My Jonas Education

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In the book Eclipse, the third portion of the Twilight saga, Alice throws a party.  She asks the other vampires if they should “educate people’s taste in music, or go with comfortable and familiar.”  I love to have my taste in music educated!  I spend way too much money on music, and way too much time on artists’ MySpace pages and watching YouTube videos of live performances.  In general, I’m on the hunt for music that is fantastic, but is not mainstream popular.  Once a band or an artist becomes too much of a pop-culture event, I often don’t like them anymore.  If they are already a pop-culture event, I shy away from falling in love with their music at all.  But I am happy to say that, in the past few days, my taste in music has been educated in that very direction!

During the past few days, I have felt like absolute crap.  That’s no secret.  If you follow my facebook page, you might have noticed my daily (or more often) complaints UPDATES.  So when I’m awake, I’m looking for light, easy-listening type t.v. to watch.  I don’t want to get emotionally invested in a plot line.  I don’t want to be on the edge of my seat.  I don’t want to have to pay attention for an hour.  I want to blissfully cuddle into my pillow and blanket.  I want to be entertained and distracted.  If I fall asleep, I want to wake up and not care about what I missed, and be able to immediately be entertained and distracted by what’s on now.  My go-to for that need?  The Disney Channel, of course!

(Hello, my name is Dawn, and I’m a 27-year-old woman who enjoys Wizards of Waverly Place.  Is this the right meeting for me?)

Because I am somewhat familiar with The Disney Channel, I knew that there was a newer sitcom called Jonas.  On Saturday or Sunday (all the days are blurring together), there was some sort of Jonas marathon on the Disney Channel.  So, of course, what happens when I watch multiple episodes of a show?  I want to know more about the real people behind this show!

If you had asked me on Thursday, who are the Jonas Brothers? this is what I would have said:

“Um, they sing, I remember they opened for Hannah Montana a couple of years ago, according to A, K, and B.  (My summer babysitting girls, for whom the Hannah Montana concert was a highlight of their year.)  I’m pretty sure they’re really brothers.  I think they have a new show on the Disney Channel.  Oh, and their songs ‘SOS’ and ‘Burning Up’ have been on the radio.”

That’s all I knew about them…and I use the word knew very loosely.  (That last piece of trivia, as you may know, is information that sticks in my head.  I remember who sings the songs I hear on the radio.  Seriously…test me someday.  If I’ve heard it 3 or 4 times, I probably know who sings it.)  But of course there were lots of things I assumed, thanks to sterotypes and my ideas of how the world works.  We all have these assumptions, I think, even if we don’t realize it.  What I assumed about the Jonas Brothers:

-They are young boys, probably junior high age.

-They have a boy-band sound.

-None of them probably play any instruments.

-They probably don’t write their own songs.

-They will probably go in the way of NSync and 98 Degrees in a few years.  (The boy-bands that were popular when I was a teenager.)

-If I went to their concert, it wouldn’t be very entertaining for me.  Just poppy songs, possibly lip-synched, probably some choreographed dancing. 

Basically, I thought they were a gimmick, a trio of pretty faces that could be marketed to young girls, not the real deal.

 

Well, “Thursday me,” let me tell you, “Tuesday me” thinks they might just be the real deal, and they might just be around to stay!  I now feel the need to defend liking their music, since I am not a 16-year-old girl.  🙂  I read their IMDB profiles, I watched a few YouTube videos…Okay, I found the entire Jonas Brothers: 3D Concert Experience movie.  And watched it all yesterday.

And again today.

Okay, twice today.  I fell asleep a couple of times.  🙂

The Jonas Brothers are Kevin, Joe, and Nick, ages 21, 20, and 18.  They do write all their own songs, and they all play multiple instruments.  Their “Burning Up” tour, which was chronicled in the movie, would have been a fantastic show to see live.  So much fire!  🙂  And their music, live, oh my word.  Just perch me right on the edge of the stage, and I am a happy girl!  And that’s pretty much what the movie does, gives you a stage-side view of the concert.  If I’m still into their music next time I’m at Blockbuster, I might have to rent the movie, so that I can see it in higher quality video than YouTube quality!  And higher sound quality than laptop speakers!

I always find that the singles that are released for radio play are not representative of an artist’s work, but rather seem to be chosen to fit an image.  I always, always find that my favorite songs on a cd are songs that are not released for radio.  The songs “SOS” and “Burning Up,” I think, are catchy songs.  I enjoyed both when they came out on the radio.  But as I watched their concert…three times…I found those two songs to be more similar to each other than to anything else Jonas Brothers sing.  I could tell they are influenced by various styles.  I heard echoes of Muse and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  One song, “Goodnight and Goodbye,” reminded me of Maroon 5.  “Hello Beautiful” was more like Jimmy Needham or Matt Nathanson.  The way they started “Burnin’ Up” makes me think they might appreciate a good marching band drumline.  And then there was my favorite of them all, “Pushin’ Me Away,” which sounds more like alternative rock, maybe Saving Abel or something.  It was fantastic.  It was loud and angry and cynical, and not at all what I would imagine a 16-year-old girl who screamed at the sight of a Jonas would expect.  Or enjoy.  But for that song alone, I wish I had gone to a Jonas Brothers concert!  You can watch “Pushin’ Me Away” here.

As I watched episodes of Jonas, as well as the concert, I couldn’t help but notice they each wear a ring on their wedding-band finger.  What is it?  Says the middle brother Joe, “They are promises to ourselves and to God that we’ll stay pure until marriage.”  That’s right, our teen idol boys are Christian.  Very openly Christian!  A quote from third brother Nick on his IMDP profile:  “It doesn’t matter if the world is pulling you down.  With Christ you have everything.” 

I can’t know for sure after reading a few bios and interviews, and watching a few backstage scences…  But I don’t think these are children.  I think these are three mature and talented young men.  They know how to talk about their work.  They seem to know how to handle their personal lives in the face of a very public image.  They know how to play to the back row of a huge venue.  (I’m not quite sure how to explain that, but it’s important to me when I go to a concert.  John Mayer did not play to the back row.  I was in, like, the 10th row so I had a great time.  Keith Urban knows how to play to the back row!  When an artist “plays to the back row,” you won’t mind getting a cheaper ticket and sitting in the nosebleed section, because you’ll get just as much of a show as everyone else.  A rock concert has the potential to fill the space, so that you forget that you’re far away.  I get the feeling Jonas Brothers fill the space when they put on a concert!)

And most important, they know how to write a song!

I think I might be in love.

With the music, of course!  🙂

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