The Jonas Brothers | Lines, Vines and Trying Times

Hollywood (2009)
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  June 23, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars

090626_jonas-Main
The Jonas Brothers

For a group of guys who made their name as the boy band of whom no mom could disapprove, the Jonas Brothers have developed some pretty repellent ideas about the fairer sex. In what seems like every other song here, they whine about how crazy and needy and bitchy young women can be. "Baby girl, I'm just a bit confused," they sing in "What Did I Do to Your Heart," one of several clueless-male cris de cœur. "You've been acting like you've been abused by me lately." Well, duh — maybe she has!

Given its timing and its reference in "Much Better" to a "superstar" with "tears on her guitar," we can probably assume that Lines, Vines and Trying Times represents Joe Jonas's response to Taylor Swift's recent Fearless, which documented the tween idols' break-up in a much classier fashion. But if the Jonases come up woefully short in the sensitivity department, they (nearly) make up for it with songwriting that's far more flavorful than that on Fearless or on the JoBros' previous disc, last year's A Little Bit Longer.

"World War III" is chewy white-dude funk with sweet SNL horns; "Fly with Me" credibly apes Coldplay credibly aping U2; "Don't Speak" throbs with early-'80s teen-flick anxiety. "Don't Charge Me for the Crime," a left-field rap-rock collab with Common, was a terrible idea. But who knows? Maybe he taught these kids something about how to treat a lady.

JONAS BROTHERS | TD Banknorth Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston | July 17-18 | $27-$87 | www.livenation.com

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