Defending the Jonas Brothers: You Got a Problem With That?
We have spent days wrestling throw pillows and chain-smoking cigarettes in the sun, sweatily contemplating why it is that we can't hate the Jonas Brothers. We can honestly say this isn't some crass devil's advocate playing rock journalist devilry. We can't find a reasonable flaw in the wares they are hawking. We can also submit medical documents that we are in fact what is medically referred to as a "man," if you're curious. To reflexively hate the Jonas Brothers is a waste of time and intellectually lazy. Save all that automatic hatred for Juggalos and white-boy reggae, the real enemies. Screw this indier-than-thou bullshit for someone more susceptible to care. What the Jonas Brothers currently represent for kids these days is stranger than you will freely admit, and way more intricate than the teen girls in the pit can understand at the moment.
First off, the J-Bros are catchy as hell. You sit there caressing your beard and talking about the pop sensibility of Dan Deacon when "Burnin' Up" is staring in your stupid face like a blood-thirsty shark. Stop ignoring it and take it for what it is. Some of the best pop ever recorded in '60s was brushed off like mosquitoes at a barbecue.
The Beatles, the Stones and the Beach Boys were all looked at down the noses of erstwhile hipsters. We aren't comparing the J-Bros to Mick and Keef by any means. Plus we don't see the brothers running off to India anytime soon when they can worship at their idolatry here in the States.
If we are going to listen to guitar pop, we at least want it done correctly and with an eye for the past, intended or not. Try listening to any J-Bros single and try to not hear Big Star or Cheap Trick. The mechanism behind these boys is purely schooled in white-hot American pop-rock, the kind that a group of Danish knob-twirlers will never be able to replicate, musically or spiritually. That's why at the core of all their songs lies an undefeatable structure. Little wonder that Elvis Costello even champions them as the next logical progression from his initial atomic releases.
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On top of the musical structure they boast, they are way more dangerous than their Disney forbears, because this is male-fronted danger. The danger inherent in a Miley Cyrus or a Demi Lovato is painfully obvious. The sad fact is that both those girls have been trotted out as comely sex kittens without Disney even trying, which has to say something about our society.
An even sadder fact is that the J-Bros are dishing out way more sex than supposed rockers twice their age. We won't even bring up the pansexual state of indie-rock. We defy you to find real danger in Animal Collective or Grizzly Bear. That's music for eunuchs and debutantes who have never heard or felt Raw Power.
If we parent to a young daughter, we would be way more scared of what one of the Jonas Brothers could do to her psyche, not Miley straddling a pole on an ice-cream cart . What a Jonas sibling could do emotionally, never mind physically, would aggravate us a lot more. That's why Elvis Presley was filmed from the waist up when he hit the scene. This is also why when some listless bro-dude out there in the suburban ether destroys one of these girls' hearts, she will pick up a guitar and a new generation of Liz Phairs will run the streets like feral canines.
We always used to close out our pop-centric posts with the old Jim Morrison adage "The men don't know what the little girls understand," but we think in the case of the J-Bros it's the exact opposite.
Because foam isn't a euphemism for anything at all.
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