I have no shame in admitting that I am a Jonas Brothers fan. I own every episode of their comedy stint on the Disney Channel, could tell you the singles released from their 4 albums (obviously excluding the Jonas LA and their concert) and even own the ridiculously priced ‘Burning Up’ tour book I once spotted at an airport. Once I even wrote a song about them, but let’s not talk about that.
When news broke that the Jo Bros, here in known as ‘my boys’, had broken up, I was somewhat shattered. Obviously not the grief you feel when you lose someone close or a tragedy occurs, let’s be real; but sad enough that the scenario rated between losing a pet goldfish and accidentally donating your favorite toys to goodwill. In other words, my convoluted and deeply cared for Teeny Bopper Universe had experienced an entire country (known as Jonas Land) disappear.
Yesterday the boys were kind enough to release their final five tracks to fans. They had been recorded for the now defunct ‘V’ album and were released as a thank you and farewell. After downloading and listening to them before turning to my intense library of Jonas songs, I realized something profound; I had not paused to blog about this pivotal moment in Teeny Bopper Universe. So here is my last tribute to Jonas Land, and the boys who taught me it was OK to like attractive males, who loved Jesus and played guitar.
For nostalgia sake, I can’t help but look back at when it all started. 2006 was the year, and the boys released their debut ‘It’s About Time’. To put it bluntly, it’s a pretty terrible album. The potential is there, but there’s something in Nick’s not-yet-broken voice and the awkward cover that makes you cringe. Never the less, it was enough to give them the boost they needed and they hit super stardom with the release of the single S.O.S. and their sophomore self-titled album.
WHAM! The world met the Jonas Brothers. Predictably the Disney Channel jumped on board and gave them their own reality TV series ‘Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream’, while they also guest starred on Hannah Montana. Joe scored the leading role in the hit Disney flick ‘Camp Rock’ opposite Demi Lovato and he and his brothers went on to star in its sequel. A midst all this, they managed to open for the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana tour, release a third album and then hold the ‘Burning Up’ tour (made into a 3D movie) to coincide with this.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that Disney decided they wanted to make ANOTHER TV series with them? Aptly named JONAS, it ran for two seasons and included the release of a soundtrack. Thoroughly on a roll within the Hollywood vortex of fame, the boys released their fourth album in 2009. ‘Lines, Vines and Trying Times’ was widely popular, and then everything seemed to go quiet.
We heard that Nick was on Broadway, then he popped up with the release of a solo album. A little later, Joe released a debut titled, ‘Fastlife’ revealing a new maturity and sensuality not seen in the band’s work. Kevin got married, and then decided to film the reality TV show ‘Married To Jonas’ now in its second season. So when I say ‘quiet’, I mean that the band named ‘Jonas Brothers’ was strangely inactive as a unit. There were rumors of a break up, but nothing was confirmed. Then, hallelujah, we heard early in 2013 that the boys were to release a new album titled ‘V’( pronounced ‘Five’). Two singles were released and they moved into the spotlight once again. Numerous concerts were held and all seemed to be going well; there was even plans and tickets bought for a tour. That’s when we heard the Jonas Brothers were done. Defunct. Zilch. No more.
The media speculated about many things. Was there conflict between the brothers? Were any of the boys taking drugs? And what about all that dang good music? When the boys finally spoke out, they were honest. Well, at least as honest as you can be about family relationships on national TV. In any case, they were choosing to preserve their family over the band. They would each continue in the industry, but as individuals. You can watch their interview about this here.
So where does this leave Teeny Bopper Universe? I think it’s fair to say the Jo Bros have left their mark on the industry, or at least Disney. Sure they were just another boy band, but their ability to work together as a family in so many sectors of the media, at such an age, and in this develop a worldwide allegiance of fans, is respectable. Not to mention the cultural phenomenon they bought in with the ‘promise ring’ (it was cool while it lasted). I would be lying to say that I’m fine with the break up. I mean, they were just a band, I never even saw them in concert. Yet, I see that I am grieving for something far greater than a band- I’m grieving for my childhood. Just as I did when Miley Cyrus…did her thing, and Selena starred in an R rated movie.
It’s not so much about what they are doing, even though I am passionate about this and want the best for them and their fans. It’s more about the fact that things grow and pass. People and their behavior changes, our beliefs and values alter and we mature. In many ways, the spotlight on the boy’s growth simply enhanced what we were all experiencing at the time- a generation was growing up. This is life. But I still miss the promise ring days; the days of straightened hair and Camp Rock sing-alongs. The days when I was more concerned about buying the next album instead of what I could afford grocery shopping. This long drawn out end to the Jonas Brothers is therefore significant to me, because it reminds me that I am growing up. And just as the boys have accepted that, so must I.
Never the less, in true teenybopper fashion, I salute you Jonas Brothers. Thank you for making my life a bit happier, for giving me good clean music to obsess over and for having extremely interesting hair. I will miss you. Thank you for growing up with me. it’s been a blast.