Today, a couple horrifying things happened to me:
- I heard a grown woman pronounce the word “Pokemon” like “Poke-ee-man” without a trace of irony.
- A random girl in my communications class asked me if I would like to see, quote, “a picture of Santa holding a dead baby” and then, without waiting for a response, whipped out her camera phone to show me a photograph of a poorly dressed Santa Clause (her father) holding a sleeping child (her). Then she laughed and laughed at her own weirdly uncomfortable joke and I tried my best to look like I didn’t know who she was.
- I found out that the Jonas Brothers broke up.
Technically, they broke up a month ago. And really, the fact that I didn’t care enough about them to know about such important news when it happened is probably part of the reason they decided to end things: there just wasn’t enough steam left. Still, though, when I heard the news, I fell into a deep pit of despair for an embarrassingly long period of time. Sure, I’d moved on for a little while, but I’d never forgotten!
I still remember the first time I ever heard about the Jonas Brothers: it was the winter of seventh grade, and one of my peers marched proudly into science class wearing a Jonas Brother’s T-shirt. That weekend, she had gone to see them perform as the opening act for Miley Cyrus. At that time, I still walked between that fine line that separates childhood from adolescence, and I had no idea who they were. My very strict, Liberian mother was afraid that if I listened to contemporary music, I would quickly fall into rebellion, so all we ever listened to in the car was Christian rock. Up until that day, I had gone through life blissfully ignorant of all the mediocre music that Disney had to offer me.
That day, however, something stirred within me. The way my classmate talked about them, the Jonas Brothers might as well have been the Messiah himself (if the Messiah wore really tight pants). For the first time in my life, I dared to ignore the wishes of my mother and drink from the flowing pitcher of Koolaide that was Radio Disney.
I sat in my closet holding a tiny pocket radio for over an hour, waiting for a Jonas Brothers song to finally come on- that’s how eager I was to experience their magic for myself. At long last, my prayers were answered: “Year 300” came on the radio and I was…not thrilled. With lyrics like “Boy bands/and another one/and anther one…and another one” the song wasn’t exactly worthy of any awards. Despite this fact, I borrowed a friend’s copy of their CD as soon as I could and burned a copy for myself so I could learn all of the lyrics. After all, I wasn’t a fool: The Jonas Brothers were popular and I was going to ride that train straight to success (at age 13, I thought success meant being able to think up puns for each of the Jonas Brothers’ songs. Of course, all of my peers found this behavior deeply irritating, but hey! One person’s irritating is another’s poetic wordsmith).
AND SO IT BEGAN! After listening to hours and hours of Nick and Joe crooning while Kevin sometimes joined in to add a few feeble background notes, the lyrics became imprinted into my mind. After that, it was pretty much over: Though I tried to deny my feelings at first, I soon gave in to an illicit love affair with their music, hiding any CD’s I bought from my mother. Sometimes, my mom would bring up her distaste for the brothers in everyday conversation and I would have to say things like, “THE JONAS BROTHERS ARE SICK AND WRONG” and then silently apologize later.
Eventually, my mother stopped caring abut what kind of music I listened to, and the romance lost its edge: it was time to move on. I entered high school and left the Jonas Brothers behind, looking instead for music that reaffirmed the idea that I was a strong, independent woman. ENTER: Beyonce.
I have had a lot of time to process this information, and I don’t really know what to say. What started as indifference has grown into…respect? No, not that…a subtle appreciation. I can say that without a doubt, the Jonas Brothers will forever be “burning up” in my heart (I STILL GOT IT! I’m not sure what “it” is, but it’s there).