Nick Jonas’ ‘Spaceman’ fails to launch
Sophia Michetti | Friday, March 19, 2021
In keeping with his reputation as the Jonas brother with the most swag, Nick Jonas’ new solo album “Spaceman” is driven by synthetic pop backtracks and lyrics about love. Given the Jonas brothers’ recent reunion, the release of another solo album from the youngest brother comes as a bit of a surprise. Still, Jonas returns to the spotlight with new songs similar to some of his older hits like “Jealous” and “Chains.” The only question which arises, though, is whether his music’s seen any growth over the past few years or not.
The best songs on this album are the ones with melodic choruses and sweet lyrics. “If I Fall” is the longest song on the album at just under four minutes, and there’s a real vulnerability to the lyrics as Jonas sings about never falling again “‘till I fall again for you.” “Nervous” is another example of how honesty makes the best songs. When Jonas sings about how the “blood rush[es] right to my temple every night that you tell me you love me,” the effect is one that will make any hopeless romantic’s heart soar.
However, title track “Spaceman” is by far the most interesting song on the album because it illustrates the hardships everyone is facing as the pandemic continues. Jonas uses the character of a spaceman to reflect how many people feel alone in this world. He explains in his lyrics how the “TV tells me what to think” and how “maybe, I should drink.” The song doesn’t seem to be showing a light at the end of the tunnel, especially when he sings, “They say it’s a phase, it’ll change if we vote / And I pray that it will, but I know that it won’t.” While “Spaceman” is a fascinating song to think about, don’t listen to it if you’re not in a good mood.
A major problem with “Spaceman” is that many songs sound identical. Nearly every song is characterized by synthetic beats in the background, hardly any actual instrument sounds, a falsetto chorus and a fast tempo. While it’s important that an album has a common thread running through all of its songs to make it a cohesive work, making it hard to differentiate between two songs because they sound exactly the same is a problem. Not every song takes to this formula, though. “Delicious” has an interesting beginning where it sounds like an old TV program is going in and out, and “Spaceman” is one of the slower and bouncier songs on the album. However, this pair of songs aren’t unique enough to outweigh the rest of the album.
Moreover, the majority of the songs have the same message. On nearly every track, Jonas sings about drinking, sex, love or all of the above. One of the repeated phrases in the song “2Drunk” is “now I’m high as a ceiling,” and the sentiment gets old while listening to the entire album. It wouldn’t hurt for Jonas to switch up the topics of his songs a bit more. There’s nothing wrong with songs people can dance to and have fun with, but it doesn’t hurt to provide a bit more variation.
A question left at the end of “Spaceman” is why the album is called “Spaceman” at all. On every song except the title track, Jonas sings about love in a fast-paced, club-like tone, so there’s a disconnect between the title of the album and what its songs collectively say. Jonas has had some fun and lasting pop hits throughout his solo career, but “Spaceman” isn’t the height of his musical career by any means. I could be biased, though — Joe was always my favorite.
Artist: Nick Jonas
Label: Island Records
Favorite tracks: “If I Fall,” “Nervous,” “Spaceman”
If you like: ZAYN, Shawn Mendes, DNCE
Shamrocks: 2 out of 5