By now, every Penn Stater knows the Jonas Brothers are back and better than ever — finally — with their new album, “Happiness Begins.”
The album features 14 songs, including singles that have already received lots of play, like "Sucker" and "Cool."
On this album, the trio — who put on a surprise performance at Champs Downtown back in April — hangs onto some of their Disney-era "JoBro-ness," though it's clear they've also transitioned into a more grown-up sound over the past 10 years.
Bops like “Cool” — which the band performed for the first time live in Happy Valley — demonstrate how the dark-haired siblings still know how to have fun, even as they rock their grown-up facial hair and stubble.
The new album also brings us “I Believe” and “Love Her" — examples of the raw emotion that the boys have now experienced thanks to the ladies in their lives.
The oldest, Kevin, has been married to his wife Danielle since 2009, and the pair has two daughters now. The youngest, Nick, married Priyanka Chopra last December. Most recently, middle brother, Joe, married Sophie Turner last month.
"'Cause you show me something I can't leave without... I believe when you hold me, it's like heaven coming down," the brothers sing in the chorus of "I Believe” — a song Nick told Apple Music this song is a love letter to his wife.
When their last album, “Lines, Vines, and Trying Times” came out in 2009, Joe and Nick weren’t even old enough to drink but still managed to steal fans’ hearts with sweet compositions like 2008’s “Lovebug.”
Today, though, they're singing lines such as “I’ve been dancing on top of cars, stumbling out of bars.”
I appreciate the tenderness they have embraced on other tracks. For instance, in slow-tempo “Love Her,” the boys gently declare “when you love her, no matter the fight you know she's always right, and it's alright.”
Other songs, like “Every Single Time” and “Rollercoaster” maintain the theme of being in love and having fun — normal experiences for regular twenty-somethings who weren’t exploited by Disney Channel at age 14.
Before the album was released, Amazon published “Chasing Happiness,” a documentary that follows the three brothers who just wanted to make music together. Tears came to my eyes as Kevin talked about being bullied and never fitting in. Emotions bubbled to the surface when the family discussed having to leave their church, their home and their community because the boys didn’t have a “Christian” sound.
In comparison to earlier tracks, the sound has changed with less emphasis on plugged-in guitars and more appreciation of electronic beats and sounds, but nothing can cover Nick’s high tenor and Joe’s unmistakable sound.
As a rising senior about to finish college, listening to their new music brings up so many emotions for me. It’s fun, nostalgic, and most importantly, relatable. This album is a summation of how the fans, the brothers and I grew up together, just holding onto the things that bring happiness to our lives.
It’s not 2008 anymore, and we’re not "Burnin’ Up" or dreaming about the "Year 3000." We’ve gone through pain, love and so much more, and through this music, we can bond over shared experiences.
In what I will happily call the biggest pop comeback of the year, Kevin, Joe and Nick took the necessary time to explore and live their lives independently, and have re-discovered what we all always hoped they were: three brothers who just want to make music together.