Few bands are as consistent and unchanging as the Jonas Brothers. Just go to one of their 2021 concerts and you’ll be immediately transformed into who you were in 2008 — maybe a kid who just got off the bus and turns on Disney Channel to watch Camp Rock, or someone who scours through their CDs to listen to “Burnin’ Up” on repeat (I mean, who can blame you?). Their shows are a whirlwind of 2000s nostalgia mixed with an electrifying dash of 2019 pop — fans sing and dance along to the decade-old song “S.O.S” one minute and their more recent release “Rollercoaster” the next. The audience, full of millennials and older Gen-Zers, can be seen proudly sporting their t-shirts from the band’s iconic 2008 “Burnin’ Up Tour’’ while others (such as myself) don the newer 2021 tour merchandise. Regardless, the band’s strong musical foundations in 2000s boyband pop still appeals to their now-adult fans who appreciate the group’s consistent image and sound.
The mid-2000s phenomenon
The Jonas Brothers’ domination in the mid-to-late-2000s was not without its growing pains. Their debut 2006 album ‘It’s About Time’ included stellar covers of Busted’s “What I Go to School For” as well as “Year 3000” with a slight lyric change to accommodate a younger audience (“Triple breasted women swim around town / Totally naked!” modified to “Girls there with round hair like Star Wars / Float above the floor.”) Besides these hits, the album overall lacked a clear musical direction. The transition between tracks like “Mandy,” a heavier rock song, to the more acoustic “Please Be Mine” fails to flow cohesively.
The band’s most popular album to date is the ‘Jonas Brothers,’ the group’s self-titled second album, which debuted in 2007 at number five on the U.S. Billboard 200. This marked the first time the band had a top 10 album in the nation. The singles from this album, a re-release of “Year 3000,” with new songs “Hold On,” “S.O.S” and “When You Look Me in the Eyes” are still viewed as staples of the band’s discography. This album features a youthful perspective on falling in and out of love with the effusive energy of teenage naivete. Outside of the “Camp Rock” soundtrack, music from the band peaked with these classic bops.
‘A Little Bit Longer (2008)’ and ‘Lines, Vines, and Trying Times (2009)’ sit nicely in the band’s repertoire as solid albums with a consistent sound. Successfully branding itself as the go-to band for family-friendly fun with a strong, optimistic and energetic sound, the Jonas Brothers became the perfect boyband for Disney to support. “Burnin’ Up,” a catchy anthem and immediate hit from their 2008 album, features a verse from well-known Jonas Brothers security guard Robert “Big Rob” Feggans and a music video cameo from fellow Disney star Selena Gomez. “Paranoid,” a single off of their 2009 album, demonstrates the band’s maturation with a stronger guitar sound and vocal improvements on Nick and Joe’s part.
Break-up, reunion and consistent branding
As the band entered the 2010s, they focused on their respective solo careers before officially announcing the band’s breakup Oct. 29, 2013. Five and a half years later, the Jonas Brothers shockingly announced their reunion on social media with the release of their new single “Sucker” March 1, 2019. The song became the band’s first number one debut on the Billboard Hot 100. Their latest album, ‘Happiness Begins (2019),’ though it was released ten years after their previous album, sounds remarkably similar to their earlier music in the best way possible. “Sucker” highlights the newfound love the now adult brothers have for their respective wives, while “Cool” is a typical Jonas Brothers pop anthem about nothing but wanting to have a good time. Nonetheless, it still works.
After all, that’s how the Jonas Brothers made their splashing return into the music scene with the same popularity they enjoyed during their peak. Their new songs sound similar to their old ones, and their most well-known tracks are the ones from fifteen years ago. The band’s current success in the music industry is entirely dependent on them returning to their teenage selves, channeling a nostalgic sound both intimate and anachronistic — listening to 28-year-old Nick hit the high notes in the 2007 track “Hold On” is simply surreal. While all three brothers are married and two have children, the feeling of hearing “Lovebug” live in 2021 still conjures the late-2000s fantasy that one of the teenage brothers would one day fall in love with you. The “nostalgia” factor of the band is their utmost appeal.
Rebecca Carcieri is an arts & culture editor. She is a senior from Warwick, Rhode Island studying political science.