Nick Jonas has hopped on the going-solo boat. His new record Last Year Was Complicated is interesting - it's not what you'd expect for him, but it doesn't fully shy away from being a standard pop record. Infectious grooves here and there carry the record to its end, but after the first few songs it mellows out.
This album has a good chunk of highlights in it that bring it success. The first track 'Voodoo' is my favorite song on the record - I'm a sucker for songs with Middle Eastern vibes. Jonas' melodies during the choruses are fantastic with fantastic harmonies backing it. The theatrics of the song beg for grand live production, the thrilling percussion and layers of vocals make this song so groovy and such a standout from the rest, it's hard to beat a song like this. Melody carries the song 'Under You', the vocals in the bridge being particularly fantastic. The effected vocals add a lot of flavor to an already colorful instrumental. Some songs like single 'Champagne Problems' just ooze pop appeal, infectious hooks on top of deep beats being on the dance vibe and make the song a big hit. Among the guest spots on the album is Tove Lo in 'Close', where her contribution makes the song a great experience - her duet with Nick in the bridge is brilliant. There are little elements in many songs that also give a fresh taste, such as the groovy guitar parts in 'Touch'.
This is about as much credit as this album can get, though. Outside of these few tracks, the album is a very standard listen. Some songs lack any niche, tracks like 'The Difference' sounding like any other pop song. Some guest spots are wasted, Big Sean being placed in the throwaway track 'Good Girls' and Ty Dolla $ign in the strange 'Bacon'. Other songs have elements to them that bring them down as a whole, while the rest of the song may be fine. A prime example of this is 'Don't Make Me Choose', a good song with a good hook but an utterly cringeworthy chorus, the line "Don't make me choose between my left hand and my right" ruining the whole sentiment of the song. There's no substance after the record's beginning. There a few flashes of creativity hidden few and far between the tracks, but the negatives unfortunately outweigh the majority of the album.
Last Year Was Complicated isn't a failure, but it isn't quite a success either. The album begins triumphantly and perfectly, with a lot of original flair and color to it. The rest of the album unfortunately sinks into a hole of standard pop music that is easy to forget. There's nothing separating a good chunk of the album from any other pop song on the radio, and that really brings the album down after a fantastic beginning. Nick Jonas needs to build off the abilities he showcased at the start of the record when he goes about recording his next album - potential exists.
Favorite Tracks: Voodoo, Under You, Champagne Problems
Least Favorite Tracks: Bacon, Good Girls, The Difference