Is Happiness Begins the coming out party of the Jonas Brothers? That would explain the album art, what with the title emblazoned across the sky in the photo, only for the viewer’s eyes to then pan down to the three lads presenting their arses for inspection. The joke writes itself, I know, but if happiness truly would only begin from the depths of these lads’ welcoming rectums… I may not have a pee-pee, but I can order one online if that would please these guys, so what size would they like?
Maybe it’s just me, but they could at least ask the Photoshop guy to add more curvy goodness to their rear ends. Those things are on the flat side; I think I can line a row of glasses on them in a perfect horizontal axis.
Seriously – and I really hate myself for admitting this out loud – Happiness Begins is a fun album. I can’t stand these three when they were looking like dweebs pretending to be virgins to reel in gullible tween fans, but this current crop of music from them is pretty good. Sure, nothing here is particularly innovative, and Ryan Tedder is involved, but come on, Mr Tedder hadn’t in quite a while plagued the airwaves with 300 samey-sounding songs at the same time, so I can put that knife away.
The songs here are a blend of everything from Mumford & Sons for beginners, Prince cover band goodness, toddler’s first emo rock, and more. The whole thing may seem like a mess, but the result is ear wax. Rollercoaster blends seamless from its moody verses to a criminally infectious chorus that resembles the bastard spawn of Phillip Phillips’s Home and Avicii’s Wake Me Up, and I don’t care and don’t have any cares anymore, because I’m too busy throwing up my hands and nodding to the whole thing. Cornerback is Junior’s First Country Song, but it certainly settles into a corner of my heart alright.
Of course, these lads don’t just abandon the more poppy sounds, hence there is that annoyingly likable Sucker with Nick Jonas’s falsetto actually making me feel… things. Still, it’s hard for the poor guy to convince the world that he is sex on legs when we have that other brother Joe, who looks so sleazy and smarmy in an inexplicably intriguing manner that he will make any woman that looks at him go hmm. That and songs like the reggae-inflected Only Human are fun, but admittedly, they are quite the low efforts compared to the tracks that are infused with country, folk rock, and alternative rock elements – those songs have a bit more complexity and thought to them compared to the more simplistic melodies of the more poppy tracks.
Having said that, I don’t feel that there are any outright duds here. Every track feels like the perfect soundtrack anthems to enjoy the sunnier side of life, a pleasant form of escapism from start to finish. Sure, the vocals aren’t that impressive or memorable, but come on, we are talking about Jonas Brothers here. They have grown up, and should they keep this up, perhaps one day admitting that one is a fan of them won’t bring such embarrassment on oneself. Shawn Mendes should take note: this is how pretty boys win over the grown-ups.