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Adam R. Holz

Album Review

Once upon a time, there were three brothers, the sons of a preacher who thought they had the right stuff to make it big as a boy band. And they did exactly that, with plenty of talk about their faith and their purity rings along the way.

And then the big bad wolf that is the entertainment industry came along and gobbled them up.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Squeaky clean no longer, Joe Jonas intentionally torched his good-boy image in 2011 with his Explicit Content-stickered solo debut, Fastlife. Now the youngest of the JoBros is following a similar path.

As so many Disney stars before him have done, Nick Jonas is pursuing both an acting and a solo musical career. On the acting side of things, he’s starring in DirecTV’s grimy, MMA-focused drama Kingdom. In The Daily Beast, Kevin Fallon wrote, “Nick Jonas is on his ‘I’m All Grown Up Tour.’ It’s that thing child stars do—lately and especially Disney stars—where they star in provocative, gritty movies (Selena Gomez, Spring Breakers) or pose in hyper-horny photo spreads (Miley Cyrus, every photo spread ever) to let you know that they’ve set fire to their mouse ears and plan to emerge from the blaze like some mature, sexy phoenix. Now Nick Jonas, freshly 22 years old and leaving his days as a mommy-approved Jonas Brothers crooner behind, is following suit.” The series, Fallon says, “weaves in all the drugs, sex, and moral bankruptcy typical of clichéd boxing movies.”

As for his music, the R&B jam “Jealous” (think Justin Timberlake meets Robin Thicke) likewise casts Nick in a more adult role, though, admittedly, not as edgy as either his show or the songs his older brother dropped three years prior.

The title succinctly sums up the thematic focus: jealousy. Simply put, Nick’s insecure and jealous about the attention his girlfriend is getting—attention she sometimes seems to be courting in some pretty narcissistic and damaging ways.

“I don’t like the way he’s looking at you,” he sings at the outset. “I’m starting to think you want him too.” Then some questions for his potentially straying partner: “Am I crazy? Have I lost ya?/Even though I know you love me, can’t help it.”

Nick says she “can call me obsessed” and adds, “It’s not your fault that they hover.” After all, she’s the kind of woman who attracts notice: “‘Cause you’re too sexy, beautiful/And everybody wants a taste/That’s why I still get jealous/ … It’s my right to be hellish/I still get jealous.”

As for that unhealthy attention-seeking I mentioned, it seems Nick’s lady might be publishing provocative pics online (“I wish you didn’t have to post it all/I wish you’d save a little bit just for me”).

The artsy, stylized video begins with Nick singing on a motorcycle as he rides through the desert. A road sign reads, “Leaving Childhood, New York, 365.” Right. Check. No more innocent childhood to be had here. Other signs sport upbeat messages such as “Gratitude, “Courage,” “Dream Weaver,” “Don’t Panic” and “We Live in a Beautiful World,” an oddly positive collection of missives that seem to be detailing the things Nick’s left behind.

His sexy squeeze soon shows up wearing an underwear-meets-bikini getup and playing a cello. Another woman appears in a fishnet top, bra and tight jeans. She’s dancing while taking money from a quite-interested older man, if you follow my meaning.

Even with that, “Jealousy” doesn’t totally torpedo Nick Jonas’ family-friendly legacy all on its own. But I’m afraid it won’t have to.

Adam R. Holz

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 as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.

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