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Sounds like … the sugary teen pop of Hanson, Jesse McCartney, or Aaron Carter with the punk-pop of Busted or Bowling for Soup, as sung by Jake or a young Michael Jackson or Stevie WonderAt a glance … though Nicholas Jonas does wield an impressively soulful voice for his age, he and his brothers have yet to overcome shallow songwriting and an awkward mishmash of styles that pales next to other pre-teen pop/rock acts. Track Listing I Am What I Am Mandy One Day at a Time Time for Me to Fly 6 Minutes You Just Don't Know It Underdog Don't Tell Anyone 7:05 Hey It's Gonna Be Alright Dear God
With a soulful, prepubescent tenor that's been compared to a young Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson, 13-year-old Nicholas Jonas has already made a name from performing in various Broadway shows (including Les Misérables). There were originally plans for him to release a solo album in late 2004, but those were scrapped after a later group audition with brothers Joseph (16) and Kevin (18). Instead, INO and Columbia Records chose to promote the Jonas Brothers, the three sons of a New Jersey pastor who co-founded Christ for the Nations Music.
It's About Time tries to make inroads with the same pre-teen punk-pop favored by Radio Disney's audience through bands like Busted and Bowling for Soup. Do we really need another, especially one that comparatively sounds so thrown-together and derivative? Fans of the genre already know similar-but-better songs about the odd girl with morals ("Underdog") and staying true to oneself ("I Am What I Am"). Cross that with the pop of Jesse McCartney and Aaron Carter and you've got Hanson gone punk—Jake meets Less Than Jake. The attempts at Motown ("Time for Me to Fly") and ballads ("One Day at a Time") suggest that Nick's solo album would have worked more smoothly.
The lyrics are no better, often plagued by lame rhymes and generic positivism. There are cutesy love songs about meeting (the extremely awkwardly phrased "6 Minutes") and break-up ("7:05"), the former making a reference to Catcher in the Rye sure to be lost on the intended tween audience. "Dear God" is the album's best song and most spiritual, a prayerful outpouring about the world's problems, but while "Time for Me to Fly" could be interpreted as a longing for heaven like "I'll Fly Away," the band describes it as the pursuit of their musical dreams. Word is that the Jonas Brothers are fun live, but they need to develop a more workable musical identity than a sugary garbage soda of pre-teen pop/rock.