Well, it appears that this is the week for former Disney stars to make their triumphant return to the world of music. Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, who starred in Disney’s Jonas, and Hilary Duff of Lizzie McGuire fame both released their first single and music video this week after a lengthy hiatus. For Nick, it also marks the start of his solo career in the music business. The comeback is the first thing that these two have in common; the second is the fact that they’re fully ready to shed their Disney image.
In Hilary Duff’s case, it was an outright admission, though admittedly, it came from Ed Sheeran, with whom she collaborated on this new album. For Nick Jonas, there was no need to announce it… the song pretty much screams this intention. The similarities end here; after this, the circumstances surrounding each of their musical choices are pretty much polar opposites.
Nick released his single, Chains, a few days ago without much pomp and flare, and I loved it the first time I listened to it. It’s arguably one of the darkest and most mature songs that he’s released in his career – and yes, this means that I was am a Jonas Brothers fan. If the song is any indication of his solo career path, we can assume that he’s going to focus less on the pop-rock vibe that he’d become accustomed to with his brothers, and that he’s going to go for a more urban-inspired feel. The video was recently yesterday morning, and I’m afraid I don’t feel it like I do the song. While the song was an understated depiction of his distancing from the Disney label, the music video all but screamed, “look at me, I’m all grown up!” It wasn’t a bad video, per se. I think there was just too much of an obvious effort for it (and Nick) to come off as artistic, cool and edgy. Unfortunately, it ultimately just ended up as an odd, slightly incohesive, collection of scenes that didn’t quite succeed in telling whatever story it was attempting to. The only scenes which seemed really genuine were those where Nick was sat in a chair, singing directly to the camera, but I maintain that it had nothing to do with the fact that his biceps were very much on display there.
When it came to Hilary Duff’s single, we pretty much have the exact opposite. The music video for her single, Chasing the Sun, was great from beginning to end. It was fun, silly, and funny, and it was great seeing her not take herself so seriously in it. It was, in my opinion, reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s “Ours” music video, which I’m also in love with. There was no sense of trying too hard in Hilary’s video, and it just flowed effortlessly, making it really enjoyable to watch. That being said, it was a really smart move to release the video so close the release of the single itself. Unlike Nick’s Chains, Hilary Duff’s Chasing the Sun had been teased and talked about for quite some time leading up to its release. Many people, myself included, were quite eager to see what she would come out with it. I’m afraid it wasn’t exactly worth the wait… I’ll refrain from calling it a disappointment, though, because that sounds so unpleasant. The song has a very catchy tune, and Hilary’s voice is still pretty, but if she was attempting to show that her musical style had matured over the years, she chose the absolute worst song to come back with. Chasing the Sun, though undoubtedly offering a lovely, carefree message, sounded like something that Hilary would have released way back when in her Lizzy McGuire days. Indeed, her song Stranger sounded far more mature than this new track, and it was released seven years ago! Still, though, I think it would be unfair to judge her entire comeback on this one song, and I’m still quite intrigued to see what she presents later.
Nick Jonas and Hilary Duff’s re-emergence onto the music scene is a sharp reminder that I’m growing up, and that’s sometimes a scary thought. However, the most positive message that it offers is that it’s never too late to revisit your dreams. No matter how much you may love something, life often has different plans set out for us, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a break to deal with what life needs us to deal with. When circumstances and timing allow it, if we go back into our passion with an open mind and the desire to grow and progress, it’s hard to view it as time lost… it would merely have been time redirected.