Jonas Brothers: Mainstream Music or Disney Fantasy?


Does the cover of Rolling Stone make you a serious musician? 


With the on-going debate whether teen bubblegum pop bands are considered serious musicians or not, the Jonas Brothers have boldly gone where few adolescent music groups have gone before: the cover of Rolling Stone. ‘The Clean Teen Machine’ — so dubbed by Rolling Stone Magazine due to the absence of gossip, sex and drama in Kevin (20), Joe (18) and Nick Jonas (15) — has captured the attention of the music industry’s influential magazine, and supplied enough information to quell doubts about their serious musical abilities: writing, playing and singing their own music.


For any musician, landing on the cover of this iconic magazine is a sign they’ve joined the mainstream music world. For the Jonas Brothers, this is an especially sweet accomplishment since they’ve been able to maintain a foothold in both the fantasy and realistic musical spheres while simultaneously being brought up by Disney. Making the rounds on TV morning shows, late night shows and just about every music related television broadcast, the boys are getting more exposure to a broader audience than just the Disney family of TV networks. But the weening process is not complete yet. With a few projects still in the works for the boys and Disney; a TV show called J.O.N.A.S., Camp Rock 2, and a 3D concert movie, this balancing act is far from over. 


In its debut issue, founder Jann Wenner wrote that Rolling Stone “is not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces.”  In the case of these young brothers, the attitudes embraced in their music is hitting teen girls hard right where it matters; emotions, dreams, relationships and hope are all delivered through innocent lyrics and common teen situations their listeners can relate to. And all of this is music to a parents scrutinizing ears.


The Jonas Brothers’ music is also selling like funnel cake at a state fair. EOnline reported the record sale of the legally downloaded single Pushing Me Away reached 116,000 this week “making the group the first act ever to sell more than 100,000 online copies for three straight tracks”.


But wait, who exactly is this Rolling Stone article suppose to reach? According to USA Today, “at a time when some younger readers wouldn’t know Sgt. Pepper from Dr. Pepper, RS [Rolling Stone] still attracts them to its slick pages: The magazine’s rate base of 1.4 million readers, its highest ever, has a median age of 27”. 


Well, maybe RS just found a way to broaden the age group of their readership. My thirteen year old daughter ran to the newsstand to buy RS’s latest issue because her idols were on the cover. She read the entire article, which she found a little difficult to understand (and to read in that minuscule font!), and, admittedly, it was the first issue to cross our home’s threshold. And, who knows, maybe it won’t be the last …

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