Sunday, June 12, 2016

Kat's Korner: The growls and moans of Nick Jonas

Kat:  On "Under You," Nick Jonas finally answers the eternal question of 1 out of 10 men, "Top or bottom?"

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Not after reading the most ridiculous pieces of music journalism ever.


For FLAVORWIRE, Shane Barnes wrote an angry snit fit on the verge of the release of LAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED.  In it he slams Nick Jonas for being . . . gay friendly.

Apparently, unless and until Nick Jonas hops into a bed with a man and provides photographic or video evidence of the deed, Barnes wants him to know he's just not making it.

Axl Rose, in "One In A Million," expressed racism and homophobia.  That was released in 1988.

And released on the label of then-still-in-the-closet David Geffen.

It was released, it got radio airplay.

In 2014, Nick Jonas is being slammed for being gay friendly but not friendly enough to pose with a penis in his mouth?

Barnes needs to get a grip.

LAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED is a strong album -- mainly because Nick Jonas can sing.

I don't just mean notes.

I'm not sure how impressive his range is.

It's hard to tell because he knows how to sell a lyric.

Judy Garland, for example, basically sang in a child's range.

It worked because she knew how to make you believe what she was singing.

Singing, at its finest, is supposed to be about more than the notes, it's supposed to be about conviction.

On 2014's NICK JONAS, Nick sang "Push" with more conviction than anything that made the radio that year.

Since "Push," it would be a stupid play to underestimate the artist.

On the just released LAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED, Nick achieves something similar with the lead single "Close" -- a duet with Tove Lo.

That song's straight up clear.

But "Bacon"?

I like the song.

Leave the rap (by Ty Dolla $ign) aside -- I don't think the raps necessarily go with the songs  but I'll come back to those.

Setting aside the rap, we're left with the singing.  This is about sex?

Maybe sex with a woman on the side.  (Or a man.)

Do we listen to the lyrics:

I know you been hoping I give in
But I ain't feeling that feeling, no
Babe you right, maybe I'm tripping
The one thing I love more than being with you
And that's late nights, doing what I wanna do
I got sleep eyes; I woke up like this
Feel like...
Aw s**t, throw some bacon on it
One thing I love more than being with you
And that's no ties, no drama in my life
Yeah I, I woke up like this
Feel like...
Aw s**t, throw some bacon on it
One thing I love more than being with you-ou-ou-ou
Yeah, you-ou-ou-ou
Yeah, you-ou-ou

More than being with you, Nick likes a night running around doing what he wants and recovering from the damage the next morning.

"Unhinged" is a great song and, added with "Bacon" and others, it reminds me of the great work Greg Dulli did as a songwriter on The Afghan Whigs' classic GENTLEMEN.

You're not the first to try and diagnose what's wrong with me
I'll be the first to admit that I'm hard to please
I'm afraid to find out that I might be right for you
Cause it's one step closer to life with you
And that's not me, yeah
And right now my head
Isn't screwed on right
And I can't decide what I want
Every sweat just breaks me a little
And I know you can't take this back and forth
Is the love already safe for you in the middle?
When you close that door you see
It's unhinged, it's just like me

But my favorite song has to be "Chainsaw."

Walk in the house, lights are off
In the closet by the door, there's your coat
I wasn't thinking of you before
Too many rooms in this house, so I keep going out
What the hell is that about?
We gotta find a way to be okay
And maybe I'll just take a chainsaw to the sofa
Where I held your body close for so long, so long
I'm gonna break the f**king china
Cause it's just one more reminder you're gone, you're gone

I love everything about the song, including the backing vocals and the way the chorus swells.

I love the way he tears into "I'll burn everything that binds us."

Track for track, this is a better album than anything Justin Timberlake's managed.

In part, it's because Nick can sing (Justin can chirp).

In part, it's because Nick's singing songs and not just a few rhymes over a series of loops.

But mainly because Nick Jonas is exploring insecurity and maturity which is always more real than a little Justy trying to play grown up.

Nick's growling and moaning his way through and doing so in such a way that he grabs your attention.


Nick's tortured falsetto and low growls make you believe it could be.

And for those who need Nick to be gay?

Take those raps and consider them part of a duet -- only to Nick.

Seriously, straight women have dealt with the coming out of George Michael and the staying in the closet of far too many male singers (that we know are gay).  If an artist can manage female friendly, straight women don't really feel ripped off if he's gay.  Shane Barnes would do well to grasp that there's a lot worse than gay friendly -- a hellofa lot worse.