Album Review: Nick Jonas – Last Year Was Complicated

Nick Jonas last year was complicated

Nick Jonas sensually deals with heartbreak on new record
In the music industry there is often much focus on the way female pop stars grow up through the years. Think about the extreme transformations Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus went through. It is not only the girls though, who go through a sexual evolution through their music. Most recently it was Zayn Malik on his debut album Mind Of Mine who was a lot more explicit in his lyrics than during his boyband time. Nick Jonas follows the same path on his brand new record Last Year Was Complicated, but does this bring us musical progression as well?

To start off with the positive news, Last Year Was Complicated is in no way a bad record. What it does lack though, is personality. Nick Jonas is a decent vocalist with enough star quality, but his material just is not ear catching enough at this point to make him stand out or give him an edge. Take any of the tracks on Last Year Was Complicated and ask yourself if it could have been released by somebody else? If I’m being honest, the answer would always be yes. Nick Jonas tried to find his own sound within pop that mixes with sensual R&B (perfectly executed on single ‘Jealous’) and while he does a good job in this genre, there is nothing that makes him stand out as a pop star.

If you take a look again at Zayn’s Mind Of Mine, you will find that the melodies weren’t always there and sometimes things became a little too pretentious, but at the same time, this album tried to push boundaries, a thing that never really happens on Last Year Was Complicated. Jonas does have the falsetto and talent to pull off some more risky songs and sounds, but it does not happen enough. He comes closest on ‘Don’t Make Me Choose’, where the higher register of his vocals subtly flows over an R&B production with some seriously suggestive lyrics: “Don’t make me choose, between my left hand and my right”, he pleads a lover. At the same time the not swinging enough funk of ‘Touch’ or the predictable lyrics of ‘Good Girls’ make this album hit and miss.

Jonas co-wrote the record in a period of dealing with a break up (that is where the ‘complicated’ is coming from) and this resulted in an album that deals with all the phases we go through in such a situation. On the delicious mid tempo second single ‘Chainsaw’ he sings about ruining all the furniture that reminds him of his ex lover. Quite relatable, ain’t it? First single ‘Close’, a duet with Tove Lo, sounds absolutely contemporary with good chemistry and some nice lyrical play. The perfect choice for a next single would be ‘Under You’. This straightforward pop song has a perfectly catchy chorus and the right amount of sex appeal when he states: “I’ll never get over not getting under you.”

Last Year Was Compicated sure has its great poppy moments, but overall contains too much filler material and not enough edge or personality. If Jonas could take the sensual and slick R&B sound he showcases on a few tracks a little further next time, he could become the exciting pop star he has the potential to be.

Must listen: Close, Chainsaw, Under You, Don’t Make Me Choose, Voodoo

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