Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Nick Jonas – Levels

And I guess this guy’s career is predicated on people finding him attractive, so hey…


Micha Cavaseno: Nick Jonas makes a new home in a clamorous tech-house pulse, while he does something that sounds close to INXS meets MNEK in approach. The production’s restless desire to avoid diving straight into typical dance music cliches while still remaining safe in a club-MOR way is quite staggering, but Jonas has sacrificed his recent cleverness here for showcasing he doesn’t have the capability to do. But while Jonas doesn’t always hit the home runs people think he is, there is a LOT more thought in his swings than you’d expect.

Crystal Leww: Who is Nick Jonas trying to bite? Is it Justin Timberlake? Is it Michael Jackson? Is it Bruno Mars? Robin Thicke before he got gross? Either way, he’s doing like a 60% job at all of them. There’s levels to this shit.

Nina Lea Oishi: Nick Jonas wants to be Justin Timberlake, unabashedly reminding us of “SexyBack” with that “take it to the…” sample. Sadly, “Levels” seeks to do so by relentlessly hammering home a middle-school metaphor until it’s absolutely ridiculous (“We’re high-fiving Jesus!”). Still, it’s so damn catchy that it’s hard to resist.

Alfred Soto: The bubbalicious production tickles Jonas’ feet, and his lower register suits him better, but the conceit is silly-silly, not awesome-silly.

Thomas Inskeep: If there are “levels to your love,” as Jonas sings, someone needs to level up.

Jonathan Bogart: What made “Jealous” work was the lope of the music and the creamy falsetto; with this more straight-ahead chug, he stays in an unconvincing midrange that sounds more constipated than committed. The production is fun and colorful, but if he wants to stand up to late-80s George Michael he needs a more flexible voice.

Brad Shoup: I love the insistence of the… I guess it’s the pre-chorus? The playful bassline is cool, but it’s great to hear the synths crack the sky. I wish he’d taken a stand against fully developing the “stuff on top of other stuff” metaphor.

Scott Mildenhall: If only this actually sounded finished. The throb throbs to ten times the power of “Jealous,” and Jonas rises to it, but the song is just so structurally stunted. It has a magnetic atmosphere, but with no chorus and monotonous verses, it becomes both full-blooded and flimsy.

Ramzi Awn: I haven’t been so inspired since Madonna and Justin Timberlake told me they only had four minutes to save the world. It’s hard to make a textbook dance beat sound good, but I didn’t realize it was this hard.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: “Levels” isn’t about love like the chorus states, or sex, like the video wants us to believe. Those are placeholder topics in the same way a lot of pop music isn’t really about the lyrics: a Jonas Brother attempting sexiness remains as believable as rubbing an Action Man against a Barbie doll. What Jonas understands and is fascinated by is rhythm – how it bubbles up, how to riff off it with guitar licks, how peaks and valleys make songs pulsate. He’s yelling nonsense – “high five to Jesus”? – over all the propulsive noise, because that’s what you do when the groove gets you. Hard.

Reader average: [7.25] (12 votes)

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3 Responses to “Nick Jonas – Levels”

  1. this song is INCREDIBLE, a breathe of fresh air.

  2. I was expecting a good song based on Jonas past singles “Jealous” & “Chains” and this exceed my expectations. Nick Jonas proves he has what it takes to have a successful solo career. The song is fresh and original, the productions stands out in a world where you hear the same song over and over again on the radio. His voice and killer falsetto really helps the song and takes it to another “level”. It’s refreshing to have someone like him on the radio, drama free and talented young male artist. Props to you, Nick.

  3. Awesome song woww