Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ALBUM REVIEWS: Jonas Brothers' "A Little Bit Longer" & Miley Cyrus' "Breakout"

The Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus may not sing the same kind of music or the same caliber of music, but they do have a very similar fan base: screaming teens. Another thing that they have in common is that they are both products of evolution--not only their own, but that of the music industry. Back in the 90s or even the early 00s, when an artist "matured," it pretty much meant that they discovered their bellybuttons, the opposite sex, and how keeping their name in the press translates well into album sales and sold out arenas. The sound of the Jonas Brothers and Miley's albums, however, is mature both lyrically and production-wise.

It is true that Miley Cyrus has gone the Britney-Christina-Hilary Duff route with her public persona and image, but she did manage to squeeze out a few good songs in spite of it. Two things Disney stars have to be careful of is 1) having to lip synch because of their horrible vocals and 2) having juvenile lyrics backed by dance beats. I'll admit that Cyrus' voice is quite untraditional for someone her age. Ask anyone and they'll tell you that the girl sounds like she's a 40-year-old country singer who's smoked since she was 10. In fact, in her double album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, she had a track called "See You Again," where she sounded like a young Blondie. On this album, she has a few songs that showcase her unique voice, like "The Driveway," which she co-wrote:

Fun Dance Tracks: "Breakout" & Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" remake

The Jonas Brothers did a better job of stepping into the next phase of their musical careers, solidifying their chances of at least securing a more stable (and decidely older) fan base. I think the main issue with boy bands of the 90s is that they relied to heavily on a formula, giving their fans the same product wrapped in a new gimmick. When Justin Timberlake broke out of N'Sync he reinvented himself and when he returned from his hiatus, he "brought sexy back." What the Jonas Brothers have done is allow their more mature musical influences that most of their fans have never heard of seep into their new music, creating a sound (nearly) for all ages--well, at least female ones.

The album was written by all three brothers with a few tracks that were only written by Nick. Unlike Cyrus's first single "7 Things," I immediately fell in love with "Burnin' Up." When I previewed the album on AOL, I expected great pop/rock-driven tracks, like "Shelf," "Tonight," and "Pushing Me Away," and beautiful ballads, like "Sorry." But instead, I kept these on steady replay:

"Lovebug" is a sweet, seemingly acoustic track that reminds me of Jason Mraz's folk love music if it were set in Hawaii:

"Got Me Going Crazy," which was written by Nick, sounds like a Vegas-y rockin song:

"A Little Bit Longer," the title track is my favorite ballad on the album and it was also written by Nick. He was said to have written it about his hospital stay when he was diagnosed with diabetes. Tell me it doesn't make your eyes water:

All in all, both releases show promise for better albums in the future.

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