Happiness Begins
The Jonas Brothers have officially shed their Disney image and found their identity in love, family and redemption. (Illustration by Alexa Finkelstein, Pratt Institute)

The Jonas Brothers’ Triumphant Return, ‘Happiness Begins,’ Is Where Summer Starts

The Jonas Brothers are back with a new outlook on life and a new album that is sure to define the summer of 2019.

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Happiness Begins

The Jonas Brothers are back with a new outlook on life and a new album that is sure to define the summer of 2019.

After six long years, the Jonas Brothers have joined back up for their new album, “Happiness Begins.” The band’s timeless hits were the soundtrack to just about every 2000s kid’s childhoods, but their comeback album is jam-packed with songs that will absolutely define summer 2019. Not just for die-hard fans — for anyone and everyone.

If you don’t know who the Jonas Brothers are, we can safely assume you’re either blind, deaf, both, or living under a rock. The New Jersey-based brothers grew up steeped in music, be it performing at their father’s church or on Broadway, even before the band had started. In 2004, Columbia Records signed Nick, the youngest, as a solo artist, but later added his two older brothers, Joe and Kevin, to their label in 2005.

The boys played small gigs around the New England area before Disney picked them up. With the popularity of the band’s first genuine hit, a cover of Busted’s “Year 3000” in 2006, and their starring role in the Disney Channel original movie “Camp Rock” in 2008, the Jonas Brothers became a global sensation, graduating from a minivan to a private jet and playing sold out concerts worldwide.

The brothers triple-handedly defined an entire generation of kids born in the digital age. They were in concerts, clothing, television, the first platforms of social media and even YouTube. It’s an understatement to say they were solely a sensation — they were the pop-rock phenomenon. And yet, like many famous family bands, the brothers fell apart.

After their short appearance on Disney Channel through “JONAS,” people lost favor with them, believing that they were young and lame, especially through the widely-publicized purity ring and virgin-shaming controversy. In the growing stress, the group decided to take a break. Kevin got engaged in 2009 while Nick created a solo album as a side project a year after. The band tried to regroup, but once they realized their chemistry was gone, the brothers officially broke up in 2013.

Nick moved to New York, and after starring in the Broadway rerun, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” he began his career as a solo artist. Likewise, Joe also took to music through the band DNCE, who climbed to the top ten of US Billboard Hot 100 with their debut single, “Cake by the Ocean.” Kevin chose to step out of the spotlight in favor of starting a family with his wife, Danielle. After a brief run of their reality TV show, “Married to Jonas,” the couple now raise their two daughters in Los Angeles, California.

Although the brothers stayed in each other’s lives, it was unclear whether they would reunite, ever. That is until a slew of bread crumbs began to drop, starting with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show with Ryan Seacrest. In 2017, Nick Jonas was one of the featured hosts alongside Camilla Cabello and Sugarland and hinted at a possible reunion of the brothers.

A few months later, they announced the production of an Amazon documentary, “Chasing Happiness,” which premiered on June 4 on the Prime Video service. While initially, it was a history of the band, the brothers realized halfway through that it was a list of reasons to get back together.

In “Chasing Happiness,” the Jonas Brothers reflected on their childhood, how they rose and fall both as a band and as family. They agreed that the split was necessary for them to see life outside of each other and admitted that they all had grown tremendously because of it. The brothers then identified the issues that tore the band apart and discussed how they could make a healthy re-entry into the music industry.

“We started the conversation with, ‘I’ll do this if we can have fun together,” said Kevin. The documentary allowed them to travel around the world and reconnect as a family, playing old songs and reminiscing on times lost through conflict. They eventually decided that it was time to try again, but this time, they would do it on their own terms with open communication and the ultimate goal—chasing happiness.

With success under their belts, their creative process shifted from isolation to collaboration. The Jonas Brothers wrote most of their own songs back in the day, but now, Nick and Joe were able to bring in some of the greatest songwriters of the modern age that they had worked with during their solo careers.

The songwriting process is now, as Nick says, happening in a more “organic way.” Their more open relationship has created a healthy line of communication and all brothers feel that they’re able to create equally. They operate on the motto, “Dare to suck: all ideas are great ideas—any idea could lead to a better idea.”

After less than a year, the brothers finished writing the album. On March 1, the hype train left the station with their re-debut single, “Sucker” a classic Jonas Brothers track, updated with a new, modern pop sound. The music video followed, starring each of their wives in a hyperbolic, wealthy spin on the word “whipped.”

Funny as it is, the video established that the boys are back, but putting their families as a source of their happiness and making them a huge priority as they move forward. A month later, “Cool” and its hilarious, JB-style video emerged for the public. Both songs found huge popularity and skyrocketed up the Billboard Hot 100.

Finally, the wait was over; the world was reintroduced to the Jonas Brothers with their new album, “Happiness Begins,” on June 7.

“Happiness Begins” is overflowing with the Jonas Brothers-spirit — fun, catchy, and makes you want to dance, but, it also has a summer beach-hang vibe that seems to be heavily borrowed from Joe’s work with DNCE, with tracks like “Only Human” and “Every Single Time” that literally feel like a speed boat trip through The Bahamas. And of course, you can’t discount the major confidence boost that both “Sucker” and “Cool” bring to the table.

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All in all, the entire album can arguably be sorted into the perfect summer day, with the ego-boosting grooves in the front, the get in your feels jams next, and the growth-focused bops like “Rollercoaster” for the car ride home. But while “Happiness Begins” is a beautiful addition to our summer, the brothers lined their sunny style with an overall meaning — familial love.

“I Believe,” “Hesitate” and “Love Her” are all ballads to their wives, who inspired their transformation from boys to men. They pay homage to the love they found that eventually led to their own reconciliation as brothers. The album also leans heavily towards their rejuvenated connection. Some of the songs on the album discuss their relationship over the past six years.

“Happy When I’m Sad” and “Strangers” can be seen as an overall sentiment of the brothers after their split. The culmination of years of issues is found in “Rollercoaster,” acknowledging that regardless of the difficult times they may have experienced as a band, the opportunity to play music alongside their closest family members is where happiness truly begins with the Jonas Brothers. The song reminisces on their earlier days, and how even in the ups, downs, twists, and turns, they would gladly relive it — together.

With their new album, The Jonas Brothers have proven they are back and better than ever. Be sure to add these hot jams to your summer playlist, and get ready for summer to start where “Happiness Begins.”

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