by Lydia Felty ’17
On a recent application, I was asked what I thought the best self-titled album was. So many brilliant and classic albums came to mind: Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter, Britney (by Britney Spears), Jonas Brothers, Nicholas Jonas, Nick Jonas & The Administration Live at the Wiltern January 28, 2010, Nick Jonas, Raven-Symoné, Hilary Duff, MKTO, and ABBA, just to name a few. Although any of these would obviously be fabulous choices, careful deduction makes it clear that Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas reign supreme. It would be easy to revert to the idea that either Nick Jonas or Nicholas Jonas could top Jonas Brothers, as they keep Nicholas Jerry Jonas (affectionately referred to as “Nick”) in the spotlight and lump his other brothers in with Franklin Nathaniel Jonas (unaffectionately referred to as “Frankie” or “the other Jonas”). What this reversion would fail to recognize is the nature of Nick Jonas’s solo albums (obviously discounting Nick Jonas & The Administration Live at the Wiltern January 28, 2010 — everyone knows it wasn’t the best career move for Nick), which tend to embody strong values (or a lack thereof). The overt messages in these albums, especially compared to the brilliance that appears when Nick collaborates with his brothers Paul Kevin Jonas II (“Kevin” or “K2”) and Joseph Adam Jonas (“Joe”), undeniably make Jonas Brothers the best self-titled album of all artists and eras.
The esteemed scholarly source Wikipedia further states that “reviews of the album [Nicholas Jonas] were mixed.” (For the purposes of my argument, we’ll ignore the fact that “Nick Jonas earned positive reviews from music critics upon release, holding an aggregate score of 69 out of 100 based on five reviews.”) I have not looked into reviews of Jonas Brothers because there is no need; the responses were undoubtedly 100% positive, perhaps rivaling only reviews of Toy Story 3. Though our personal opinions of art should not be based on popular opinion or reviews, sometimes the popular opinion is inherently correct. This is one of those times.
Nicholas Jonas and Nick Jonas clearly show Mr. Jonas’s nine-year transformation from 2005 Nicholas Jonas to 2014 Nick Jonas, but they neglect an inclusion that the Jonas Brothers, as a whole, maintained. Nicholas Jonas, in the words of Wikipedia, “incorporates primarily Christian music and pop music elements with lyrical themes of adolescence and childhood and Jonas’ faith in God.” Nick Jonas, contrarily, is overly and overtly sexual, sharing lyrics like, “You’re too sexy, beautiful / and everybody wants a taste,” and, “Naked as the day we were born / Did you know it could feel like this?” It is not the messages within Nick Jonas or Nicholas Jonas that are objectionable, but rather their undisguised nature, that leads them to come in second and third, respectively, to Jonas Brothers.
Jonas Brothers is so good, in fact, that I honestly considered writing an entire dissertation on it, but I simply didn’t have the time or resources necessary. Instead, I’ve decided to examine—in track-by-track list form—the album’s cleverly-hidden balance between Christian and sexual messages, the included tracks’ prestige, and other pertinent information.
An Evaluation of the Most Noteworthy Tracks on the Jonas Brothers’ album Jonas Brothers:
- “S.O.S”: Nick Jonas told someone he made dinner plans for the two of them and no one else, but apparently the idiotic girl did not listen. Not only does the song encourage its listeners in their sexual exploits as it explains that even Nick Jonas cannot get any object of affection, but it furthermore encourages the Christian value of monogamy, expressed in Nick’s desire to have a two-person date. The song has its own Wikipedia page, which states that the song came to Nick in the middle of the night and he wrote it in only 10 minutes. That, I believe, says everything necessary.
- “Hold On”: “We don’t have time left to regret,” the song begins, prematurely embracing the impending popularity of the phrase “YOLO,” in classic hipster Jonas style. The song encourages its listeners to hold on instead of allowing heartbreak to cause them to give up on love—another mix of encouraging Christian values (emphasized by their use of the word “faith”) and highlighting sexual tensions.
- “That’s Just the Way We Roll”: The popularity of this song undoubtedly stems from its emphasis on brotherly love, as it begins with the brothers waking up on the roof of their house. (Although is not explicitly mentioned, Frankie is obviously excluded from this; no one cares about him.) It also highlights the importance of dreaming and being oneself, unarguably some of the most important values in life.
- “Just Friends”: As Jonas Brothers was released a mere two years after the incredible hit film Just Friends, this song is an obvious herald back to the power of friendship and finding true love. The song details the original storyline of a boy stuck in the friendzone, despite the fact that “everyone knows it’s meant to be,” before becoming “more than just friends.” The incredible messages of persistence, dedication, and hard work transcend the sexual realm and carry into everyday exploits, providing inspiration for anything from finals week to a hard day in the office.
- “Year 3000”: Sure, it was a cover of a song by the band Busted, but that does not detract from the brilliance it exudes as it details life 1,000 years from now. The brothers were aware of their audience and wanted to be good Christian influences for their listeners without sacrificing their sexual messages. Because of this, they edited some of the original lyrics: “your great-great-great granddaughter is pretty fine” was changed to “doin’ fine,” and, “triple-breasted women swim around town, totally naked,” turned into “girls there, with round hair like Star Wars, float above the floor.” (They also changed a line about the band’s seventh album outselling Michael Jackson to say they had outsold Kelly Clarkson.) They furthermore embrace inclusivity as they note, “Not much has changed, but they lived underwater,” demonstrating an adaptability and showing their acceptance of all identities and cultures as they trivialize what may seem like a big change to others. Of course, if the future is anything like the song’s illustration (“Boy bands, and another one, and another one, and another one”—what could be better?), it will be the coolest thing since the Jonas Brothers themselves.
- “Kids of the Future”: This clever rewrite of “Kids in America” likewise points to the future, as it was written for the Disney film Meet the Robinsons. Anyone who has seen Meet the Robinsons, or even taken note of its soundtrack listing, knows that the film had some of the best music of its time, a fact which points to everything that one could possibly need to know about the song.
- “We Got the Party” (by Hannah Montana feat. the Jonas Brothers; exclusive to the “Bonus Jonas” Edition): The Jonas Brothers knew the asset of collaborating with Hannah Montana (the secret identity of pop star Miley Cyrus). After starring in an episode of Hannah Montana, they performed this song together and the rest is history.
- “Baby Bottle Pop Theme Song” (only on the Wal-Mart Exclusive): Requires no explanation.
Although this article is likely just one of many that great writers and reviewers have written on the prestige and brilliance of Jonas Brothers, it should present enough evidence to convince any reader that the album is not, as my application question read, what I “think” is best; it is objectively and unarguably the best self-titled album of all artists of any era. That’s just how the Jonas Brothers roll.