I’d thought there’d never be a new Jonas Brothers release for the rest of my life. Nick seemed committed to his solo career, while Joe seemed happy with DNCE. Kevin seemed to be at peace with living life as a husband and father, putting his rock star days behind him. The JoBros were no mo’.
And then, out of nowhere, they announced “Sucker.” Which may just be the comeback song of the century, seeing as it shot to number one. A few short months later, Happiness Begins was announced and then released. And my happiness indeed began.
I’ll admit I went into this album hesitantly. While I still love the Jonas Brothers’ old stuff, I recognize that they’re not quite the masterpieces I once thought they were. But their documentary, which I’d watched the day prior, gave me newfound respect for the brothers. Happiness Begins may not be an artistic triumph, but I could at least appreciate the craft and history that went into its making.
Guys, I’ve had this album on repeat since Friday. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s one of my favorite albums of the year. How did this happen? How has one album rejuvenated my long-dormant love of the Jonas Brothers?
The simplest answer is that Happiness Begins retains the passion and charm of their older music, while also feeling more mature. And it’s not the references to drinking that make this album feel more grown up. On the contrary, most everything about their lyrics and sound are relatively unchanged. But there’s something in the way the Jonas Brothers carry themselves on this record that feels like a progression.
Perhaps this was helped by the fact that it’s been years since they were associated with Disney, and Joe and Nick have both delved into more explicit themes and topics in their other projects. Maybe that time away made it easier for listeners to accept them as mature adults. They didn’t need to go for shock value, because the years have done it for them.
Happiness Begins tackles themes of love, loss, nostalgia, and inner pain. “Love Her” is 2019’s “Lovebug.” “Trust” is sensual, while “Hesitate” is devotional. “I Believe” is perhaps their best love song to date. “Used to Be” and “Don’t Throw it Away” reflect on loss, whether through the lens of the past or with hope.
The Jonas Brothers reflect on their time in the limelight on “Rollercoaster,” a song reminiscent of indie pop bands like American Authors. “Happy When I’m Sad” rolls with the trope of an upbeat song with sad lyrics. The brothers open up about pretending to be happy due to expectations.
The album opens with the hit singles “Sucker” and “Cool” and closes on the ballad “Comeback.” Other highlights on the album include “Only Human,” “Every Single Time,” and “Strangers.” And that, well, that’s all the songs.
Everything about this record, from the announcement to the content, was such a pleasant surprise. Happiness Begins is a welcome introduction to a new era of Jonas Brothers content. And I am so ready. These boys know how to make a girl happy.