We’re halfway through 2019 and, after nearly a decade since Lines, Vines, and Trying Times, the Jonas Brothers have released their fifth studio album, titled Happiness Begins. With the announcement of the Jersey band’s return occurring just earlier this year, they’ve taken no time at all to dominate music charts across the world once again. Upon release, the album immediately soared to #1 on the US iTunes chart (as well as in Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Lebanon, New Zealand, and Peru amongst others). Early predictions from Billboard place Happiness Begins at the top of their chart, with 285-310K pure sales and 325-350K total units, challenging Ariana Grande for the title of most successful release in 2019. While the album sits comfortably in the top spot on the albums chart, each individual track is also climbing its way to the top of the iTunes charts across the world.
Comeback kings return after being broken up for half a decade.
Early this year, rumors started circling about the possible reunion of the Jonas Brothers. In February, all of their previously silent or deleted socials went live once again, featuring solid black displays in place of profile photos and cover photos. This sudden activity confirmed everyone’s long-awaited dreams and suspicions. February 28th proved to be the fateful day we’d all been waiting for. A brand new Jonas Brothers single (and what would later be revealed as their opening track) was set to release at midnight. “Sucker” is a fun, upbeat track that riddles about being hopelessly in love with their significant others. The music video features each of the brother’s wives in a full-out fashion party. It, unsurprisingly, jumped right to the #1 spot on Billboard and has consistently remained in one of the top ten spots since its surprise release. The track has also been certified gold in multiple countries.
Track #2, “Cool,” was released as the second single on April 5th. It’s a smooth jam with all the positive vibes. It’s full of magical high notes and self-praise, rightfully so! Even this early into things, the Jonas Brothers are making one hell of a comeback. While not as successful as its predecessor, “Cool” is the perfect sibling release for “Sucker.” It shows the more relaxed side of the album. It’s a great song to roll your windows down during and just enjoy the sun’s warmth as it fills the car. The music video is vibrant and remnant of anything released by Bruno Mars. The longer it goes on, the more ridiculous it becomes. From choreographed dancing girls and a pool-side performance, to colorful parrots taking over as the stars of the video, the entire experience looks like a blast and leaves you wishing you’d been a part of it.
Billboard predictions are rolling in as Happiness Begins sets up to secure the #1 spot!
Making our way into uncharted territory, “Only Human” is the first of the tracks we didn’t hear prior to the album’s release. It has a solid dance club beat with repetitive lyrics that make it the perfect song choice for a night out. It starts out with a fun Little Drummer Boy-esque tapping then moves to what honestly sounds like drums, keys, and an accordion throughout the remainder of the track. With the dizzying melody that is floating through the end of each chorus, it accurately portrays those earlier stages of an intense relationship once you’ve found your person. There’s an obvious give and take between the band and whoever they’ve written about. It feels like we’re witnessing the beginning of someone’s story.
Like something straight out of a 2013 fanfic, “I Believe” comes across as lyrical vows or a proposal. It’s a realization of how wonderful things are with this one specific person. It’s an understanding of never wanting to be without them. There’s talk of heaven and space and comparisons to both. A few of the lyrics make it obvious who the song is about, when you take into consideration the length of each of their current relationships prior to marriage. When you know, you know, isn’t that what they say? There’s no mistake that “I Believe” is a promise of spending their lives together forever. It’s definitely one of the softer tracks on the album, but will no doubt sound stunning in a lit up stadium. I cannot wait to bear witness to such an experience.
(L-R) Kevin, Joe, and Nick during a promotional shoot for the new album.
Track #5, “Used to Be,” deals with the past. It’s one of the first tracks of theirs to truly acknowledge the growth in their lives since last time they were touring the world together. While Joe and Nick saw their fair share of girlfriends and love interests over the years (Kevin was with his wife, Danielle, early on in the band’s career), none of them during their years as a band happened to be their now-wives. There’s a certain power in being able to rekindle a genuine friendship with an old flame or love. It’s also rare. However, getting older usually comes with a certain maturity and wisdom to recognize the good in what’s passed. That’s what this track does, it’s recognizing the good and allowing two people to build a new-found platonic friendship from it.
“Every Single Time” comes crashing through the halfway point with a hard-hitting opening line and a funky backing beat. The metaphor seems a bit juvenile, like an ode to their younger days, but still works well with the surrounding tracks. Sometimes, in a toxic situation, there’s a bit of goodness that manages to convince you to keep crawling back, time-after-time. Other times, there’s more good than bad and it’s worth fighting to keep the flame alive. “Don’t Throw it Away” is the flip side of the previous track. When things seem at their worst, take a step back and evaluate everything around you. If the good outweighs the bad, there’s no reason to toss your relationship to the side. Pick up the pieces and work on it. Happily ever afters only come to those who are willing to put in the time and work to nurture a healthy relationship.
From angsty teenagers, to married adults who are living life to the fullest, the Jonas Brothers continue to produce one solid banger after another.
