Now that Robin Thicke has made himself a punchline, Nick Jonas has thoughtfully stepped in to fill the void left by that poor sad buffoon. Justin Timberlake needs some competition, after all, and cultural appropriation isn’t a lively party now that Justin Bieber is too busy trying to kill people with his driving. Dear Mr Jonas obligingly gets a brand new shiny muscular body, wears the tightest basket-displaying jeans around, and flexes those muscles as he presents the same brand of music that way too many guys have done before him. Those biceps are really nice, by the way, and it’s a shame that we can’t do anything about the face.
Anyway, since trying to do that pop-rock thing didn’t work, now Nick Jonas decides to inject some swagger into his gait and thrust his crotch towards the camera as he croons in his milky tenor-smooth falsetto combination on Jealous, easily the best track on this album. The chorus is gorgeous, and there is enough sensual confidence in the vocals to make me sit up and take notice the first time I heard the song. Okay, I thought it was Ne-Yo or Drake channeling some Marvin Gaye at that time, and felt really good about liking it. When I realized that it was a song by the ugliest one from the Jonas Brothers, I wanted to die of shame.
Listen to this self-titled eponymous effort goes some way in lessening my shame, fortunately. The deluxe edition that I have comes with a warning sticker about the explicitness of the lyrics, but a part of that is because fellow cultural appropriator Mike Posner claims, “I fuck good too!” in Closer. That song sounds like pretty much everything Mike Posner had put out in the past, to the point that it sounds like a cheap imitation of Looks Like Sex. Mr Jonas utters a few “fucking” here and there too. No, he hasn’t just ditched his chastity ring, he also wants you to know that he can do at least seventeen X-rated things to you with it, at least in songs like Teacher.
He takes things a little slower on obligatory ballads like Chains and the really lovely Push, because we all need some slow grooves after getting all pumped up with the beats.
The whole thing feels as fake as can be, but it’s a competently put together effort. The songs are pretty solid on a whole – not excellent, but not fillers either, as some are pretty good in their own right. Yes, this is an album by Nick Jonas, but come on now, it’s not that bad. Just hide the album cover, and if anyone asks, tell him that you’re jamming to a new one by Ne-Yo.