Thoughts on ‘Nick Jonas’

MOVE reviews Nick Jonas’s self-titled, sexy new album.

By Shannon Murff | Nov. 13, 2014

Tags: Music Reviews

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Ladies and gents, allow me to reintroduce “Nick Jonas” — the album, and the man. It’s necessary; otherwise, I’m afraid you wouldn’t recognize him. It’s definitely not a bad thing, but through his new self-titled album, Jonas has, like so many of his Disney-bred peers (Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez) made public his final shift from who he was as a famous teen pop star, to who he is now as a 22-year-old musician. And it’s about damn time.

In a complete and sudden contrast to past albums, “Nick Jonas” is an unusual fuse of pop and alternative R&B influences. Thrown in are songs that fit into neither category, but that flow easily with the other songs nonetheless. The constant hip-hop beats and electronic syncopations are the last thing most fans would expect from Jonas, but though he clearly allowed other artists to influence this album, the sound is still unmistakably his own.

The album kicks off with “Chains,” which gives listeners a catchy taste of the R&B beats that will punctuate the whole album. In “Jealous,” the lead single, he marries pop and gospel to create a remarkably fresh song guaranteed to make you move — or at least have it stuck in your head for the next few hours. “Numb,” in which he teams up with Angel Haze, is unapologetically hip-hop in nature, and, in a refreshing break from the norm, a female interrupts a male singer’s song to rap.

In “Avalanche,” Jonas duets with longtime friend and fellow former Disney kid Lovato; to say their voices blend incredibly well is an understatement. Following “Avalanche” is “Nothing Would Be Better,” an equal parts heartbreaking and soothing ballad that ends the non-deluxe album.

In “Nick Jonas (Deluxe)” three extra songs are tacked onto the end: a remix of “Chains,” “Santa Barbara,” in which Jonas channels his inner Bon Iver, giving us a beautiful break from the style of the rest of the songs; and a collaboration with Top 40 favorite Mike Posner.

Jonas has produced an album with soul. It isn’t perfection, but it’s bold, and while Jonas struggles to balance grown-up lyrics with teenage-sounding pop, he still manages to give his fans something that is equal parts sexy and soothing, and, so far, there haven’t been many complaints.

MOVE gives “Nick Jonas” 4 out of 5 stars.

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