Jealous of "Jealous"

"Jealous." Listen. 

Nick Jonas. (Pardon the missing slash through the o.) 

I'm aware this song is far from a new release but I need to discuss. I can't get it out of my head. My whole family is obsessed with it and it's rare we all agree on anything

Because my husband and I are musicians we especially enjoy assessing what it is that makes a song stand out. As we drive over Mulholland we play it over and over...a bit neurotic about needing to understand the psychology of our own partiality.  

I can speak myself in this space. 

The verse is an invitation—let me in. 

The stream of consciousness story-telling endear me to the pathetic yet lovable protagonist because he's so very forthcoming about his jealousy—a trait that could be unattractive if arrogantly expressed.

No B-Section. I can dig it. Oh wait…this is the B-section. I thought it was the chorus. I guess there’s gonna be an even bigger chorus! 

I hear, “I turn my cheap music up.” I Google to confirm. AZlyrics say it’s “I turn my chin music up.” What’s “chin” music? Is that a new genre? I am so out of the loop. Direct Lyrics say it’s “I turn my cheek, music up!” Now that makes sense. Love the way the phrase is split. Note to self: remember to do that more often.*

I can actually see Nick strutting about with his chest puffed. Like a peacock. Good writing. 

Good singing.

Cuz you’re so sexy beautiful…Oh…ok…this is the chorus. I think. But maybe it's the post. It doesn’t matter, does it? Every section is a hook. 

The unanticipated chord shift on the end of the first half of what I thought was the chorus makes me appreciate that every beat is real estate. The writer takes the opportunity to add another sweet spot and strengthen the emotion even if the moment is brief. I admire the songsmith who had the impulse to go there. If I were in that room I may not have made the same move. I might have peddled on the existing chord. Shame on me. (This self-examination makes me feel inadequate. That said I must remind myself I bring my own unique offerings to any given songwriting situation.)

There's a whole lot of fresh rhyme, but it doesn't sound like it's being used for the sake of fresh rhyme. Something stronger is in play here: honesty. The writing doesn’t insult my intelligence by assuming "fresh" is enough. It's not. 

Extra credit for "hellish"! And #Respect for the choice that in another song could have been disastrous. And embarrassing. But it was fitting and playful in this one. Hey, anything is better than a beige word. Still, there's a fine line. A word like "hellish" is either going to fall flat on its face or soar.

I can sense that Sir Nolan (the producer) isn’t masquerading as Max or Luke. One simply runs the risk of making a fool of oneself trying to compete with them. Nobody does it better. Might as well do what you do well. 

I am so happy to hear a song that doesn’t have an 8 bar whoaaaa-post-hook-mega-chant which has become the go-to event at the end of the "chorii" in countless current mainstream pop hits (and TV commercials). I give thanks for the resistance to this fashionable default because honestly I'm sick of it. I wish the whoaaaa-post-hook-mega-chant would run its course already so we can move on!

“Jealous” doesn’t feel like it's the result of too many chefs in one kitchen throwing random ingredients at the wall…but rather a well thought out 3 minute ditty with a consistent concept throughout. I can’t help but feel this has something to do with a non-committee penned endeavor.  

To my ears no part of the song is ripped from a classic. Which perhaps is the reason why it has a chance of becoming one.

So kudos to the writers: Nolan (Sir Nolan) Lambroza, Simon Wilcox and Nick Jonas for giving me another title to add to the list of songs I wish I wrote, and their names to my wish-list of writers with whom I’d love to work. After all, no matter what we bring to a party, we are attracted to collaborators who we believe will up our game. 

Oh...and I am also obsessed with (Luh-Luh) “Love Me Like You Do.” But that’s another blog. 

*Just when I thought I sorted it out, producer Sir Nolan chimes in: it's actually 'chin music.' It's a baseball term for when someone gets mad and lifts their chin in a confrontational way." Who Knew?