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Album Review

First things first: the Jonas Brothers are not disbanding. At least, not according to Nick, the group's youngest member and lead singer. "We're definitely not breaking up," he told MTV, "and we've got a lot of exciting things coming this year as the Jonas Brothers and individually."

First up on the aforementioned individual list is the youngest JoBro's debut solo effort: Who I Am. He's singing under the moniker Nick Jonas & The Administration. But don't let the adult-sounding name fool you. This is still teenybop pop. Not straight Jonas Brothers teenybop pop, but teenybop pop nonetheless, with Nick's new band mates (three of whom are alumni of Prince's New Power Generation) bringing a touch of funky R&B stylings with them. Nick's breathy, dramatic vocals and frequent use of falsetto recall (not surprisingly) Prince, but also James Brown, Stevie Wonder and John Mayer.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

In the wake of a painful breakup, Nick prays for help ("Pray to God, He hears my cry"). "Rose Garden" encourages a young woman not to let life's thorny moments discourage her ("Don't let those petals fall/ … on you"). The song seems to value the sanctity of an unborn life when a teen girl accidentally gets pregnant ("She was brought into this world/Out of a beautiful mistake/When her mom was just a girl"). Conflict keeps a couple fighting until sunrise on "Tonight," but the song ends on a determined note to keep trying ("We know we're in love, so let's keep it alive"). A strong connection with someone who believes in Nick helps him persevere on "Stronger (Back on the Ground)."

Objectionable Content

The overall message of "State of Emergency" may—for a while at least—warn fans to avoid unwise dalliances, but it opens with a suggestive word picture ("She's seductive/She does it well/She'll charge you by the hour/For a straight train down to hell"). Similarly, while "Tonight" ends positively, it makes me wonder about the wisdom of adolescents staying entrenched in emotional warfare so intense it lasts all night.

"Vespers Goodbye" drips with drama as it compares a breakup to death ("Like a bullet through the chest/Lay me down to rest/It's a lover's final breath"). Nick seems a bit smug that someone who dumped him is now struggling herself on "In the End" ("In the end/You cry alone/ … There's nothing you can do/ … Baby, it all comes back to haunt you").

"Last Time Around" is a confusing song about a guy who hits on a girl, only to remember that they had a romantic fling the previous summer. I can't help but think that his renewed pledges of loyalty ("You're all that I'm after") are somewhat undermined by the fact that he couldn't remember what she looked like at first.

Summary Advisory

"I want someone to love me/For who I am." That couplet from the album's title track pretty much sums things up here: Love is all that really matters, and it's a matter of life and death—at least, metaphorically speaking.

So while there's not a great deal that's outright objectionable on Nick Jonas' debut, the fact that—at 17—he sounds like a love-scarred, battle-hardened veteran of decades in the romantic trenches should give us pause. As I noted in the "Up Front" article " Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: The Romantic Angst of Teen Pop," songs like these "simply don't prepare anyone to deal in a mature and healthy way with the day-to-day realities of long-term love."

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

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