Jonezetta
Cruel to Be Young


4.0
excellent

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
April 25th, 2009 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A guilty pleasure without the guilt.

By instinct, all things mature over time. There will come a day in a girl's life when Hannah Montana's influence on her life will fade, while a young man will (usually at age 24) eventually realize that fart jokes aren't really that funny. This is not unalike to a lot of music. Most musicians mature, both technically and in a songwriting-sense over the course of time. However, a lot of fun and naive bands haven't yet stepped out of their leisurely youthful sound (Paramore, Relient K) and in fact, may never do that; their only purpose in the industry is to feed the hungry ears of pre-pubescent starlets and tickle the taste buds of musical snobs looking for a guilty pleasure. To bring this into a healthy perspective here, Jonezetta was one of these bands (was being the operative word). Their debut, Popularity (which, ironically, was sadly underexposed) was brimming with dance beats, catchy hooks and spiraling synths. In essence, it was juvenile, campy but an irresistible good time. Two years after Popularity comes Jonezetta's infamous sophomore release: Cruel to be Young. The title may alone be an indicator to the maturation that took place between these two albums -- for while Cruel to be Young is still poppy, catchy and fun, Jonezetta has developed, honed and almost reinvented their distinctive sound.

Dropping the disco and dance influences, Cruel to be Young initially sounds like a completely different band. Songs channel all sorts of influences -- from Coldplay to As Cities Burn to The Classic Crime. This may not sound completely unconventional to a new listener, but when compared to Popularity, the difference is immense. Songs like the soaring title track have lead singer Robert Chilsom peaking through his newly honed falsetto (as he does for most of the album) over meandering keyboards (provided by new addition Tyler Kemp) and indie-tinged anthemic melodies. In a similar manner, Paint and Picture allows for Chilsom to showcase his best Chris Martin impression in a bountifully positive and cruising tune that exhibits the delightful songwriting that takes place throughout the record. Another fine example is the slack-jawed drawl of Sick in the Teeth, a delightful pentatonic exploration of harmony and cohesion, complete with guest vocals from Pedro the Lion's David Bazan.

Musically, Jonezetta is a far cry from a technically astounding band, but the instrumentation on Cruel to be Young does the right thing at the right time in almost every instance. Kemp's amiable pianos mimic Kyle Howe's lofty U2-like riffs, noodling abstractly over Alex Warren's (another new member) simple-but-sweet drumming. In the respectable up-beat manner of the album, the majority of songs are soaring anthems that are seemingly specifically tailored to match the sunshine and shadows of summertime. Unfortunately, this turns out to be the musical downfall of the album -- the sugary, sweet pop melodies are infectious and tickling, but it limits the appeal of the record. The bounce and zeal of songs like "Busy Body" can only work it's magic on people already in a pleasant mood, for in any other case, it's just downright repulsive.

Luckily, the amount of variation and hooks largely make up for the overdose of happiness that Jonezetta provide and Cruel to be Young ends up being a surprisingly mature and downright fun experience. The maturation since 2006 for Jonezetta succeeded hugely -- it's still the same fun Jonezetta, just without the blaring synth and campy lyrics. The bright tones and shimmering vocal performance presented cry out to be warranted by more marketing. It really is a shame that this gem will go widely unnoticed.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
April 26th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seriously though, check this out.

MassiveAttack
April 26th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

so this like a poppy indie band? I've never heard of 'em.

Waior
April 26th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, pree much. They're on Tooth and Nail (sigh), but they're fun.

I'd check 'em out and report back to me if it's awful, so I can get a musical reality check.

MassiveAttack
April 26th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

haha ok i'll dl this and listen tonight.

Waior
April 26th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay, solid. I hope you're not in a melancholic mood.

MassiveAttack
April 26th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

well when I went to dl it said as their tags: post-hardcore, progressive rock. So are they like Thrice? 'Cause if they are I'll be more interested lol, but I downloaded already.

Waior
April 26th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, they're really nothing like Thrice. Their first record is like a dance-rock The Killers meets Franz Ferdinand gig, and this is more like the new As Cities Burn record, or the other ones I recommended in my review.

As Cities Burn - Hell or High Water
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
The Classic Crime - The Silver Cord



MassiveAttack
April 26th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

k well I just started listening i'll get back to ya in 45 min.

not all into the vocal work, lyrically not bad, enjoying the guitar and drum work tho

you were right about the Coldplay mention. There are a few songs that use piano extensively with vocals and guitar. Works well, very poppy, on track 4 not bad at all so far.

Alright then I think I can make an assessment already halfway through for obvious reasons. I'm not into the pop indie style that much. This album is heavily laden on those hooks. Some of them are great others are tiresome. The vocal work isn't good enough for me to stay interested the whole time. "Busy Body" is just irritating because the vocalist's screams don't work. Other songs like "wide Awake" are pretty good. They have a knack for instrumental musicianship with pop hooks, I'll give 'em that; it is by far the best part of the album, always feels refreshing. So I'm kinda struck in the median. Th

This Message Edited On 04.26.09This Message Edited On 04.26.09This Message Edited On 04.26.09

Captain North
April 26th 2009


6792 Comments


Wait, since when do fart jokes stop being funny? Fart jokes are part of being human. I will need to check this out, because I didn't mind their debut.

Waior
April 26th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, okay. Well, yeah, it's very indie pop so if it's not your thing, it can be disconcerting.

North, fart jokes... good gravy, lad. I will however still recommend this album, it's better than they debut.

roofi
April 26th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

band's pretty crappy

Waior
April 26th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ugh.

MassiveAttack
April 26th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol. Seems I'm the majority me = win.This Message Edited On 04.26.09

Waior
April 26th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Grumph. You win this time.

MusicinaBox
April 27th 2009


513 Comments


if it is like Hell or High Water.....I'm in. gonna check this out.

Waior
April 28th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, if you like the song "Errand Rum" then run run run quickly to this.

ziroth
April 29th 2009


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nice review, I never really got into this much.

Waior
April 29th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey, I'm content with a 3 from you.



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