“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl,” French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is famously said to have quipped, and the French New Wave style spearheaded by the director and his Cahiers du Cin?ma compatriots was very much in the mind of the director (also French) who filmed Joe Jonas’s new video “Just In Love With You,” which premiered today. The clip is obviously another step in Jonas’s journey towards being perceived as an “adult” artist, but we don’t just say that because he and French model Angele flirt, kiss, and bathe together. (“No, I’m not naked and she’s not naked,” Jonas insisted to E!.)
We don’t mean to imply that this video is destined for art-house screenings, but as far as populist lessons to be learned from Truffaut and others, “Just In Love With You” pretty much has all of them, including lots of quick jump cuts, a relationship implied through detailed glimpses rather than broad specifics, shots of the couple running through Paris, sunglasses (gotta have the sunglasses), and of course an ambiguous ending. It’s a smart play: as he toes the line of “adult” representation regarding sex, which everybody notices, he slyly introduces a more grown-up aesthetic in the background. And for our money, it works. His crowds aren’t going to stop skewing female anytime soon, but bit by bit he’s broadening his appeal. We’re curious what will follow.
Joe Jonas would be incredibly happy if his career followed the same trajectory as Justin Timberlake‘s. Both started out as cogs in the Disney machine, then followed that up with successful stints in boy bands. Timberlake, as we know, was able to parlay his early stardom into a wildly successful solo career, and now Joe Jonas is trying to do the same. In an attempt to gain a new audience, he’s played in front of a bunch of egg-throwing hipsters in Williamsburg and buddied up to Jimmy Fallon, but what he really needs to break through is a hit song, preferably one with a juicy tabloid angle, à la Justin’s cool and calculated Britney takedown, “Cry Me A River.”
Jonas’ first single off his forthcoming Fast Life LP, “See No More,” stiffed; it peaked at #92 in the Billboard Hot 100. However, the single was just released in the UK last week, and the British press inquired as to whether it was directed at his ex, Taylor Swift. You may recall that Jonas dumped Swift during a 20-second phone call in 2008, an event which the heartbroken Swift eventually chronicled in the song “Forever & Always” (“Was I out of line? Did I say something way too honest / That made you run and hide like a scared little boy?”).
After listening to “See No More,” we can’t imagine why anyone would think this song about a “cold” girl who “threw it all away” is directed at the Swift (especially considering Jonas already dissed T-Swizzle on the Jonas Brothers track “Much Better”). That didn’t stop London’s press-hungry Metro from asking the question, though, which Joe flatly denied. “No, that?s not about her,” he tersely stated. “When I write songs I don?t say who they are about because I don?t want the audience to relate to what was going on with me when I wrote it. You say one thing and it becomes a big rumor.” Much to the (likely) chagrin of his publicity team charged with generating interest in his solo career, it appears that this case is closed.
The late-night music showcases have gone relatively quiet, with most of the shows in reruns for the back half of August. In fact, only The Late Show with David Letterman is new this week, which might be why they chose this week to reprise their Drum Solo week. (Last’s night’s solo was courtesy Tony Royster Jr., who’s played with the likes of En Vogue and Jay-Z.) Yesterday Letterman sweetened the pot, though, with a 30-minute Joe Jonas concert broadcast live from the Ed Sullivan Theatre at 9pm ET?and luckily for fans of both dance-pop and La La’s Full Court Life, which aired on VH1 at the same time, the whole set?including new songs “I’m Sorry” and “Kleptomaniac”?is streaming, above and at the “Live on Letterman” website. If his fanbase at large is anywhere near as enthusiastic as the mostly female crowd (who knew all the words to “When You Look Me In the Eyes” and single “See No More”), Jonas’s solo outing could have some real legs, and given the strength of some of the songs, that success won’t be undeserved.
His rendition of “See No More” did not disappoint. Comparisons to Justin Timberlake are perhaps overstated, but they’re not off the mark. Jonas has the charisma to pull off a televised vocal performance of a largely digitally programmed song like this dance-pop single, and adapt it for a backing band (as he did last night). Plus this song, cowritten by Chris Brown, allows us to appreciate that R&B singer’s musical talent without having to reconcile it with his public behavior. We do have to agree with Jonas’s critics, though: ditch the backup dancers, Joe. They’re talented folks, but they distract and detract from your performance. Overall, though, “See No More” bodes well for the rest of the forthcoming solo LP.
Early this morning, the NY Daily News Gatecrasher blog reported that Joe Jonas got a particularly chilly reception from the “hostile hipsters” who attended the Paper-affiliated party at the branded temporary skatepark-cum-music venue House of Vans in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last Wednesday. According to the Gatecrasher report, Jonas was booed and pelted with “Nerf-style mini-basketballs.” The story is getting some buzz because it confirms readers’ (and some writers’) assumptions about both Joe Jonas and Williamsburg residents, and it illustrates the long road Jonas will have to walk if he hopes to cross over into dance-pop. The reality of the situation, though, may be a bit more complicated. Read more…