Jonas Brothers deliver infectious and carefree comeback album
Just a couple of years ago a successful comeback by the Jonas Brothers seemed almost unthinkable. The group that experienced a breakthrough in some Disney series had a string of hits (especially in the USA) from 2007 to 2009. They went on a hiatus after that and worked on a fifth album to be released in 2013, which never saw the light of day. That same year they decided to call it quits as a band. In their documentary Chasing Happiness it turns out the brothers hardly talked to each other after the break. After they experienced solo careers (Nick and Joe) and family life (Kevin) they decided to give it another go as a band. They made a glorious return with the single ‘Sucker’ which went straight to number 1 in the USA. Now they drop the album Happiness Begins.
In hindsight, the Jonas Brothers weren’t exactly a ‘cool’ band in their time, which they acknowledged themselves in their Harper’s Bazaar interview. The big difference now seems to be that the brothers Jonas do not seem to take themselves so seriously. Them growing up and not having to work under the pressure they had when they were a boyband money machine, made them become more playful and carefree with their music. The result is an irresistibly catchy and upbeat pop record.
On the excellent Ryan Tedder assisted comeback single ‘Sucker’ we already heard how the band sounds more tongue in cheek and funky this time around, incorporating modern pop productions in their sound. The next single ‘Cool’ followed a similar pattern although we can now say that they had a couple of stronger single options waiting on the album. Take ‘Only Human’ for example. This track is pushed forward now on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and rightfully so. This sunny, light reggae inspired pop track, produced by Shellback, is a triumphant moment with trumpets, swinging drums and irresistible vocal hooks. The Greg Kurstin produced ‘Every Single Time’ has a similar sound, be it even more laidback, but with a chorus almost as catchy.
Although Happiness Begins does come across as a cohesive body of work, they found room to play with different influences within the overall upbeat pop sound. ‘I Believe’ is a smooth synth pop midtempo that could have been part of a Nick Jonas album too, while ‘Don’t Throw It Away’ and ‘Strangers’ offer unapologetic arena ready singalong choruses. They even channel their inner Mumford & Sons on the anthemic ‘Rollercoaster’. Although the vast majority of the record is airy and uptempo, they strip it down on ‘Love Her’, a guitar based ballad (reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’) dedicated to the women in their lives.
I would be lying if I said Happiness Begins is some groundbreaking, boundary pushing album, because it simply isn’t. It is inoffensive, feel good pop made for the masses. When you execute it as well as the Jonas Brothers do here, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The brothers deliver some of the best tunes of their careers ten years after their most successful days as a band, which is impressive to begin with. They sound more free and confident than before. Happiness Begins is the most appropriate name they could have chosen for this record as it sounds like it was a lot of fun to make. I am pretty sure their concerts for this record are going to be a party from start to finish!