It seems like every time we turn around, the Jonas Brothers are dropping a new record. 10 months ago, A Little Bit Longer was the number one album in the country, and it's not shaping up to be anything different with their follow-up, Lines, Vines and Trying Times. Yearly releases are often a huge risk. Sure, they offer fans new content without much wait, but they can pose a problem if the music loses quality and integrity with the rushing of each new disc. Surprisingly, though, the cleverly titled Lines, Vines and Trying Times seems to have weathered the fast-track recording storm fairly well.
Leading the promotion efforts for this new album was the first single and second cut on the record, "Paranoid." A track that's only mediocre at best, things didn't look too promising when the song first hit radio a couple months back. What seems to be different, however, about Lines, Vines and Trying Times compared to most records in general, is that the tracks get increasingly better and more engaging as you progress through them. For example, while the first four cuts on the disc are your typical Jonas Brothers fanfare, "Hey Baby," the fifth track, becomes the record's first gem, boasting a guitar solo from Gospel/blues artist Jonny Lang. "Before the Storm," featuring the vocals of Miley Cyrus, borders on adding a hint of country flair to the record, while "Much Better" adds a retro spin and even includes a full brass ensemble. Undoubtedly the most interesting track features a duet with Grammy-winning rapper Common, who proclaims "Only God can judge me, touch me, fill me." Based on originality, this track alone earns the album some high marks.
Along with decent musical content comes the wholesome lyrical content that has been a part of the trio since their origin in the Christian market. It should come as no surprise that the Jonas Brothers love to sing about girls and relationships, whether good or bad, but the way in which they do so is never degrading, which will keep the fans' parents happy.
A few weaknesses do slightly mar the record. Kevin, Joe and Nick still haven't managed to shake the power-pop sound on several of the tracks, although there are signs of progression with each new album. In other words, the whole Disney image is going to have to go at some point, whether sooner or later. Another usual complaint is the lack of faith based lyrics. However, at this point in their career, despite their personal beliefs, we've come to expect it. Along with many other artists with personal backgrounds in faith (Flyleaf, The Fray, Copeland - to name a few), the Jonas Brothers don't want to be labeled as a "Christian band."
When it comes down to it though, the band did something right this time around. Maybe it's that Nick's falsetto is no longer annoying or it could just be that the originality factor stands out here. That's something you'd have to admit regardless if you're a fan or not. And while there's always room of improvement, you may want to give Lines, Vines and Trying Times a spin or two.- Review date: 6/15/09, written by Logan Leasure of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Hollywood Records
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