In October 2013, the teen idols comprised of siblings Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas confirmed the split of their highly-successful band, Jonas Brothers. Nick and Joe focused on solo projects while Kevin started his family and business. They grew up, but they never grew completely apart in their brotherly bond despite the differences that caused the band’s breakup. They reunited once again musically as the Jonas Brothers in February, dropped a couple singles and have now released their comeback album — one that features their most mature and energetic sound to date.
Happiness Begins, the 14-track summer anthem album that is practically rejuvenating, was released on Friday. It marks not only the magnitude of the brothers’ return, but how much time apart can do a band well.
The brothers released an Amazon Prime-exclusive documentary, Chasing Happiness, that delves into the band’s initial rise to fame and fallout. Despite constantly churning out chart-topping tracks, the brothers started to feel “emotionally strained” and broke up the band to safeguard the family. Now they’re back better than ever and ready to share their newfound happiness with eager fans.
Happiness Begins is the best way the brothers could have marked their comeback, considering none of the 14 tracks are substandard. The vocals throughout the entire album are unbelievable, and the production includes a lot of variety — listeners are even offered a taste of reggae with “Only Human” and “Every Single Time” — that continuously sustains a grooviness to it. The lowest point, “Happy When I’m Sad,” has immense potential, but the track should’ve been expanded upon more lyrically and is just too short. Nonetheless, it’s still good. The two singles, “Sucker” and “Cool,” start the album off well, displaying the most important part of the brothers’ growth: they’ve each found love and have maintained their confidence throughout everything. Most importantly, with this album, the Jonas Brothers have given us a grand reminder: The passion they exuded never left once they grew up, and it’s here to stay indefinitely.
Here are the best five songs off Happiness Begins:
Listeners are blessed with Nick and Joe’s immense vocal power throughout the entire album, and “Strangers” gives a taste of how effortless falsettos are for the brothers — particularly Joe in this case. A steady drum begins this tale of two people who, with one glance, feel like they’ve known one another forever. The track seems to set the scene for what each brother felt when they met their respective wife. Nick poetically convinces listeners in the pre-chorus that he fell in love instantly: “Time stands still, and it’s only us / What we feel started way before we ever touched / Just imagine only us / Yeah, you found me right before I’d given up.” The chorus suggests the two people locking eyes aren’t strangers anymore. Joe and Nick harmonize in the post-chorus, with Joe hitting unbelievable notes. The synth-pop track is an expressive, endearing love story, and it gets better with every listen.
4. “Don’t Throw it Away”
Synth-pop dominates a huge portion of this album, and “Don’t Throw it Away” is no different. The message of this track is quite straightforward: Don’t purge something, especially a valuable relationship, without giving it a lot of thought. Nick starts with persuasive reasoning as to why this is something that deserves more thought, adding a sly remark: “I bet no one else gets you like me.” The chorus contains — yet again — some stunning vocals. As the track progresses, Nick becomes more and more understanding: “I know it hurts, and that’s OK / If it’s too much to open up, then give it time / I see it in your eyes, so let’s sleep on it tonight.” Every single lyric has genuinity and passion in it, and it’s a wholly infectious song.
This track was teased in Nick’s interview about the band’s split with Amazon Prime and later in Chasing Happiness, and rightfully so. It’s a wonderful way of explaining the Jonas Brothers’ shaky ending and how each brother grew from it. Snare drums, soothing guitar from Kevin and backing vocals from OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder —who helped write “Sucker” and “Cool”— blend perfectly with the brothers’ vocals. Joe and Nick compare the falling action of the band to a rocky rollercoaster, but it’s something they don’t regret having to endure: “Those days that are the worst, they seem to glow now / We were up and down and barely made it over / But I’d go back and ride that rollercoaster.” The brothers disclose here their band’s breakup happened to help them reform and come back stronger — and it’s so great to see.
Nick revealed to Billboard in April this track is “Joe’s love letter” to his then-fiancee, now wife, actress Sophie Turner. Joe vocalizes the first half of the track, telling Turner in the chorus she helped him in more ways than she’ll ever know, and he’ll spend the rest of his life doing the same for her: “I will take your pain and put it on my heart / I won’t hesitate, just tell me where to start / I thank the oceans for giving me you / You saved me once, and now I’ll save you, too / I won’t hesitate for you.” Nick covers the next portion before the two brothers end the track harmonizing together. Joe hits inexplicably beautiful notes, and the brothers win over the hearts of many through this gorgeous piece.
1. “I Believe”
Just as Joe created a song for his wife, Nick told Billboard he wrote “I Believe” — and it’s just as endearing — for his wife, actress Priyanka Chopra. Though the couple had known each other for much longer, they got engaged after two months of dating, and people had something to say about it. Nick addresses this in the track: “People saying that we move too fast (too fast) / But I’ve been waiting for a reason / Ain’t no turning back.” Again, synth-pop is the go-to for this track, and it flows so well with Nick’s sentimental words: “’Cause you show me something I can’t live without / I believe, I believe, I believe / When you hold me, it’s like Heaven coming down.” Nick and Joe sing heart-stirring lyrics together in the chorus: “Nothing matters any longer; now I got you here with me.” The chill vibe fused with the profound lyricism is irresistible, and it’s the best on Happiness Begins.