Another recognition of how far they’ve come since their last album, “Love Her” is a lyrical display of what it’s like to grow up and realize what’s truly important in life and in a relationship. While no Jonas Brothers album has ever lacked in love songs, the ones from previous albums were more “puppy love” songs or referring to infatuation. This particular track is all about real, adult relationships. It falls perfectly in line after “Don’t Throw it Away.” If you listen closely, it sounds strikingly similar to Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” though the message is quite the opposite.
Falling on the pessimistic side of things, track #9 “Happy When I’m Sad” is a wonderfully fun song with lyrics that completely contradict its upbeat tempo. Which, if you think about it, goes hand-in-hand with the song title and subject. With the release of their recent documentary, a lot of new information came to light about how downright tragic the demise of the band was. For those outside the band, it wasn’t obvious just how destroyed the entire family felt. Forced happiness and insincere smiles became their uniform as a sense of longing to fall back together fell into place.
Catch the Jonas Brothers on their fall tour, coming to a town near you!
This new era and album is an exploration of who Kevin, Joe, and Nick are as a band and as brothers that are now adults. This exploration is prevalent in several of the tracks on the record, but probably most noticed on “Trust.” New experiences and relationships can often cause a shift in personality, which can sometimes lead to an identity crisis. It’s trying to find a balance between allowing yourself to grow and evolve, without losing too much of who you are at the core of your existence. This internal fight comes with chest-thumping bass line that carries you through the entire length of the piece.
The next track is full of flawless harmonies and brings us right back to when these guys were at their prime. With the time between albums and the journey towards rediscovering themselves, there’s a noticeable shift in musical style. “Strangers” re-introduces the audience to that coined JoBros sound we’re all too familiar with. It tells the tale of meeting someone and instantly feeling an undeniable pull towards them. It’s a dance around the inevitable, with palpable anticipation, and leaves us on our toes.
Acting as the ballad of the record, “Hesitate” is vulnerable and wide-open, pouring raw emotion right into our hands. Every single one of us needs something to turn to in our times of times of vulnerability. For some, that something is another person and trusting someone with those moments can be quite terrifying. It’s a breath of fresh air when they go above in beyond to make you feel secure and safe. Beautifully written, there’s no doubt this will be a fan favorite. If it finds a place on their tour setlist, I look forward to seeing every stadium light up during each performance.
The band has shared many tributes to their pre-2013 career.
Music has always had a massive impact on me. The Jonas Brothers were my first band. They showed me what music was and introduced me to my greatest love. They were my first concert. That show was the first time I tried my hand at using any sort of camera to capture a live performance. There’s a lot of stories similar to mine when it comes to this band. Nick, Joe, and Kevin are the reason so many of us found our home within music. The announcement of their reunion caused widespread bubbly excitement and raw nostalgia. “Rollercoaster” perfectly captures every single feeling related to this return and is my personal favorite off the record.
It’s a track that causes goosebumps and makes your eyes prickle with warm tears. A simultaneous love letter to themselves and to the fans. It’s one of those moments where you can close your eyes and watch every single experience flash before you. It played in the background of their new documentary Chasing Happiness, and what a wonderful choice it was. The song reflects on their younger days and the fun they had, their time apart, and their desire to relive it all again. “Rollercoaster” is one of two tracks that actually reference the album title right in its lyrics. As soon as the words meet the listener’s ears, it’s instant chills.
Rollercoaster, lyrics courtesy of Jonas Brothers
Nights, flying down the 10, nearly 2 AM
Days lifted in a haze, we weren’t just a phase
We weren’t just pretend (Just pretend)
I remember low lows and high highs
We threw our hands up, palms out to the skies
It was fun when we were young and now we’re older
Those days when we were broke in California
We were up-and-down and barely made it over
But I’d go back and ride that roller coaster
It was fun when we were young and now we’re older
Those days that are the worst, they seem to glow now
We were up-and-down and barely made it over
But I’d go back and ride that roller coaster with you
It’s incredible that even after so long away from the industry, they’re still able to elicit the same joy and happiness within those same fans (as well as welcoming an abundance of new fans). Music has such an incredible way of staying with you like that. They’ve grown as individuals and as a band, their fans have all grown too but there’s a much needed nod to simpler, younger times. The nostalgia factor certainly is not lost as we reach the end of the album.
The concluding track “Come Back to Me” probably isn’t necessarily meant this way, but can definitely be seen as another nod to the fans. After abruptly ending their time as a band and splitting apart to fulfill individual dreams, only to make an exhilarating return five years later, who’s to say the fans were definitely going to be there when they returned? The lyrics read as a promise to return to the stage, as long as the fans promise to return to the crowd in thousands, just like they did all those years ago.
Happiness Begins is the perfect album to act as the soundtrack behind all of your summer memories.
It’s safe to say that very few bands have managed to create such a successful comeback after so many years away. Perhaps it’s due to Nick and Joe’s continued presence in the music industry, or perhaps it’s purely the result of dedicated fans with a weak spot for things that remind them of their childhood. Either way, the Jonas Brothers have made quite the impact on the world in the few short months since returning to the spotlight. With charts around the world predicting Happiness Begins to absolutely dominate during release week and the weeks to follow, there seems to be a very bright future ahead for this trio. Maybe, just maybe, the good old days aren’t behind them just yet.
Buy Happiness Begins here.