To those of us who grew up surrounded by Disney Channel and the era of Hannah Montana, Nick Jonas is a familiar face. Previously one third of the Jonas Brothers – a pop group comprised of Nick and his brothers Joe and Kevin – he is no stranger to the music scene. You probably fell in love with their floppy curls and catchy songs such as Burnin’ Up and Hold On. However the release of his self-titled debut album marks a new era for Nick’s career, despite a previous solo venture, Nick Jonas & the Administration.
The album was released in the US last year, but those of us in the UK have had to wait until this week to get our hands on it. That doesn’t mean that it’s completely gone over our head in the last ten months or so; you’ve probably heard Jealous pretty much everywhere.
Track 01: Chains. Chains was the lead single in the US from the album but the second in the UK. I totally agree with that choice. Jealous opened up the new material with something that was catchy and relatable and Chains follows it up with something slower and sultry, with obvious differentiation to anything that we’ve seen from Nick Jonas before.
Track 02: Jealous. This is definitely one of the biggest songs of 2015 so far, it’s been absolutely everywhere and it’s easy to see why. Chosen as the lead single in the UK it brought this album and Nick’s return to his solo career to everyone’s attention. That and the fact that it’s so catchy that it gets stuck in your head for days at a time!
Track 03: Teacher. The first time I listened to this song I thought that it was nothing exciting. Cue 5 or 6 more plays and all it does is make me want to dance. The tune is catchy throughout, particularly the instrumental after the chorus, and Nick shows off his vocal range perfectly. The song is fun and a little bit cheeky and exactly what I can see me dancing to.
Track 04: Warning. The pace is slowed a little with the fourth track on the album. Warning feels vaguely familiar but I can’t quite place it. Almost like a song that’s always played in the background but you never remember the words.
Track 05: Wilderness. The fast beat of the piano sucked me in straight away with this song. It feels almost feels like a natural progression for the sound that many fans already associate with Nick Jonas.
Track 06: Numb. Numb is a little different and heads far more towards a hip-hop/RnB influence which is cemented with an excellent collaboration. A little Katy-Perry-Dark-Horse-esque with a killer verse by Angel Haze, it sounds like a combination that just doesn’t work but Numb has all of the potential to be a standalone single and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the next big song off the album.
Track 07: Take Over. Has a similar feeling to the previous song, as if it’s the ending to the same story. It’s a little more upbeat and has some cheeky lyrics; “Let your naughty talk and dirty thoughts for me take over…”
Track 08: Push. Push brings us back to some of the more familiar aspects of Nick Jonas’ career. A little more mature than some of the tracks produced by the Jonas Brothers but it still has the solid foundation of lyrics such as “You wear so many faces, I shoulda known, but that sure was a beautiful disguise.” It’s a fine counterbalance to the fast make-you-want-to-get-up-and-dance songs that fill a lot of the album.
Track 09: I Want You. I Want You opens with some strong lyrics; “Motherfucker never loved me” and again provides a captivating few minutes. With its repetition of “I’ll never let you go” and “I want you” it risks being annoying and becoming the song that you always skip over. Instead it’s almost enchanting and I can definitely imagine it being easy to get lost in as you dance like crazy and clap along.
Track 10: Avalanche. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting something great from collaboration between Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato. Whilst it’s undeniable that they sound great together and the song is a great addition to the album it just isn’t for me at the moment. I feel like it’s probably more of a grower than some of the immediate successes on the album. However that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its merits. Demi’s vocals are definitely on point and she compliments the style of the song very well.
Track 11: Nothing Would Be Better. The closing song definitely feels like an epilogue. It’s almost like a reflection on all of the crazy emotions and moments that the rest of the album suggests. The chorus during the final instrumental builds the song to a climax that rounds off the entire album as if you’ve completed a journey.
For me, Nick Jonas is an important breakthrough for the 22 year old. After years of being seen as another product of Disney and falling in and out of the public’s consciousness this is exactly what was needed to propel him back into the limelight. The music is fun and experimental, completely different to everything we’ve seen from him before and it works. The 11-track, 38-minute is easy listening and skips between genres with each song, making it a fun listen from start to finish. It’s easy to see that Nick has experimented with a variety of new sounds as well as developing the music that has been a staple in his career up until now.
Perhaps I’m a little biased about the whole thing – I do have a soft spot for Nick as my favourite Jonas Brother, but it’s more than that. Seeing him develop as an artist is a joy to watch, especially when it reignites a little part of my early teenage years.
Nick Jonas is available to download from iTunes.