Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Went out to the backyard to find out if it was one of those rowdy boys

So. The Jonas Brothers.

As readers of Popjustice may remember, the Jonas Brothers—a trio of brothers who are a bit like a modern-day Hanson—have covered two Busted songs, “Year 3000” (their second single) and “What I Go To School For,” on their new album, It’s About Time. The brothers aren’t particularly famous in the United States, although the video for their debut single “Mandy” did get some airtime. They also seem to have some pretty close ties with Disney, as they’ve appeared on Disney soundtracks and on a version of Disneymania (which is modern pop groups covering classic Disney songs).

Before I get into the meat of this essay/rambling, I want to make a few things clear. I have not heard all of the Jonas Brothers’s album, so this is not a review of them as a whole. Also, I think it is completely ridiculous that they are getting harassed on MySpace for their covers; pretending to be friends with someone and then leaving nasty messages for them, even if the boys themselves probably never see them, is hurtful without any purpose.

That said, I must confess that I am completely and irrationally upset by these covers. There is absolutely no reason for this to be the case. They clearly have James Bournes’s approval. Songs are covered all the time, and isn’t that really an honor for the songwriters? It shows that the covering group think the song is good enough to be worth performing, albeit with their own spin to it. Sometimes covers can even inspire a resurgence of interest in the originals. They are good songs that deserve to be heard, and Busted isn't around to pitch them to the States anymore, so why shouldn't the Jonas Brothers use them? I certainly can't blame the Jonas Brothers for Busted's failure to break the U.S., since that aborted attempt occurred years ago. From a musical perspective, one could quite easily appreciate the Jonas Brothers’ version of “Year 3000” more than Busted’s version; their voices blend better together—if you ever found the Busted boys’ delivery obnoxious, you might well prefer the Jonas Brothers.

Continuing the use of "Year 3000" as an example, I’d like to explain away being upset by just saying that I prefer the original and am unhappy with a less-good cover version being released. I do definitely prefer the Busted version. The way the Jonas Brothers’ voices blend together almost makes the song too bland for me. The boys in Busted didn’t exactly have smooth, pretty delivery, but I think that actually helped them. The Jonas Brothers also don’t have the Busted attitude in their voices—a bit of snottiness, a bit of teen rebellion—which I think normally helps make the song. They’ve used guitars a bit more, making the song a little less distinctive (some of the electronic noises have been replaced with guitar parts). Many Busted fans (I would categorize myself as a fan, as I like much of their music, but I'm certainly not obsessed with them) are upset with some of the lyrics changes (“Kelly Clarkson” has replaced “Michael Jackson” and your great great great granddaughter is now “doin’ fine,” not “pretty fine,” etc. etc.—essentially, making it more family-friendly). I prefer the old lyrics and it sounds odd to me, used to the Busted version, to hear different words, but I can understand their reasoning; songs talking about triple-breasted women are not going to get played on Radio Disney, which is probably where the Jonas Brothers are trying to build up their support. I used to think that, if we could change one particular line in each Busted song, they would be a lot less awkward and a lot better; the Jonas Brothers seem to have tried that, and, surprisingly, it hasn't really improved "Year 3000." Nevertheless, I think the main reason for my preference is the music, not the lyrics. Still, even if the Busted version is better (which I know some people will disagree with me about), covers are often inferior to the original; for me, they almost always are. If that’s the case, why should this cover bother me so much?

Answer: it shouldn’t. Someone, please, talk some sense into me, because I am illogically and irrationally upset about this.

Judge for yourselves:

Year 3000 (Busted—original)

Year 3000 (cover by the Jonas Brothers)

You can buy Busted’s first album, Busted, here (physical) or here (digital) and the Jonas Brothers’ first album, It’s About Time, here (physical) or here (digital; only valid for US residents).

Next up: Lee Ryan or pianos, probably.

17 comments:

humanclay said...

i really wish that i could be the 1 2 talk some sense in2 you...

i really wish that i (like you) were not irrationally upset by the 2 covers from the Jonas Brothers...

and yet i couldn't agree more with what you said...

the Busted versions of both songs have that "teen" attitude...they have something in the quality of the faux-angst of their voices...the snottiness as you put it...and the lyrics reflect that...sure their voices are not perfect...sure the lyrics are a bit silly...but they work for the song...actually they work for both Busted albums...because they were the anti-boyband boyband...

the Jonas Brothers versions suffer from 2 things...poor songwriting rewrites...and even more importantly...just being really subpar covers...the Jonas Brothers managed 2 take both of these songs and make them as vanilla as possible...taking away their charm...and the songwriting rewites can be blamed in part on Radio Disney (i guess) but even Bowling For Soup put out 2 versions of their awesome cover of 1985 (1 2 regular radio and 1 2 Radio Disney with rewrites)...same with Lou Bega who recorded 2 versions of the world's worst song Mambo #5 (ok...there may be a worse song or 10...but this one is close)...

