By Esme Mazzeo, Staff Writer
Let's be honest, when Nick Jonas announced he was pursuing a solo project while The Jonas Brothers took a break, a lot of people rolled their eyes. But "Who I Am," the debut effort from Nick Jonas & The Administration, leaves no doubt in listeners minds that baby Jonas is not just trying to capitalize on his popularity while he can.
He has a clear musical vision that could never find a home on a Jonas record, but which needs to be heard. "Who I Am" is clearly and unapologetically a blues/soul album, but of course there is enough pop influence to get the singles played on Top 40 radio. Jonas' lyrics are surprisingly mature and depressing coming from a 17-year-old.
This leaves us to wonder just how much we know about the life & loves of The Jonas Brothers. The lead single "Who I Am" is, for the most part, upbeat rock with a little blues infused in the lyrics, such as, "I want someone to need me/Is that so bad?" It was the obvious choice for the first single, as it is the track that is most blatantly in the pop genre. But then there are tracks like "In The End," a slow bluesy track which finds Jonas warning, "Baby, it all comes back to haunt you in the end/Baby, it hurts the most when you don't have a friend," with as much pain in his voice as we could ask of someone his age.
The more fun, funky tracks like "Conspiracy Theory" and "Last Time Around" are probably the easy choices for future singles, as they are probably the most relatable to his built-in audience of tween girls. Still, the amount of talent and depth Jonas reveals on this 10 track album should not go unnoticed. "Vesper's Goodbye" is a ballad that explores the pain involved in witnessing "A lover's final breath" and "Stronger (Back On The Ground)" is about relying on the strength of a relationship while going through hard times. "Tonight" is the only recycled Jonas track, which Nick slows, changing it from a power pop ballad to a more emotionally driven, piano heavy, soul type deal.
Overall, "Who I Am" is a surprisingly impressive collection of music. I'm not saying buy it, but definitely think twice before you underestimate the raw talent of the Brothers, I know I will.