On Friday, June 7 the pop trio of actual brothers, The Jonas Brothers, released their fifth studio album titled Happiness Begins. After a fairly lengthy hiatus that came as a surprise to hardcore fans and casual listeners alike, Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas and Nick Jonas are back and possibly better than ever. Read below for this writer's song-by-song take on their offering.
Happiness Begins starts with a funky re-introduction to the well-loved Jonas Brothers. Without being particularly lyrically complex, Sucker's infectious melody is sure to please and prove to be a bit of an ear worm as you're likely to still have the lyrics rolling about it in your head long after the song stops being played. This isn't a regular pop song, it's a cool, funky adult pop song - much like Regina George's mother who isn't a regular mom, but is instead a cool mom.
The album's second song, Cool, isn't exactly dance-y, but it's certainly cool enough to be turned up if it comes on the radio.
Though I went into this listening experience wanting to like more or less every song on this album, I just don't enjoy Only Human. Reggae-ish but mostly pop 2/10 persons might opt to replay. 0/10 Jamaicans who have listened to actual authentic Reggae are likely to recommend. Admittedly, the first few seconds of the song excited me, but the rest of the song left a fairly inexplicable bad taste in my mouth. Thanks Jo Bros for trying your hands and mics at authentic Reggae - the sound was right, but the soul was missing - please, don't feel pressured to try this again.
Right from the start this song drew me in, and it'll likely do the same for any listener. From the snap intro right to the end of this 3:38 track, the brothers give their older, original fan base a sonically pleasing, mature, understated synth experience. By the time the chorus comes around "Cause you show me something I can't live without...I believe, I believe, I believe/When you hold me, it's like Heaven coming down...I believe, I believe, I believe" you will have already found yourself singing along. I Believe is easily part of the top 5 tracks on Happiness Begins.
Used to Be
Entirely chill, Used To Be sounds a little bit like an optimistic-sounding Khalid rough cut, more than it sounds like a Jonas Brothers song. Whereas I dislike Only Human and absolutely love I Believe, even after multiple replays I remain on the fence about Used To Be. I neither hate it nor love it, and believe it is an adequate space filler on the album.
Every Single Time
Every Single Time is what Only Human could've been or probably should've been. The song is definitely a pop song, but has just enough Reggae flavouring to be interesting and and worth a replay.
Don't Throw It Away
Easily a standout from this 14-track album, this song possesses a fairly complex beat and a cheerful tune that belies sad lyrics about an imminent breakup. From the chorus, "But don't throw it away this time, just take a little time to think / Don't throw it away, it's fine, just don't forget to think of me..." right down to the masterful wistful sigh at the end, this song is a lyrical and sonic masterpiece. Without becoming a single it is unlikely that this song will receive the airplay or attention necessary for it to be dubbed a Summer smash or a hot song this season , but Don't Throw It Away certainly has what it takes to compete with songs vying for a spot on your playlist this Summer.
Considering Kevin, Nick and Joe are far removed from their teenage selves - all three being married and Kevin being a parent of two girls - and are beyond the days of little crushes and TEEN flirtation, it should come as no surprise that Happiness Begins would explore themes of love and take a more mature perspective. Despite the fact that I cannot relate, Love Her is a beautiful song about deep, true, patient, unselfish love. Standout lyrics include: "Gotta learn to let the small things go, and know it's always far from perfect/ And I know that we can get emotional, but the hardest parts are always worth it" and, "I put my selfish ways in boxes / And shipped 'em back to where they came / Will never let it get close to bein' toxic / And I promise I'll never walk away".
Happy When I'm Sad
Funky. eclectic, and upbeat.
Trust me, this edgy tune has Nick's influence all over it. Despite not managing to break into my top 5 favourite songs on the album, this song is likely to grow on me.
Ironically following a song entitled Trust, Strangers, with its strong drums, is compelling, and easy to sing along to and vibe to. Easily top 5.
As with some of my other favourite songs on this album, it was clear from the first few seconds of Hesitate that I would probably end up liking the song. Beautiful and easy to listen to, you shouldn't hesitate to play this song; making the lyrics even more poignant, is the fact that Hesitate is essentially a love letter from Joe to his wife, actress Sophie Turner. Singing about how he won't hesitate to take Sophie's pain, the lyrics are believed to allude to Joe helping Sophie through her personal struggle with depression. Though the entire song is well-written and deeply moving, my favourite lyric is, "I thank the oceans for giving me you / You saved me once and now I'll save you too / I won't hesitate for you."
Rollercoaster quite literally seems to take listeners on a thrilling ride of different sounds, with the chorus sounding like an Avicii song sped up and the song's verses giving an R&B vibe. As the brothers sing about the rollercoaster ride that's been their lives - their journey to the peak of their popularity and their views on the past - I can't help but smile at the nostalgic but optimistic tone of the song and the obvious shout-out to the fans evident in the lyric, "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 rollercoaster / 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 rollercoaster with you."
Considering the comeback that Happiness Begins represents for the band that was wildly popular in the early 2000s, long before One Direction was ever a thing, I do love the cleverness of putting a song with this title as an album closer. But I do believe the song itself may have been better suited as a bonus track than a regular addition to the album.
Happiness Begins is available for listening and downloading on all major streaming platforms, and almost all the songs on the album have been uploaded to the Jonas Brothers' YouTube channel. Give it a listen and let us know what you think down below or on our social media pages!