When last we heard from former JoBro Nick Jonas, well, he was struggling with feeling “Jealous.” Alas, things aren’t going much better on his latest hit (which was originally released in July 2014 as his eponymous album’s first single, then re-released in January 2015 following the success of ” Jealous” on the pop charts). I suppose you could say he’s in love. But, unfortunately, he’s fallen for a heartless, devilish woman who keeps him wrapped up in “Chains” of emotional bondage.
Nick wastes no time letting us know that his current flame burns cold: “With her wine-stained lips, yeah, she’s nothing but trouble/Cold to the touch but she’s warm as a devil.” From the get-go, we know Nick’s get a problem on his hands. And he knows it too … better than anyone. “I gave her my heart,” he confesses. Then comes this bitter lament: “But she won’t heal my soul/She takes ’til I break and I can’t get more.”
From there, Jonas’ high tenor soars achingly into the chorus, where he accuses, “You got me in chains, you got me in chains for your love.” And in the song’s darkest turn, we learn that even if he could find the key to loose those dysfunctional bonds, Nick wouldn’t do it. Because, well, this “love” that chafes and binds is something he willingly submits to (“But I wouldn’t change, no, I wouldn’t change this love”).
The second verse adds in a late-night rendezvous. Once again, he knows better. Once again, he just can’t resist what his tormentress has to offer. “Alone in the night ’til she knocks on my door,” Nick sings. “Oh no, wasted again, but I can’t say no (no).” Like a mouse begging for mercy from a cat that’s been playing with him and is about to eat him, he whines, “Baby, tell me why, why you do, why you do me wrong.”
A better question might be something like this: Mr. Jonas, tell me why, why you stick, why you stick around with an emotional lioness who, by your own admission, is preying on your very soul? Especially when you know she’s never going to change?
This grim song about an exceedingly tortured relationship never answers.
The artsy, brooding video for “Chains” dims the relational lights even further. Director Ryan Pallotta inserts scenes of Nick being tormented by his soulless siren, even showing him being kicked, dragged across the floor and bound to a chair.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.