Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Album Review: Jonas Brothers - Lines, Vines and Trying Times (4.5 / 5)

"A little bit longer," sang the Jonas Brothers' on their last album, A Little Bit Longer (see review), which became among the best selling albums of 2008 and earning the bands first entry in the Rolling Stones Best 50 Albums of 2008, coming in at #40. Ironically the bands third album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times follows up less than year than the previous--not so long.

When a previous album succumbs to massive success, there's always the hard task of following up with something just as good or better. Lines, Vines and Trying Times, successfully avoids the lackluster, presenting something much more grown up and appealing than the last album. Whilst, A Little Bit Longer was pretty big on its catchy pop hooks and sugary ballads--this album is much more adult contemporary; brimming with some pretty brilliant pop/rock tunes; sounding almost just as good as today's biggest alternative (or pop/rock) bands. A Little Bit Longer, kicked off with the cheeky, guitar strung "BB Good," on here we find a more subdued start with, "World War III," (which isn't as epic as it sounds) is a nice blend of horns, strings and drums; a brilliant start to the album.

The single, "Paranoid" which is currently making waves at pop radio; I didn't particularly care for to begin with, but essentially it grew on me--as I expected it to do. Revering with a chastened guitar, It's hard to point out what I didn't like about it before. Following swiftly is, "Fly With Me" which has a more strong pop presence that most of the stuff on the album, followed with a great hook and killer chorus. I was just thinking this could be the next single and it turns out it could well be. "Poison Ivy," is your typical, classic 80's influenced mid-tempo pop/rock, backed with a brilliant melody, especially in the chorus. The 70's and 80's inspired "Hey Baby," has a nice bassline--it sounds like a slightly more acoustic version of Kelly Clarkson's, "Gone" from her sophomore album, Breakway. There's a lyric in the song that says ("I'm already gone, I'm already gone") using the same melody, those are exactly the same lyrics that Clarkson uses. Interesting.

The first ballad pops up halfway through the album and features fellow Dinsey star, Miley Cyrus "Before the Storm" is a very good ballad from the Jonas Brothers; It's not as soppy as, "When You Look Me In the Eyes" which I really loved--It's less lighthearted and more AC, adopting some brilliant orchestration. "What Did I Do Your Heart," has a spontaneous country-styled composition--sound something off a Rascal Flatts album. The Neil Diamond influenced, "Much Better" is one of my favorites on here. Pacing with drums and strings, eventually incorporating horns.

"Black Keys," is a simple piano and vocal ballad, embedded is some faint orchestration. "Don't Charge Me for the Crime," featuring rapper, Common--is a gritty rock number, finding some grittier vocals from the brothers. I love the guitar solo, I just think it's really cool. Common puts some good word too, it's nice to see some rap incorporated into the mix. After "Before the Storm," with Miley Cyrus, "Turn Right" is my favorite ballad on here, it's an acoustic offering--indulging in an absolutely beautiful melody. The album closes with, "Don't Speak" (an apparent ode to U2) it begins with an instrumental--Joe Jonas takes over here. It's a great ending to the album.

Lines, Vines and Trying Times, isn't life changing or groundbreaking, but the Jonas Brothers are on the right track. The album shows maturity and growth in their music, also showing some diversity in genres (I love that in an album) so it's a job well done.

Best: Paranoid, Fly With Me, Poison Ivy, Before the Storm, Turn Right, What Did I Do to Your Heart, World War III, Hey Baby


Mel said...

Finally a positive review of this by someone who's opinion I respect! I still haven't heard the album yet (I know - for shame!) but I play on doing a full review on Melismatic sometime this week. Thanks for making me excited about this again!

J.Mensah said...

Awww! :) "Finally a positive review of this by someone who's opinion I respect!" - that made my day! thank you :)

I was actually quite surprised it was so good and not so teen like as I expected.