Once again, this Jo Bro is flying solo.
“Spaceman” is Nick Jonas’ first solo project since the Jonas Brothers reunion in 2019. The album was first released on March 12, then a deluxe version dropped on March 15.
Excluding the different album covers, the major difference between the two versions is “Spaceman (Deluxe)” has five additional tracks: a bonus Jonas collab with Kevin and Joe, an exclusive, original song and three “Chill Version” song remixes.
You can listen to either version of the album on Spotify. It’s also available on Apple Music with a short writeup of an interview with Jonas, as he reflects on the story, inspiration and meaning behind the songs.
“Spaceman” stays true to the album title, with sci-fi blips and techno, almost video game reminiscent sounds dispersed throughout the tunes. Between Jonas’ trademark high notes and the strong synth and drum accompaniments, the album gives off an updated ‘80s pop vibe.
The best way to listen to the album is in order from top to bottom. One of the most remarkable aspects of this project is the transitions between songs. There’s hardly any “dead space” or “white sound.” Each track flows and fades so smoothly into the other that it’s truly an effortless listening experience.
You’ll moonwalk across the 16 songs without realizing nearly an hour has passed.
The album starts off strong with memorable and catchy tunes like “Don’t Give Up On Us,” “Spaceman” and “2Drunk.”
“2Drunk” is probably my favorite from the album. The lyrics are both humorous and relatable, not to mention extremely easy to sing along with.
The fifth track “Delicious” is the most upbeat song on the album. It has a distinct beginning with a staticky sound that clears up just as you start to wonder what’s going on. The static fades away into a fun horn section that carries you through and concludes the piece, leading straight into the sax solos of song number six, “This is Heaven,” which Jonas said might be his favorite track on the album.
The very beginning of the ninth track “If I Fall” reminded me of a Phil Collins song. At nearly four minutes, “If I Fall” is the longest track on the album, and it loses the Collins’ similarity as it progresses into the chorus.
Nevertheless, in his interview with Apple Music, Jonas named the work of Collins, as well as Peter Gabriel and Steve Winwood as influences for “Spaceman,” and I’d say he largely delivered on this vision.
Immediately following, and thematically an extension of the kind of forever love addressed in “If I Fall,” is “Death Do Us Part.” It’s the shortest track on the album. And no, your Wi-Fi didn’t cut out. It really does end that abruptly.
“We cut the track off abruptly at the end to signify that there's never really an end to that journey,” Jonas said. “I wanted it to feel like it’d go on forever if we hadn't stepped in.”
One of my other personal favorites included song number 11 “Nervous.” It’s a sweet love song about a relationship with a sustained sense of excitement and butterflies, even “after all this time.” The original album release concludes with "Nervous."
Track 12 marks the start of the deluxe content.
“Selfish” sounds exactly like what it is, the Jonas Brothers collaboration. As someone who grew up listening to the Jonas Brothers during the Disney Channel golden days era, this song had such a nostalgic vibe, and I loved it.
“Dangerous,” the other deluxe exclusive, has echoey vocals and a chorus that utilizes just the right amount of repetition.
To close the deluxe album, Jonas sings the three “Chill Versions” of “Don’t Give Up On Us,” “2Drunk” and “This is Heaven,” created by the songwriter and producer Wendy Wang.
While the regular versions of these songs have stronger instrumental accompaniments, often with a noticeable reverb, like the heartbeat opening in the original “Don’t Give Up on Us,” the “Chill Versions” offer more of an acoustic style.
Simply put, the “Chill Versions” provide exactly what the name suggests, a chill listening experience. Jonas’ voice holds a more mellow tone, almost like a slow burn. I’d like to think the “Chill Versions” are made for when you’re indeed “2Drunk in all of your feelings” at 2 a.m.
Overall, “Spaceman” was a solid album and an enjoyable listen. It’ll be staying downloaded to my Spotify in its entirety, so I’d call it a mission success.