Boy Band Breakdown: Jonas Brothers

Boy Band Breakdown is a series of articles that look into how iconic boy bands as we know them today came to be. From The Jackson 5 to BTS, musical styles, production, and theatricality around boy bands have changed drastically but a core formula that dictates what they are, still exists. They’ve been around for decades and are products of the market forces of music, creativity, demand, and supply. This is the third article in the series and will try to understand the idea of the reunion in the boy band’s life cycle, and how the Jonas Brothers are currently crushing the game. 

Boy Bands are the gift that keeps on giving. There is tons of lore around the band for fans to dissect, and enough popularity to keep the fandom alive (even 20 years after they’ve broken up). It makes sense then, that bands that have broken up a long time ago often reunite. After all, if people still love them, there must be some way to reciprocate those feelings. This, aside from the band’s desire to reunite and make music, is lucrative enough that a recurring boy band trope is the reunion. 

You see this in many places. The entire plot of The Lonely Island frontman, Andy Samberg’s film, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is set around the idea of a reunion. After the protagonist and his band reunite they find success both spiritually and otherwise. But reunion stories in real life don’t really happen like the reel life. 

New Kids on the Block, who released a boy band anthem earlier this year, reunited back in 2008. They’ve been moderately successful. The Backstreet Boys’ history with reunions and breakups reads more like a play-by-play of a bad relationship than the history of the world’s biggest boy band. 

So, while firmly established, the reunion is a tough move to pull off. The big question then is, can anyone get it right?

The Jonas Brothers broke up in the autumn of 2013. The band had been going for eight whole years at this point. It was decidedly a dev time for JoBro fans, but they held on to the hope that the band would one day come back.

From right to left: Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas

A glowing record

Over their eight year long career, the Jonas Brothers had put out a solid body of work. They had four albums, of which two, A Little Bit Longer, and Lines, Vines, and Trying Times, were chart-topping debuts. They also had a couple of movies, and the backing of a large multimedia conglomerate early in their career. 

All of these things made them incredibly relevant. They were the band you thought of when you thought of your early teenage years, or when you thought of TV you watched while you were in school. Their pop rock sound fit in very neatly with what the kids happened to be listening to at the time. 

As such they have occupied a special place in the hearts of millennials. 

Their departure from making music together, while incredibly sad for fans, didn’t mean that they just stopped making music altogether. Joe, and Nick had successful solo careers in the six years that the band hasn’t been active. Kevin, by comparison, flew under the radar, doing his own thing.

For whatever reason though, in 2019, they decided to reunite and make more music. 

Sucker punched with a reunion 

The Jonas Brothers are perhaps the first boy band in recent memory to make a successful comeback. The first single they put out this year, “Sucker”, was tremendously hyped, and incredibly well received.

The comeback album, Happiness Begins, dropped earlier this month, and true to form, topped charts as well. The album is reflective of a changed approach to songwriting and shows long-time fans which stage of life each brother is in at present.

Happiness Begins

It almost feels like the Jonas Brothers needed to break up and take the time to be their own people, outside of who millennials thought they were. Nick found solo success. Joe made it by himself, and with a new band, DNCE. Kevin took time off, became a father, and took his own time to be a person.

This seems to have done them all well, and with the release of the album, tours to support it, and the Jonas Brothers themselves having cultivated massive profiles that keep them in the public eye mean that the reunion is going incredibly well so far.

But will the momentum keep going? Or will they lose steam and the success of this reunion will be just another comeback that did not succeed? With the way things are right now, it looks like the Jonas Brothers are here to stay.