Nick Jonas is “Jealous” for his girlfriend, and surprisingly, the song is almost as strong as his sentiments. “Jealous” was released last year as a stand-alone track from his self-titled album. Comparing Nick to his former brother boy-band would only make sense if this new Nick made an attempt to go good-kid-gone-bad on us. But he’s not raging against his original family band, nor is he really anything like the Nick Jonas & The Administration effort of 2010 (which sounded almost indistinguishable from the bro-band’s Disney Channel debuts). Let us all now leave our Jonas Brother’s jokes and former conceptions at the door. Let’s also forget about “Chains,” that summer single that went something like a sleepy version of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.”
“Jealous” is refreshing, even if only for it’s theme. Instead of falling back on a pop mantra like “I’m falling oh so in love,” or “Baby why’d you leave,” he references a long-standing relationship with real girlfriend Olivia Culpo, who appears in the music video. To her, he makes a sincere, kind of adorable confession: “I still get jealous.” But just before we get this sweet proclamation, there’s a handful of uncomfortable lyrical situations. He rhymes “jealous” with “hellish,” calling it his rightful behavior when aware of his girlfriend’s hoverers. The awkward “ish” pronunciation aside, it just doesn’t fit the slow, heartfelt mood of the song. I’m hearing a melancholic, woeful croon to a possibly fading love, not a demon-ish flame-encompassed Nick of fury. I can’t see him “Puffing my chest, getting red in the face,” – the words come out too sweet and wooing.
Still, in his “I’m all grown up” song, he’s not angrily stomping his foot – and he doesn’t need to. “It’s not your fault that they hover, I mean no disrespect… I still get jealous.” His sentiments are completely free of demands, asking us only to feel that bittersweet emotion. There is no in-your-face big-and-bad flare-ups or jaw-dropping lewdity. The closest he comes to a request is in the last bridge: “You’re the only one invited / there’s no one else for you, / ‘Cause you know I get excited / when you get jealous too.” This whisp of a plea is adorably endearing and feels 100% sincere. Cue the swoons – he is worthy of them.
Now come back to Nick’s previous days as a JoBro and his early fall-flat attempts at revival. Take “Jealous” and put it next to all of the above – it does the trick. He’s not Justin Timberlake. He’s hardly approaching Mario status. But he’s successfully channeled the achy love-me vibes employed by these predecessors. And with baby steps like this one, he’s definitely breaking free.