On Friday, June 10, 2016, a number of artists released new albums. June 10 was sort of a big deal in the music world, even if sales for the new albums is expected to be a disappointment despite the quantity, sigh. Two pop artists dropped their new LPs: Long Island’s Jon Bellion and former teen-pop standout, Nick Jonas. Jon Bellion exceeds pop parameters, but we’ll ‘box him’ into pop for our purposes. As for Jonas, pop is his wheelhouse exclusively, though his latest album has plenty of urban flair.
TWO pop albums, SO, one has to be better than the other, right? Not necessarily, but for the sake of this competitive article, YES. Let’s break down each album and see which one of these dudes nailed it!
Let’s start with the establishment – wait, that sounds political. Nick Jonas is established in the sense that he’s been in the music industry for a while. His current sound – urban-infused – just materialized with his 2014 album, Nick Jonas. On Nick Jonas, Jonas didn’t completely embrace his R&B chops, but he certainly does throughout the course of Last Year Was Complicated. In effect, Last Year Was Complicated is the modern day R&B album that most R&B albums can’t successfully sell. That doesn’t mean Jonas will have a platinum album on his hands by any means, but he is fairly well positioned to get a look.
Last Year Was Complicated is slickly produced and covers pop/urban music’s most important topic, SEX. All in all, Jonas doesn’t go overboard, but considering the fact he’s entering his 24th year, it’s unsurprising he wants to sing about it (and of course partake). Some of Jonas’ best moments come by way of “Voodoo,” “Champagne Problems,” “Close” and “Bacon.” On “Voodoo,” he’s trying not to be possessed by her voodoo…makes sense. On “Champagne Problems,” they’re breaking it off, so TOAST…CHEERS. “Close” involves “heavy petting” – catch the drift? And on “Bacon,” well, it’s delicious. Also worth mentioning is “Chainsaw” where Jonas plans to “break the f*cking china / cause it’s just one more reminder you’re gone, you’re gone.” All in all folks, that’s modern day pop, intact with the f-word.
Let’s go to Bellion, who also uses f*ck occasionally to intensify things, though that’s neither here nor there. Bellion’s album, The Human Condition, is a fascinating listen from start to finish. Like Jonas, Bellion tackles sex, though “80s Films” seems to be the only song that takes it all the way. Even so, “80s Films” goes beyond the act, truly looking back upon 80s culture in itself. Can you say transcendence? And moving on!
Beyond the obligatory sex song that transcends copulation, there’s plenty of songs about love, breakups, lack of love, so on an so forth. Yep, Jonas did that too with the likes of “Champagne Problems” and “Chainsaw,” though arguably, Bellion “goes in” a bit more. On “All Time Low” the love has ended, with Bellion proclaiming, “Now I’m a ghost, I call your name, you look right through me / you’re the reason I’m alone and masturbate.” Damn – but he’s honest and most people wouldn’t be THAT honest. He goes further than “trying to fix my pride / but that’s sh*t’s broken” on “All Time Low,” later proclaiming himself to be a robot on “iRobot” and waking the f*ck up on “Woke The F*ck Up” about his feelings towards her.
So, with both albums exploring heartbreak, love, and sex, where is the separation and who separates themselves the best? It’s Jon Bellion. Beyond the overlap of the two albums, Bellion goes next-level and doesn’t merely reside in the love/sex lane. He opens with “He Is The Same,” speaking upon his personal philosophies. He doesn’t stop there. “Weight of the World” and “Hand of God – Outro” dabble in spirituality. “Morning in America” is socially conscious, focusing in on youth’s idiosyncrasies. “Fashion” is also socially conscious, aiming at materialism.
So, who has the best pop album between Nick Jonas and Jon Bellion? While Jonas may have heartthrob locked up after showing off those abs, Bellion gets the edge when it comes to album this round. Both albums are great, but Bellion gets the edge thanks to being more transcendent, not to mention the views he offered into the process of composing and recording The Human Condition.
This article was originally published on oneopinionatedmusician.com.