This review was written by Chase Ray. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChasexRay.
“Happiness Begins” is the band’s fifth album and first studio album in a decade after a long hiatus, where the brothers pursued solo careers to pretty decent success, with Nick embracing a pop/R&B sound that fit his voice well and with Joe becoming the frontman and lead vocalist for the pop-funk band, DNCE.
The vocals. Even though this album is a big soundscape of pop music branches that have dominated the charts for the past decade, it’s a new territory for the brothers, where they were known for their younger pop-punk sound with what felt like a rock band at times. But for Nick and Joe, who carry the album vocally, they both sound right at home in the pop genre. They both sounded great on just about every song, and I even found myself keeping score of who bested the other on each song (spoiler alert: it’s Joe).
The production is also really solid on the album. Everyone involved on the project, from the producers to the writers, did a really good job of making sure no song sounded alike and that the guys utilized their voices in different ways so it wouldn’t get monotonous.
Lastly, it’s pretty obvious the time apart helped the band’s overall sound. It was amazing to hear the influences from Nick’s solo project in songs like “I Believe” and “Cool.” Also, the DNCE influences from Joe’s solo days were apparent on songs like “Only Human” and “Don’t Throw it Away,” which felt like the brothers entering the worlds of each other’s respective music.
The only knock I have against this album is that, even though it did a good job of making sure every song had a different sound, some songs toward the back half of the album got a little cliche and corny with songs like “Strangers,” “Comeback” and “Happy When I’m Sad.” They were cliche in the sense that they sounded dated and felt like any generic pop singers would have sung the lyrics and it wouldn’t change the feeling of the song at all.
After 10 years of not releasing music as a band, the Jonas Brothers proved that time apart can do a group good. “Happiness Begins” is a solid comeback album and borrows from other pop songs in the best ways possible. Nick and Joe have only gotten better vocally and their chemistry is better now than it’s ever been. This is a nice foundation for an adult “boy band” navigating through 2019’s pop landscape.
Favorite Songs: “Cool,” “Don’t Throw It Away,” “Rollercoaster,” “I Believe,” “Used to Be”