Even the sweet embrace of nostalgia can’t save the cringe-inducing mess of the Jonas Brothers’s latest music video, “Cool.”
As a product of Disney Channel’s proclaimed “Golden Age,” I felt an obligation to join the Jonas Brothers’s comeback party. Maturity be damned — I’d be lying to myself if I said I wasn’t a tiny bit excited to hear of the trumpeted return of childhood idols. Unfortunately, “Cool” is everything one would expect it to be when blind optimism is thrown away: boring.
In fact, not only is it boring, but it’s unoriginal, awkward and (again) vividly cringey. The video is uncomfortable and semi-heartbreaking for anyone with even the lowest expectations. It’s just plain bad. That’s not to say they didn’t try — in fact, it’s painfully apparent just how hard the brothers tried to be “cool.” Sadly for them, a bad mustache (like, ew, Joe), name-dropping actual talents (like James Dean) and singing “Dammit, I’m so cool” (please, calm down) can’t do much when you’re already beyond saving.
In the video the three Jonas Brothers — Nick, Joe and Kevin — play a hired boy-band at a skeezy beachside hotel, set in an ambiguously vintage era. The majority of the video spotlights Nick — most likely a nod to his recent rapid rise in popularity. It seems the reign of Joe Jonas as the fan favorite is over. The brothers (very ambitiously) compare themselves to James Dean, which instead of suave comes off as a biting wince. Nick’s awkward lip syncing is an inescapable horror. Watching him strut on the screen and repeatedly do fist pumps is a performance no one ever wanted, or ever will. There’s a lingering irony, too, as the lyrics “Cool” repeat over and over while the brothers grow considerably less cool with every second.
And, beyond all these pitfalls, there looms a far bigger, more painful misstep: Kevin. Or rather, the lack of Kevin. Once again, the third brother is forgotten. It’s like that awful mix of amusement and sharp second-hand embarrassment when in the film “Home Alone,” the family realizes they forgot their son.
So, save yourself the pain, and skip “Cool” this week, no matter how dedicated a fan you may be. Instead, remember the Jonas Brothers in their ’00s boy-band glory. It’s better to mourn the memory than suffer through their skin-crawling grab to reclaim lost fame.