By Amanda Wicks
Nick Jonas’ sophomore solo album Last Year Was Complicated summarizes everything the artist’s life in the title. The transition from child star to pop icon could not have been easy, especially given that the transition involved the breakup of the band featuring his two brothers. But Nick never shied away from the challenge, and at age 23 is now a bona fide solo star.
The youngest member of The Jonas Brothers has done a lot of growing up since the group disbanded in October 2013 after selling millions of albums and touring the world numerous times. Last Year Was Complicated builds off his 2014 self-titled effort, and continues exploring darker sounds that include a stronger R&B and hip-hop flare. As a result, listeners meet a more mature Nick than they may have heard in his previous work.
The single “Close” featuring Tove Lo is a moody, tantalizing tune that blends together EDM synths with the sounds of bedroom R&B. In the song, Nick bemoans the heartache of modern day relationships, the desire to get close combined with the inability to shrink the gap between two people. “Space was just a word made up by someone who’s afraid to get too/ Close,” Nick sings with Tove Lo’s harmonies adding richer complexities.
Then there’s the feel good track “Bacon” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, which celebrates those large nights lived alone when freedom trumps a relationship. The song has an R&B backbone mixed with light-hearted pop on the verses and hip-hop’s heavy beats on the chorus. Plus, Nick shares a new saying that’s sure to join the modern lexicon: “Throw some bacon on it.”
As fellow pop artists like Selena Gomez and Zayn Malik explore more adult territory–and newer R&B sounds–in their music, the youngest Jonas Brother proves he’s got something equally alluring to share with listeners. The transition from boy band to solo artist is complete.
Last Year Was Complicated drops June 10.