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Chasing, finding and creating happiness

Jonas Brothers

The youngest Wildcats were finishing the third grade when the Jonas Brothers released their last studio album. Nearly a decade later, the band has reunited and released a new album, a documentary and announced a world tour.

Typically, boy bands go through a roller coaster journey of forming, achieving worldwide success and then breaking up because one member feels they can conquer the world alone. After breaking up, boy band often members realize it is difficult to find success individually and attempt to put back together the pieces of a broken band to revel in those 15 minutes of fame.

But in the midst of individual success — Nick Jonas released chart-topping hits and starred in blockbuster movies, Joe Jonas formed the band DNCE and Kevin Jonas was a devout husband and father — the brothers decided to reconcile and do things their way, without Disney’s perfect image looming over them and their purity rings in the rear view mirror.

In their Amazon Prime documentary, “Chasing Happiness,” the brothers were candid in a way audiences have never seen before. The brothers revealed truths to each other while playing a drinking game, a refreshing, stark contrast from the calculated, robotic interviews they gave during their Disney tenure.

The least palpable scene of the documentary came when Kevin Jonas asked his brothers why they performed without him after the breakup, only to be told they thought he was holding them back. Additionally, he talked about being bullied as a child and constantly being asked what brother he was, making him feel like he was not an integral member of the band.

The breakup left the brothers fragmented. Nick Jonas, the one who ultimately decided they should go their separate ways, lost interest in the projects they were pursuing — including a tween show that he admitted was his biggest regret because it stifled their creativity. But it was also Nick Jonas who brought the brothers together and told them he missed the magic they had once created.

Joe and Kevin Jonas were stuck in their ways and did not want to get the band back together. They decided instead to travel together for the first time in years. During their trips, they began to play their hits. Then, it was undeniable; they wanted to get back together.

Their 14-track album, “Happiness Begins,” released June 8. The lead single “Sucker” was the first Jonas Brothers single to top the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The album is heavily about relationships: romantic, brotherly and idol-to-fans.

A decade ago, the brothers were not allowed to talk about their love life in order to keep their zealous fans happy and interested. Now, the three are married and ecstatic to talk and sing about their wives.

Joe Jonas attributes his wife, Sophie Turner, as being the reason why he wanted to mend his relationship with his brothers. The album includes “Hesitate,” a love letter to Turner about his dedication to remain by her side and make her burdens his. The lyrics take on a new meaning when considering Turner’s negative self-image and mental health before she met Joe Jonas, telling Glamour UK she found her happiness in him.

Meanwhile, Nick Jonas penned “I Believe” for his wife, Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The mid-tempo track alludes to the criticism that he and Chopra Jonas “moved too fast”, getting engaged two months after their Met Gala red carpet debut.

The brothers reflect on their past in “Rollercoaster.” Singing about the ups and downs, the feeling of possibly not making it in the business and having no money, the song is a summary of “Chasing Happiness.” In the early days, fans only saw the squeaky-clean boys. Meanwhile, their father lost his position in their church because the boys were not a Christian band. All the family’s money was put into the band, but the Jonas Brothers were dropped from their label.

Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas and Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers during the NCAA March Madness Music Series at The Armory on April, 6 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Photo by Daniel DeSlover/Sipa USA)

Once picked up by Disney, they saw commercial success that paved the road for future boy bands. Despite the creative differences that drove them away from each other, the brothers profess they are now ready to get “back and ride that roller coaster.”

The album ends with “Comeback,” a reminder that at the core of the band is brotherhood. The brothers sing about being in different places in their life but being ready to recreate what once was, not because they need it but rather because it’s what brings them happiness. But this isn’t just a song about the brothers reuniting; it’s about the fans coming along for the ride.

Kevin Jonas was not only hesitant to bring back the band because of past turmoil. He was worried the fans had outgrown the band.

This comeback is a united effort. With the album hitting number one on iTunes charts in 24 countries, it seems fans are ready to embrace the next Jonas Brothers chapter.

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