Jonezetta - Popularity
Released October 3rd, 2006
Tooth and Nail Records
I like to get drunk and dance so for the sake of Jonezetta’s blatant new wave dance rock, let’s pretend I’m inebriated. I can see it all now - right down to the dimly lit table lamps framing the dance floor. The mixed drinks are a-flowing tonight from this comfy trendspot; hips wiggle, fingers snap, and listening to Popularity is an enveloping experience of dancey, upshaking rock.
But it’s dated. And by dated I mean Jonezetta casts a strict timetable on Popularity. I consider good dance-ready pop tunes nearly timeless, or at least as long as I like to have fun, but I don’t get that same feeling on this Tooth and Nail catalog. Come two years, I doubt I will think to revisit this release. This is a factor that is difficult to pinpoint with words, but the onslaught of similar bands (The Faint, The Killers, and so on) is certainly part of my reasoning. What does it matter, anyway? My drink is pink, and this is the only material that is flooding my mind right now.
Let’s begin with the album opener, “Welcome Home.” From the ball to the bat, there is a quantum production that is a nearly spotless balance of synthesized effects and raw riffage. Perhaps this is why Jonezetta rebounds against the club walls with fluency and security. A smooth transition into one of Popularity’s many breadwinners, “Get Ready (Hot Machete)” keeps the hand claps tight and fresh, another one up for the production. “Communicate” begins soft and nostalgic for a chick named Isabel but picks back up to the pace. It’s around now that I notice how big Jonezetta’s lungs are. Pulsating forward like a car with no brakes, there is no lapse in momentum on Popularity. No breathers here, folks. I can’t say Popularity pushes boundaries because then I would be lying, but Jonezetta certainly knows how to maintain its stamina. This is sexy - sort of like Robert Chisolm strong, dominating lead vocals. Nevertheless and still sexy, all ten tracks organize and layer effective harmonies between the back beat and spicy guitars.
I’m probably still drunk, and if Popularity is still my theme music, I’m probably still dancing. There is a bottom line to all of Jonezetta and that it its beat-driven, snappy percussion. It’s quite a party. While most of the album harps on choruses that define a hook, songs like “Man In A 3k Suit” are just as, if not more, catchy come verse-time. “The City We Live In” slows down and is ill-fitted to the rest of the album, but it is swallowed by its appropriately-dubbed follower, “Bringin’ It Back Tonite…Everybody Start.” Popularity carries more than one rump-shaker, or two, even. For an album that may not stand the test of time, Jonezetta certainly justifies these sloppy 40 minutes of mine.