“A Little Bit Longer” (Hollywood)
Comparing the Jonas Brothers' third album with Miley Cyrus' latest is inevitable and instructive.
Both acts are hot Disney properties with strong family involvement; both discs attempt guitar-pop trying to walk the line between showing growth and becoming too grown-up, too fast. But where Cyrus' effort failed, the three Jonases succeed – they have better tunes.
The trio's new wave-inspired songs may be derivative – and sometimes too derivative, as on the corny, Cars-lite opener, “B.B. Good” – but they simply sound fresher.
Maybe Nick, Kevin and Joe have better taste in source material (thanks to their parents, one suspects). Where Cyrus' “Breakout” often sounds indebted to “American Idol,” you can hear the influence of more intriguing acts like Cheap Trick and the B-52s (even Prince, if you're feeling generous) in the Brothers' new tracks.
Yes, the snide put-down “Video Girl” offers the first warning sign of cynicism about fame, and the title track – about Nick's battle with diabetes – is the expected (though pretty good) Big Mature Ballad. The rest of this fun, fizzy pop, however, is the work of a maturing band that should be around longer than a little bit.
Essential download: “Pushing Me Away”