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Jonas Brothers

July 25, 2008

I can’t say I was surprised to see the Jonas Brothers on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. Why should I be? It seems half the people who make the cover these days aren’t even musicians, so why should it be astonishing to see a couple teen pop icons featured there? I’ll be honest, I’m old enough that I’m becoming kind of oblivious to teen culture these days…the stars that are familiar to kids 5-10 years younger than I am are completely foreign to me (is this the first sign that I’m becoming an out-of-touch adult??!). However, I have heard of the Jonas Brothers, albeit only because they toured with Miley Cyrus, who is currently impossible to overlook or ignore.

So anyway, after skimming the article about the Jonas family band, I decided to pick up their album. Hey, what can it hurt?

Concensus: not too bad. I see why they’re popular. I’m not too fond of their irritating, whine-y vocals, but they’re pop-y, upbeat, and have good, uplifting attitudes toward life…all qualities I admire and respect. the lyrics are heavy on the typical teen-romance themes, but they also include some deeper sentiments…prayers to God and hopes for eternity.There are lots of fun, sing-along choruses that seem perfectly orchestrated for dance numbers. haha, I remember as a kid my friends and I would watch music videos over and over again until we had memorized the entire routine, then at our Friday night sleepovers, we would stay up late singing and dancing along with the video. Good times. If the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus phenomenons are any indication, kids are still having the same fun I had. The world has changed a lot since I was a kid–I didn’t have the internet or a cell phone or an ipod…heck, I didn’t have the Disney channel. The world changes fast. I already feel like an old lady. So I’m glad to see that something has stayed the same…somewhat.

However, the thing that interests me the most about the Jonas Brothers (along with Miley Cyrus, High School Musical, and well, everything backed by the Disney Channel) is exactly what the Rolling Stone headline points out…they’re “Clean Teen Machines.” Gone are the days of rampant sex and drugs and profanity-riddled lyrics…not that I’m complaining–If I had a child I would want their music and influences to be as squeaky-clean as possible, as well. But what happened to rock music that made it turn from being the soundtrack of teenage rebellion and self-discovery into super kid-friendly, parent-approved pop? I don’t get it. I’m all for the morals and values that the Jonas Brothers endorse in their lyrics, but they almost seem too sure of themselves. They seem “too good” and “too perfect.” I don’t know about you, but I was never that sure. I was always asking questions, wondering what life was about, why things are the way they are…I’m still asking questions. I think if I were a kid today, I would still appreciate hearing my Disney idols address some of those questions and maybe write some lyrics that say “hey…we’re confused. We’re not perfect, we don’t have it all together, we struggle to find our way, we’re searching for something too.”

Anyway, I don’t mean to criticize or condemn, just my personal thoughts. I have to give some brownie points to the Jonas Brothers, they’ve worked hard and they’re a good group of kids. I hope they don’t go the way of NKOTB and all those other boy bands people used to listen to…disappear for 15 years and then resurrect only as novelties. I think they’ve got some good things to say, and I wish them well!


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