I still recall purchasing Jonas Brothers at a Limited Too in upstate New York while visiting some family friends and then going back their house and importing the CD to iTunes and putting the album on my video iPod. Prior to this, I’d purchased their debut album, It’s About Time, at a Christian bookstore having heard and loved the song “Year 3000” when I first saw the music video on the Disney Channel. But my enjoyment of that album was nothing compared to obsessive adoration I felt in the months following the first time I listened to Jonas Brothers. I, like many tweens and teens, had caught a case of “Obsessive Jonas Disorder (OJD)” as the fangirls joked online. And so began the span of my adolescence where I tried to be the best Jonas Brothers fan a girl could be. It was a passion for a band, for music, for a culture I’d never experienced before, but man, it was great.
In the ten years since Joe, Nick, and Kevin have rocked my world. I’ve grappled with the impact loving these boys has made on my identity and adolescence–for better or for worse. I still remember reading Joe Jonas’ “My Life As a Jonas Brother” during my junior year of college and being angry at the lies this band had fed me about themselves and the beliefs I’d stupidly believed in (yeah, I totally wore a purity ring for a while). As this decade comes to pass and I’ve grown and matured just as Joe, Nick, and Kevin have, it seems worth reflecting and reminiscing on all the good they did bring to my life.
There is no better thing to be than a fangirl. Sure, fangirls get a lot of crap for just doing what they do, but you have to give them props for how much they drive culture. Their passion is incredible, and the passion I felt for the Jonas Brothers and for many bands and celebrities since is an amazing force of nature. Even during the suckiest days of high school, you have a bright light and something to hold onto. You have something to come home to and throw yourself into once the homework is done. You have inside jokes and a community spread across the country, if not the world.
It can be hard to find your place in high school, and while I had a good friend group, it was still nice to have the instant connection the Jonas Brothers offered me. One of my strongest friendships in high school came about because of this band. I loved watching the latest YouTube video JB posted and giggling over the inside jokes weeks later with friends at the lunch table or fangirls in the forums of a fansite I frequented.
Thank you, Jonas Brothers, for showing me the importance and value of passion and community.
The Jonas Brothers also introduced me to the world of fanfiction. Not only did I read an incredible amount, but my JB fanfictions were some of my first completed works (they still live within the bowels of my documents folder). I don’t think my passion for writing or any of the novels I’m currently working on would exist without these early forays in creative writing and having an audience who eagerly devoured what I wrote.
These writing exercises taught me how to find inspiration and narratives in the world around me. They taught me how to write fleshed out characters. They gave me my first community of writers and my first audience. As much as fanfiction is frowned upon, I have to agree with many others that fanfiction is incredibly important and is the reason so many people are honing their writing abilities.
Thank you, Jonas Brothers, for helping to make me the writer I am today.
A major part of being an unabashed fan(girl) of something is learning to remain passionate despite all the crap you get for said passion. I endured countless eye rolls, teasing, and other forms of judgment from my parents, friends, and peers. But I remained steadfast. I LOVED them and they made me happy, so why I should I give them up just because some people thought it was dumb?
Like many of my peers, I did eventually begin to feel shame for liking “trashy pop music” and “Disney bands.” My love for them did die, and I eventually tucked away all the posters, magazines, and merchandise I’d proudly displayed. I listened to musicians the majority of my friend group was into and I was passionate about, believing I couldn’t like the Jonas Brothers if I also liked The Academy Is… and Fall Out Boy. Disney bands and pop music became a guilty pleasure for me, something I’d indulge in every so often, mostly for nostalgic reasons, only sharing this fact with friends who’d accepted my OJD.
Now, as I look back on those years that I was proud about my love for JB, I wish I could always be the Maggie who was vocal about her passions regardless of the people and opinions surrounding her. I wish I always felt that passion about something, whether a personal project, band, or another aspect of my life. I wish I could always feel that I could be my true self around everyone, unphased by their silent or not so silent judgments.
Thank you, Joe, Nick, and Kevin, for helping me be proud of who I am and learn to be proud of my passions.
Change is inevitable, and in the ten years since the Jonas Brothers took the world by storm, we’ve seen the Brothers disband and pursue separate projects. Having loved them since their more innocent Disney days, I still find it a little weird to hear them swear or talk about drinking or being in a relationship even the least bit more sexual and adult than the teenage fantasies they crooned about and instructed me to believe in.
Joe had a brief solo career and then found his place as the frontman of DNCE. The drummer is the Jonas Brothers’ former drummer, which warms my JB fangirl heart.
Nick has probably remained the most successful, ditching his brief foray as Nick Jonas and the Administration for a solo career boasting catchy R&B-tinged tracks.
And in the past year, I’ve re-downloaded all the old Jonas Brothers’ CDs and realized I haven’t forgotten many of the lyrics. Even though the Jonas Brothers era is long-gone, the best thing about music is that it will always be there. So let’s all take a moment to crank “S.O.S.” and sing along.
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