the problem with both those things is also in the end what may help them garner some kind of success...90% of people in the states don't know who Busted were...and another 5% have already forgotten...which is sad...because in 2 albums (and really 3 if you count the Son Of Dork record) Busted were instrumental in changing the face of the boyband before their implosion...because without them there would be no McFly...no Click Five...etc...(although we might still have had a Jonas Brothers because we already had Hanson)

Paul said...

didn't play do something similar stateside where half their first album proper was covers of high charting british hits...

no click five?! Don't scare me humanclay...

i see where the jonas bros management are coming from, but honestly the whole exercise leaves me speechless...will they leave those tracks off a uk album>>

ps - i think there would be a click five without Busted :)

Paul said...

ps - look forward to lee ryan although clearly he is only good to look at ;)

Poster Girl said...

Humanclay: maybe I should have just had you write that post, because you phrased everything a lot better than I did, and had a lot more actual information than I did (would you believe I didn't know "1985" was a cover until you mentioned it?) :) Although it would be nice to get over being upset, sometimes it's just nice to have someone reaffirm what you're feeling, so thank you!

Paul: you taught me something, too--I hadn't even heard of Play until today (I really have a lot to catch up on in the pop world), but is does look like their first album was a bunch of covers. I guess the Jonas Brothers' management aren't really thinking about the UK, or they have their sights set on tracks like PJ-approved "7:05" for promo purposes.

humanclay said...

not a problem on my end...it's always nice 2 not feel like the only person in the states with an unnatural love of pop music...lol...and it occured 2 me after i mentioned that 1985 was a cover that i should have put up a link to the song...so here it is...it's by the band SR-71 who had a minor US hit with the song Right Now 5 or 6 years ago...there's not a whole lot different about the song (album version not the disney version)...but here you go...

http://www.zshare.net/audio/1985-mp3.html

Poster Girl said...

Thanks--it's a great song, no matter who does it; I like it, although I think I might prefer Bowling For Soup's version (though that could just be because I heard it first; it just seems more energetic or something). I might have to go dig through SR-71's back catalogue and listen to them some more.

briggycubed :) said...

i think it's ridiculous that Busted is better than the Jonas Brothers. Personally, I think the new sound is fresh. I don't see a connection btwn McFly and Busted, but that's not the point. The Jonas Brothers have amazing talent, regardless of whether they are doing covers or their own stuff. No matter how much anyone wants to trash them, they have a truly unique blend, and should be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I personally like both verisons of this song, to me there like two different songs. Busted's verson is for a guess the more matur group while The Jonas Brothers is for the younger and more Family oriented group. And as for covers i unlike you usaully like them better than the orginals because i they seem new to me and the remakes are targeted for my group. Covers bring the music back to life. I mean now more than ever people are doing remakes but each are adding there own twists and making the songs theirs. and i mean if those artists/writers allow them too then they do so just get OVER IT. anyways i guess thats just my opinon. i really just stumbled into this by reading an article about McFly and how they got their name from Busted from this song. and i was like hmm, i didnt know there was another verson and i looked it up and its now history. plus i like the jonas brothers and i feel bad that people just talk trash about them on myspace. anyways now that im done i'd like to apologise for my masive spelling/grammar errors. bye : P

non hating jonas person said...

I don't like busted, there not good. I like the jonas brothers.
Lot's of people at my school like the jonas brothers, I know one girl thats ubsessed. I like what anonymous said, I feel that way too(except for liking busted).


P.S. they're cute too

Ashleigh said...

i lov the jonas brotherz but i dont lik busted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the j broz r hottttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

the jb rock and i die for the i heart th jb

ps- hate busted

isabelle said...

I'm brasilian, don't speak english very good!
But a wanna say...I love The Jonas Brothers...
He's handsome's, delicious!
I love he!
I go speak in portuguese!

Eu amo vocês, vocês cantam super bem, e eu amo vocês...
Vocês são demais!

Suas músicas são legais e tal...


Amo vocês, e vocês são lindoss!


Kisses...


Bye!

Bebelle said...

I'm brasilian, don't speak english very good!
But a wanna say...I love The Jonas Brothers...
He's handsome's, delicious!
I love he!
I go speak in portuguese!

Eu amo vocês, vocês cantam super bem, e eu amo vocês...
Vocês são demais!

Suas músicas são legais e tal...


Amo vocês, e vocês são lindoss!


Kisses...


Bye!

jossie said...

Hey nick is a Hoty.




i love him!!!!

jossie said...

joe is cute!!!! and kivin is so so!!!

Anonymous said...

How can you all say you dont like busted but like the jonas brothers when you are listening to busted records and not the jonas brothers does not make any sense what so ever!!!!!! Personally I dont like either of them but if you like the song then you have to like Busted as it is their record and not the Jonas Brothers !!!

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