Review Summary: This record lives and dies by the face on the cover. Nick Jonas is the reason this will sell, but his subpar and at times impossible to listen to music stand as the reason that this is not worth your time and money.
When I heard that Nick Jonas was making a solo album, or should I say an album with his new "band" The Administration, it was bittersweet. On one hand, it gave me hope that after staying around far too long, The Jonas Brothers would finally fade into irrelevance. On the other, I knew that teenage girls would eat this up as the cries of an anguished spoiled soul who gets everything from girls to money to middle aged jazz guitarists with presumably enough talent to back someone other than Nick Jonas, and quote the lyrics in Picniks and MSN statuses and whatever. Of course every album has some potential, I suppose, so I gave it a very cautious try.
The "project" begins with the song Rose Garden, which is rumoured (according to the Youtube comments I'm reading) to be about Selena Gomez. However, that's as much meaning as you'll get from it. It starts with some tuning and drumming and random chords and eventually assembles itself, although the opening lyrics were almost enough for me to give up on this entire album.
She was brought into this world
Out of a beautiful mistake
When her mom was just a girl
And her daddy didn't stay.
I'm sorry, but I have no idea what to say to that. Pop songwriting is fine. Pop lyric writing is fine. I have no problem with that. But if Nick Jonas is proud of this song, then I have nothing to say. This is an underproduced mess, and above all an awful opener. Nick Jonas, you are not a jazz writer. I almost gave up after this. Of course after that we get the hit single "Who I Am". As a pop song, I actually can't complain about it. There's some good guitar work, some juvenile and awful lyrics, and cliched themes. But it's not terrible, and it's not the worst thing I've ever heard. Neither is "Olive and an Arrow", the definition of song-writing mediocrity. It's not terrible, not good. Although there's some awful falsetto. Bleh.
That's mostly what the album is. It's a mediocre, average trip through someone who doesn't understand what he thinks he's singing about's mind. It's an amateur jazz-pop record. This is not worth buying, but I doubt anyone was in the middle about it. From what I've seen, either you're buying it or you're not. This review mostly stands as a "How bad is it?" for haters, and a "Please don't waste your money" to people who otherwise would. There's so much amazing music out there that it blows my mind how much we pander to mediocrity. The art of writing music has continued so beautifully into the 21st century that it breaks my heart how unappreciated it is. This record lives and dies by the face on the cover. Nick Jonas is the reason this will sell, but his subpar and at times impossible to listen to music stand as the reason that this is not worth your time and money.
The "Administration" know what they're doing instrumentally
"Who I Am" is an alright pop song
Far too much complexity instrumentally detracts from the good.