While the Jonas Brothers broke up just over six years ago, their reunion single, “Sucker,” feels like the unfortunate culmination of the “10 Year Challenge” meme: The last time this trio was collectively relevant was a decade ago. This single is as about as appealing as that random person from high school you still follow on social media bragging about his “glow-up.” Truly, some things never change — the Jonas Brothers are back and bland as ever.
At their peak, the Jonas Brothers produced middling music for middle school students. In the years that followed their break up, two of the brothers (Nick and Joe) sought independent music careers. Nick, in his solo career, moved away from the brothers’ original pop-rock towards a vaguely R&B-esque sound, while Joe, fronting DNCE, went in the direction of a poppy faux-funk. The latter is closest to the brothers’ new sound on “Sucker” — although the track sounds less like DNCE’s hit single “Cake by the Ocean,” than it does a B-side. This lightly funky number about being a “sucker” for someone manages — in its roughly three minute duration — to run through what feels like an exhaustive, or maybe just exhausting, list of songwriting cliches about desire. The by-the-numbers pop, unsurprisingly partly-penned by Ryan Tedder, is not improved by the brothers’ lackluster, uninspired vocals, featuring their requisite harmonizations and unspirited solos.
To be fair, the Jonas Brothers’ popularity never had much to do with the quality of their songwriting. They were primarily known for being cute, in a distinctly white-bread way, and squeaky clean — as purity-ring sporting Disney channel stars — the sort of boys so often aggressively marketed to young women as appropriately crush-worthy. They are still insipidly cute and they’ve all since ditched the purity rings — Nick and Joe are now on the other side of the timeless former Disney Channel star ritual of proving their sexual adulthood through tiresome gestures. To an extent, they are still doing it in this track.
In the accompanying video, Nick, Joe, and Kevin perform with their respective partners (superstar Priyanka Chopra, Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner, and reality television personality Danielle Jonas) in a mostly G-rated fashion. There is a mildly surprising scene in which Joe is briefly shown tied up in his boxers while Turner looks on licking her lips with something approaching lasciviousness. Unfortunately, this moment of self-conscious naughtiness is the most interesting thing about this pat and predictable comeback single.
—Staff writer A.J. Cohn can be reached at email@example.com.