Do you have an album you look back on fondly, but don’t know why? When’s the last time you listened to 16-year-old you’s favourite record of all time? Do you wonder how well the songs from your iPod Classic’s Top Played playlist have aged? In this new segment, we encourage our writers to revisit their most favourite albums from their past in order to determine the answer to the important question, “Was it actually good?”
Desperately plowing through stacks of glossy teen magazines, searching for the best full-size posters was a common hobby for those dedicated to the Jonas Brothers during their golden years.
Shortly after Joe, Nick, and Kevin’s first album left fans swooning, the boys released their second and most popular album A Little Bit Longer in the summer of 2008. Thanks to Camp Rock, their first feature film, debuting only two months prior to this, the boys had staggering amounts of preteen girls to please. Like many boybands, the success of the Jonas Brothers was strongly connected to their ability to make unassuming young fans fall for them. Although my 10-year-old self would have told you this was her favourite album, more enjoyment likely came from fantasizing about Nick serenading me on our wedding day than the actual quality of the music. Now that I’m no longer anticipating a proposal, it’s time to decide if the Jo Bros did more than perfectly tousle their hair on A Little Bit Longer.
The narrative of most boyband albums goes something like: feeling the pain of rejection, finding someone else who could be the one, and then doing everything humanly possible to prove to them that their love would last forever. In this fashion, the Jonas Brothers don’t stray far from the norm. But hey, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it. With the popularity of past boybands as evidence, superficial romance songs are unavoidable and the real goal is to execute them in a way that seems sincere, which the Jonas Brothers accomplish. Tracks about unrequited love that could easily seem redundant like “Can’t Have You,” and “Shelf” are presented in catchy and upbeat ways that would have even the most determined hater unsuspectingly humming along.
The most popular track on the album by far was “Burnin’ Up.” Upon re-listening, the first chord of the song triggered vivid memories of dozens of girls squealing at an elementary school dance, and regardless of the years that have gone by since then, I felt the exact squeal-worthy excitement. Complete with a rap from the boys’ bodyguard Big Rob, it’s undeniably something I’d be happy to have come up on shuffle. Similarly, “Lovebug” didn’t bring upon the shame that usually comes with listening to the music of past Disney stars. While the rest of the album was “good for a boyband,” these two tracks are genuinely good.
Winning smiles and clear skin definitely contributed to the Jonas Brothers’ fame, but A Little Bit Longer proved that they were a little more talented than most would have liked to admit. After revisiting the album, I can rest assured that my younger self was at least half listening to the music while picking out a caterer.
Was it actually good? Yes.