an anti-“We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel, because the Jonas’s list all things good and enjoyable!). “Celebrate!”, a high octane and toe-tapping danceable melody, is similar in style and theme to “Americana”, about celebrating because we are alive and we are breathing and we have a purpose and a meaning; while the 80’s inspired synth-pop melody “Waffle House” speaks about the unbreakable bond the trio have as brothers, and the fact that when they were young, they were able to sort out their differences at the ‘Waffle House’ (as in, eating together and sharing a meal!).
The stirring and thought-provoking guitar ballad “Vacation Eyes” delves deep into the theme of the brothers not needing to go to an extravagant place to be on vacation, but rather in the presence of their wives; while the incredibly crude and unnecessary “Summer In The Hamptons”, the low point on the album is skippable, and will make you feel embarrassed and humiliated when you parents inadvertently listen to this track. “Summer Baby” is another ode to the trio’s wives- a sweet song about the pure love each one of the brothers have for them; while “Little Bird”, probably the band’s most mature song they’ve ever released, speaks about parenthood and about the fact that as time goes on, your children grow up and may not want to spend so much time with you, so you have t cherish the little moments and the present moments in the present as they come. “Walls”, with Jon Bellion, is the final melody on The Album, with Jonas Brothers earnestly relaying to their wives that even the walls would cry if they would ever break up.
Jonas Brothers new album The Album (such an ‘original’ title!), at the core, is an album about relationships and the highs of a romantic relationship, while also about the passage of time and the maturity that comes along with it. For us single people, it could seem like this project overall isn’t for us. However, taking these songs and declaring them over our lives as something that God could orchestrate into action someday- for us to have a love like that with our future spouses that will never fade away- that I reckon is the way to go. Can we love an album if we can’t fully relate to it yet? I reckon we can… as that is exactly how I feel with Jonas Brothers’ The Album (save for “Summer In the Hamptons” and “Sail Away”). And Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sophie Turner and Danielle Deleasa, should all be proud of their husbands for writing an album about them. In this project, it’s hard not to root for the band to succeed, even if you’re not avid fans of them; and here’s hoping that we all have a love like that someday. And as God is putting the steps in motion, and reminding us all that he will make a way for us in relationships and in life in general, even when there seems to be no way; let us sit back and marvel at the ingenuity of the Jonas Brothers– creating an accessible pop album that is enjoyable to listen to. Am I a fan of the band? Or even the individual vocalists? After this album… sort of? I might backtrack through the group’s discography; but for each of you I’d say listen to The Album. It’s a solid album about what earthly love should be like and about how we as humans should settle our differences (“Waffle House”). And also about how we all grow up but we should never forget our roots (“Little Bird”). Well done Nick, Kevin, and Joe, you’ve created an underrated gem, and a thought-provoking guidebook and manual on how to love in this world. How about a full-length Christmas album next?
He [our dad] played us a lot of music where there were multiple lead singers in a band, which is what we have, and it makes for these moments where we’re able to switch on and off from each other. This album was about putting something together that sounded like what coming to one of our shows is like. We’re a band, and it’s band music.
I think it’s fun to do the outside stuff, solo music like DNCE, and come back together to feel like we can bring all these different influences and genres to create something stronger. If you’re gonna look at all of them, this is the one that Joe has said we would send up into space and say, ‘This is the Jonas Brothers. This is the album’.
3 songs to listen to: Celebrate, Waffle House, Walls
RIYL: Hanson, One Direction, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Halsey, Dua Lipa, Guy Sebastian