Music Review: Nick Jonas and the Administration's "Who I Am"

2/13/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Megan O'Malley

Nick Jonas obviously is trying to break away from the Disney-clean image of the Jonas Brothers. The songs on "Who I Am" rock more and hit on more grown-up themes.

Listeners will have to suspend their disbelief that Nick Jonas actually has experienced all of the things he’s singing about. Having grown up in the spotlight, the public knows his life almost as well as he does, and--for the most part--they know what he’s experienced.

He’s got kind of this John Mayer style to him, both in the way the songs sound and in the way he sings. They both use this heavy breath style voice and listeners will be able to recognize the similarities right away, especially on the song, “Olive and an Arrow.”

As far as the rest of the songs go, “Last Time Around” isn’t bad--it has a nice beat, but the lyrics are a little corny, such as in the song “Conspiracy Theory.” Since most of the songs are about the different stages of relationships--from meeting to breaking up--this works to breaks the flow of the album. “Vesper’s Goodbye” is a touching piece about the end of a relationship through dying. Still, it seems a little out of range for 17-year-old Nick, and it goes back to that whole suspension of disbelief idea. “Stronger (Back On the Ground)” was a good choice to end the album because it has a strong beat and will make listeners remember that Nick now wants to be a rock star and not just part of a boy band.

This is a band that should be judged based on the quality of a group as a whole, but since Nick Jonas lent his name to the group and he is the lead singer, it ultimately becomes his band and not a group effort. He’s done the group thing before and this is a chance to become the sole creative force.  The albums title, after all, is "Who I Am."

Even as Nick is breaking away from his brothers (they have said they aren’t breaking up), he still has a well-crafted image to maintain. "Who I Am" isn’t Radio Disney friendly but it is parent friendly. The songs may be more rock than pop, but there isn’t any swearing or sexual references.  Those tweens eager to be teenagers will enjoy this album. "Who I Am" sounds more grown-up, and in some sense is.  Better yet, for the studio and for Jonas, it doesn’t completely alienate the fan base that loves the Jonas Brothers.

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