Release Date: Feb 2, 2010
Record label: Hollywood
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
”She leaves me breathless,” sings Nick Jonas in one of the many handsome bad-love ballads on his solo debut. Yet fronting a band of studio pros (including alums of Prince’s New Power Generation), the youngest JoBro rarely sounds overexerted. Beyond a pair of hopped-up ”Superstition” rewrites, the low-key Who I Am mostly plays like Take Your Kid to Work Day at the Anaheim House of Blues.
Nick Jonas rules the Jonas Brothers with such authority that he’s called the president within the JoBro inner circle, so stepping out on his own backed by the Administration (clever name there) isn’t a question of stifled creativity, it’s a statement of ambition. A close listen to the Brothers’ 2009 album Lines, Vines and Trying Times indicates exactly what that ambition would be: to sound like Steve Winwood backed by the New Power Generation, and that’s exactly what Nick achieves on 2010’s Who I Am. Immaculately manicured and impeccably clean, Who I Am alternates between slow soul ballads and vamps that run in place, always providing evidence of Jonas’ by-the-books good taste and studious sincerity.
After winning this year's Grammy for best country album, Taylor Swift thanked her label in her annoying gosh-darn-it way for letting her write every song on her album. Young pop stars, it seems, understand the cachet of authenticity better than ever, which is why youngest Jonas Brother Nick has styled himself as Springsteen Jr. on his solo debut. [rssbreak] Who I Am is dotted with the sonic touchstones of musical "realness": the amplifier buzz that opens Rose Garden; the guitar-string squeaks; the ragged, bluesy solos; the fact that the Administration look like a poor man's E Street Band; and, above all, that trademark Jonas baby growl, too whiny and virginal to convey any vocal brawn.
Unless you are the sort of person that has been without a radio, a television, a magazine or Internet access for the last several years, you have probably heard of Nick Jonas (and if you are that sort of person, welcome to the Internet! Thanks for choosing No Ripcord!) Still, here are the facts: - Nick Jonas is one-third of the Jonas Brothers, a wildly successful, Disney-backed pop-rock band. - The Jonas Brothers' success is due partially to their radio-friendly rock songs, partially to their alignement with Disney and partially to their "good boy" image, which has garnered them a large female fanbase (ages 8 to 16, mostly). - Who I Am is Nick Jonas's second album, the first since his 2004 release and the first solo release since his Jonas Brothers success.
Despite a great pop voice, Jonas struggles to cross into the rock world. Fraser McAlpine 2010 When a young pop star with a huge, devoted audience attempts to make the jump from the teen present to a more grown-up future, there is often a shocking crunching of gears. There are bad approximations of older artists' work, and strained attempts to sound gruff and experienced, using a reedy voice which squeaks a lot.