Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007

Disney's Dominance

By Evan Rytlewski
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The Jonas Brothers are the tween Beatles Forget about Amy Winehouse's meteoric rise, the 50 Cent/Kanye West showdown or Radiohead's bold In Rainbows pricing plan. The biggest music news story of 2007 has got to be Disney's newfound dominance in the music industry. It's an easy story to ignore, since most childless, adult listeners won't ever be exposed to the music Disney releases through its Hollywood Records label, but tweens (and pre-tweens) are snatching this stuff up in droves. The second "Hannah Montana" soundtrack topped the Billboard charts this summer, and even the openers on the Hannah Montana tour, The Jonas Brothers, are finding a huge audience of their own. Clean-cut Christian boys with a Killers-by-way-of-Hanson image, The Jonas Brothers were actually dropped by Columbia Records last year for poor sales; it was only after Disney picked them up that they became stars. The mouse knows what it's doing. Anyway, while I was enjoying the Thanksgiving downtime last week and taking the chance to catch up on some daytime television—I still hadn't seen Drew Carey's take on the "Price Is Right"—I caught the Jonas Brothers on "Good Morning America." They were… not bad. At all. It's easy to see why kids have taken to them: They wear their stardom well, and they make catchy music that, while PG wholesome, doesn't condescend. To be sure, it's not music that anyone over 14 would want to listen to with any regularity, but it's also not too much dumber than the typical contemporary Top 40 single. …Meanwhile, in other news: • Paste crowned The National's Boxer the album of the year. At 100 albums long, just about every other CD you've listened to this year made the list, too. • Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert died of unknown causes. The band has canceled the rest of their tour, including their stop at the Rave Friday night. • From the "I told you so" department: Nas' new album has been delayed. * Conor Oberst may be forming a band with M. Ward. Or maybe not.
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