When Justin Timberlake’s latest film Friends With Benefits was released in September, music commentators demanded to know when his next musical work would appear; because when the ex-‘N Sync singer decided to leave the world of pop for the bright lights of Hollywood, he tore a hole in the pop-time continuum. Joe Jonas displays all the signs of being a prime replacement for Timberlake. He, too, came from a cheesy teen boy band, he also dated famous teen sensations, and has a ripped torso that should be displayed in gyms as an incentive to exercise. Sadly, his debut solo album, Fastlife, falls short in comparison to Timberlake’s Justified. Whilst Jonas has clearly worked hard on departing from his teen-bopper image, and creating a sexy presence both physically and sonically, his music fails to leave much of an impression on the listener, with the exception of ‘Love Slayer’ which is so cringe-inducing, you wonder whether it was co-written by Rebecca Black, and despite his intentions to ‘do my dance’, the song is so lacking in infectious beats or catchy hooks that you suspect his dance moves are on a par with the embarrassing lyrics. ‘Kleptomaniac’ is another stinker, sounding much like the B-side of a B-side, in which Jonas warns other menfolk off a pick-pocketing woman who might ‘poison your brain’. In a recent interview with GQ, Jonas stated that he had tried to incorporate dubstep into his album, and we assume that the slightly wobbly bassline on this track is evidence of this. Fastlife is not completely flawed, however. Debut single ‘See No More’ is a heartfelt break up ballad, reminiscent of latter-day Backstreet Boys. Even more promising is the follow-up ‘Just in Love’, an upbeat declaration of love to an insecure girlfriend, with bangra-inspired beats, and hints of pop greatness. The titular track attempts to be an arresting call to arms, where Jonas asks ‘are you ready for the fast life?’ but the lack of conviction is more likely to lead to the listener taking to bed, rather than hitting the town with this JoBro.
-from Issue 240 (10.10.11) of Epigram. You can read the rest of the newspaper here.