Jonas Brothers

by: Jonas Brothers

Almost a year to the date after their first album, It's About Time, hit stores, the Jonas Brothers delivered their eponymous sophomore record. In that year, the trio departed Daylight/Columbia and set up camp at Hollywood Records (thereby making the debut a bit of a collector's item), and they also matured a bit too. If It's About Time was overtly kiddie in its mentality in certain stretches -- for confirmation, listen to "Year 3000," their first hit and tacked onto the end of this album as a bonus -- Jonas Brothers veers toward the teenybopper market, as its songs aren't quite as cutesy and the sound is just a little bit more muscular than before. The group still sounds quite a bit like Hanson -- not the latter-day journeyman incarnation, but the earlier, fizzier trio that had hits in the late '90s -- and they admit as much in "That's Just the Way We Roll," where they battle and lose to Hanson. That kind of good humor goes a long way here, since it helps give the Jonas Brothers an identity beyond being just Junior Hansons -- although that alone would serve them well, since they're cheerful, good-natured, and, best of all, tuneful. They're best when the tempo is a bit sprightly -- it brings out the snap in their bubblegum, as the sugary, addictive "Hold On," "Goodnight and Goodbye," and "Still in Love with You" prove -- but they're still quite charming when they ease into numbers designed for middle school slow dances, like "Hello Beautiful." It all adds up an album that's tighter and better than their debut, and one that suggests that they not only deserve their popularity on Radio Disney, but they might have the writing and performing skills to last beyond that as well. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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