Nick Jonas wants everyone to know that he’s grown up. Following on from his ex Miley’s successful transition to adult star (pun intended), ‘Nick Jonas’ sets out to re-brand its star as a force in R&B.
Whilst this strategy is well intended, it is yet to work for Nick. First single ‘Chains’ barely made a splash. Its minimal R&B sound was right on trend but, perhaps, it was too cool for its own good.
Follow up ‘Jealous’ has done better, and that’s probably because it’s part classy Drake and part cheesy disco/pop. Nick co-wrote it, and it’s remarkable how noticeable the difference is between that and ‘Chains’, which he didn’t co-write.
Quite frankly, it’s a bad sign that such a prolific songwriter has just half of the song-writing credits on their self-titled album. Songs like ‘Teacher’ and ‘Wilderness’, whilst good, ring as inauthentic.
Meanwhile ‘Numb’, which Nick did co-write, reminds us a bit too much of our own Bonnie Anderson’s ‘Blackout’. It’s not that Nick can’t pull off R&B, as he has a great voice, but it just needs to be brought in more naturally.
‘Take Over’, for example, has minimally produced verses but explodes into a guitar pop/R&B hybrid for the chorus.
Similarly, ‘Avalanche’ (featuring Demi Lovato) shows off both Nick and Demi’s voices to beautiful effect. It’s similar to the Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks duet ‘No Air’, which isn’t a bad thing.
Ironically, the most interesting song on here is probably the bonus track ‘Santa Barbara’; the only song Nick wrote by himself. It’s a bit indie sounding, and the falsetto is a little bit irritating, but it’s the most genuine moment on here by a long shot. It’s mature, but in an understated way.
The Mike Posner duet ‘Closer’ is also quite good; it’s a sexy R&B song, but yet it also reminds us of Michael Gray’s ‘The Weekend’.
Ultimately, we can’t say that the entirety of ‘Nick Jonas’ is bad; it just feels like it’s trying too hard to be Justin Timberlake.
Maybe now he’s got his ‘cool’ album out of the way, he can get back to writing melodies capable of swooning many a young woman’s hearts.
Download : Jealous, Take Over, Avalanche, Closer.