Written by Chris Panico
Nick Jonas’ single ‘Jealous’ has quickly become one of my favorite pop songs of the year. The melodies throughout the song ooze the catchy satisfaction that’s become necessary in the music industry. Lyrically it’s very straight-forward, not spending much time on poetry or creative metaphor. Still, it seems to work in the context of the song.
Since the release of ‘Jealous’ Nick Jonas has dropped his entire self-titled album, the latest of many steps towards becoming independent from The Jonas Brothers act. Many great pop artists have gone through similar transitions during their career with great success (Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake).
Breaking away doesn’t always work out so well though.
While ‘Jealous’ is undoubtedly an amazing song, much of the new Jonas album comes off as bland and sterile. ‘Numb’ is a great example of where the album seems to lack creativity. Throughout the song there is a pretty-much-a-preset sounding synth that inserts the most predictable lines in the most predictable places. The arrangement of the song is also very typical, sounding much like the first example out of a ‘How To Produce Electronic Pop’ book.
‘Avalanche’ is a tune worth looking into for a moment, and not just because it feature Demi Lovato. It seems to have a formula for becoming a really big single: two big vocalists (male and female), a few places for them to wail in the chorus, and an excruciatingly simple metaphor to sing about. Now, I’m not against simple. Sometimes simple is the best way to go. But the lyrics “Crash down like an avalanche” just seem too obvious for me. Regardless, I think it’s a pretty song, if for no other reason than that being its purpose.
Nick Jonas did manage to get another solid track in with his first single ‘Chains.’ It has the same type of melodic craft work that made ‘Jealous’ such a solid tune. What I really love about this song though is how minimal it is. There’s been a trend in pop music lately to over-saturate the mix with as many different elements as possible. Sometimes it’s good. Usually it turns into a painful, over-compressed cacophony. Jonas went in the other direction with ‘Chains’ and allowed the song to really stand on it’s own.
Overall, Nick Jonas is a very passable album from a modern-day pop standard. A couple songs are good, but much of it ends up being bland. A little more creativity and a bit less vocal processing will (hopefully) make the next album much, much better.
Nick Jonas’ self-titled record is available in stores now.