Nick Jonas & The Administration
Who I Am (Hollywood)
Nick Jonas is a lot of things to a lot of people. As a member of the pop-rock for preteens act the Jonas Brothers, he gets girls arguing about whether or not he's the cutest one. Parents probably get into dustups with their kids over how much of the three demons that haunt their home entertainment systems every night is too much. One thing we can all agree on though is that with Jonas brothers Joe and Kevin now in their 20s, 17-year-old Nick is the greenest of the trio. It's a bit of a surprise then that Who I Am, Nick's first album with the Administration, sounds like it was written by someone considerably older.
Steering clear of the giddy power-pop and ooey-gooey love ballads of the JoBro's, the album finds Jonas dabbling instead with an adult-contemporary sound.
The slow jam “Olive & An Arrow”, for instance, unfurls soulful Hammond organ lines and decidedly dad-friendly vibraphone plunks before the teen does his best breathy John Mayer impersonation.
Other songs tackle hard-and-heavy funk (“State of Emergency”) and AM-gold soft rock (“In The End”). Whatever style, though, it always sounds like Jonas is trying too hard to sound grown up.
The saddest part about his over-eagerness to demonstrate how mature he's become is that he likely didn't have much of an adolescence to grow out of. The slow-burning opener “Rose Garden” is rumoured to be about former flame and fellow Disney Channel alum Selena Gomez, but the tune's tale of a kid being tossed into the workforce at a tender age sounds fairly autobiographical.
While Who I Am is a perfectly decent record, it's unclear who will actually want to give it a listen. Its raging blues-guitar solos and gospel organs probably won't impress kids obsessed with the glossy, high-energy hits of the Jonas Brothers. Conversely, it's unlikely anyone nearing the far side of the 18-49 demographic will take this teen idol seriously.
“I want someone to love me for who I am/I want someone to need me. Is that so bad?” Jonas croons desperately on the album's title cut. Unfortunately, Who I Am will likely show the young musician that you can't always get what you want.
Download This: “Rose Garden”