The mere mention of the Jonas Brothers often causes the standard music snob to roll their eyes in dismissal. It isn’t real music after all, is it? Well, millions would disagree with you, and as much as I’m not a huge fan of the standard boy band, it cannot be denied that this group, as well as its members, have had their fingerprints all over the music scene for more than a decade. Go ahead, just search for Nick Jonas’ songs as an example: you may be surprised to find that a popular chart song you heard a while back and to which you do not know the name, is one of his songs. As I said: fingerprints everywhere.
However, nothing could have quite prepared the world (or perhaps the Jonas Brothers themselves) for the success of their latest single, Sucker. It has smashed its way to the top of the US Billboard Top 100, as well as being a substantial smash across the globe, particularly in Southeast Asia where it has tickled both Malaysia and Singapore. This page takes a closer look at Sucker, exploring both the song itself, as well as the tumultuous re-rise to prominence and popularity that the track and band has enjoyed.
A Staggering Success
Ok, so before looking at the song, almost equally as impressive is the unbelievable success that this song has enjoyed soon after its release. The Jonas Brothers went dark on social media prior to its release, creating somewhat of a buzz (a buzz that was no doubt intensified by band’s split in 2013 and subsequent silence as a collective until 2019). This marketing tactic certainly worked, and the song has achieved quite a staggering level of success, even by hundred-million-times-steamed Nick Jonas’ standards.
Sucker went in straight at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though other songs have certainly achieved this, The Jonas Brothers are one of only two groups ever to have gone straight in at number one here. Furthermore, this is the Jonas Brothers’ first number 1 single, ever. The song also enjoyed success in the UK (climbing to the top 10) as well as further afield in Southeast Asia where it was translated into multiple languages such as Thai by celebrities like Andrew Biggs. This song managed to crawl to number 2 in Malaysia, as well as reaching number 1 in Singapore.
As if the above wasn’t impressive enough, Sucker is already well on its way to approaching half a million streams globally. Commercially, then, the song is a resounding success. After all, it has catapulted this previously-split and dead-in-the-water band back to the heights of supreme stardom, shaking up various charts and proving to the world that, at least for now, the Jonas Brothers have still got it. Whatever “it” may be, anyway.
But what about the song itself? Is the music video just a lot of Bollywood flash without any substance behind it? Was the main melody line shamelessly plagiarised like has been reported around the world? Has the music video itself broken the standard “boyband conventions”? Read on to see.
Sucker: The Song
Short of making you listen to the track, there’s only so much vocabulary in my power that will be able to set the soundstage for you. Sucker somewhat echoes the sound of early Jonas Brothers material, being distinctly poppy, but with some definite twinges of rock. Pop-rock would be an apt description, sure, but it’s got the sort of Jonas-Brothers twist that has made them so likeable all these years.
It’s got a nice, bouncy beat and major key that makes on quasi-reminiscent of Pharell’s Happy, as well as bearing a striking resemblance to that “Wait a minute Mr Postman” song. No, not the track by The Carpenters, but Feel It Still by Portugal. The man. Which in turn is really a merry tune swiped from The Marvelettes’ Please Mr Postman.
Indeed, plagiarism allegations aren’t anything new to modern music (everything is recycled and borrowed to an extent these days, anyway), but the similarity between Sucker and Feel it Still is such that it prompted Portugal. The Man to tweet about this widely-reported plagiarism mini-scandal. Portugal. The Man cleared their use of the melody with the Marvelettes. Will the Jonas Brothers acknowledge their borrowing of said melody from PTM? Only time will tell with this one, but the Jonas Brothers have been disappointingly quiet on the matter so far.
The Music Video
What elevates Sucker to more than the sum of its musical parts is the video. The world is no stranger to music videos of all kinds, from standard unimaginative fodder to the more unusual, conceptual, and the downright cool. The video for Sucker, while not utterly spellbinding, revolutionary, or original, is still a playful take on the music-video norm.
For the video, the Jonas Brothers recruit their respective partners, singing their musings to them. It makes a nice change, certainly from the marketing strategy that would have befallen the band many years ago. While a safe marketing strategy for a boy band is to allow prospective female fans to picture themselves with the band members by either obscuring or even completely hiding their relationship statuses, this video has the band members flaunting their long-term partners.
The video for sucker is a portrayal of long-term relationships as being a desirable goal to strive for, and it seems to be working well. Very well, in fact. To date the video has piled up over 180 million views on Youtube, and its growth in popularity seems to have no end, at least for now.
The brains behind the video obviously recognised that original fans of the Jonas Brothers have grown up, and that it is very likely that so had their tastes. A shallow, clichéd, uninventive video is unlikely to have been anywhere near as successful. The video as it stands shows the band has matured over the years, and this honesty has clearly won millions of people over. Clearly we are all still Suckers for the Jonas Brothers, even after all these years.