Thursday, February 26, 2009

Can The Jonas Brothers Get A Little Respect?

I Like The Jonas Brothers.

There. I said it.

Like a typical, cranky Gen-Xer, I had a negative first reaction to the squeaky-clean brothers when they became megastars in my household last year. I assumed that they were pretty Disney androids who were being propped up by killer marketing and Casio keyboards. This came on the heels of "High School Musical" and "Hannah Montana," so I was not in a charitable mood.

But I was wrong. Has anyone noticed that they play their own instruments, like, pretty doggone well? Or that Joe (the "hot" one) is a great frontman, especially when he ditches the whine at the end of a note? Or that the lead songwriter, Nick (the "cute" one) is only 16 years old? Paul McCartney wrote "Love Me Do" when he was that age, and while it was not exactly the Beatles' best tune, it's on all the "Greatest Hits" compilations.

I listened to a lot of music last year, and their CD "A Little Bit Longer" is just plain good. I defy anyone to listen to "BB Good," "Burnin' Up" or the Chris Isak-y "Lovebug" and tell me with a straight face that those aren't swell pop/rock songs. OK, maybe their Grammys jam with Stevie Wonder wasn't awesome, but the fact that a) they know who Stevie Wonder is and b) cite him frequently as a musical idol ought to count for something. I guess you could argue that their song lyrics are a little on the shallow side, but I wasn't exactly thinking about fair trade when I was 16.

Some of my friends are shocked that I keep coming to the Jonas Brothers' defense, or that I can even tell them apart. But I think they're judging them based on things other than their music, and assuming that musicians associated with Mickey Mouse can't possibly be good. (For the record, I was kind of annoyed with Russell Brand for making fun of their purity rings, though I suspect Nick, Joe and Kevin will come to regret giving the public that kind of information. See: Spears, Britney.)

It's early yet, so it's entirely possible that the Jonas Brothers will morph into assholes or fail to grow as artists. But I'm optimistic. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy that 3-D movie of theirs with some young fans I happen to know.

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