Britney Spears loses her kids, has a nervous breakdown, shaves her head, and continues to reveal more of herself with immodest clothing. Amy Winehouse deals with a drug addiction, eating disorder, and self-harm. Mary-Kate Olsen continually struggles with anorexia. Keisha Castle-Hughes, child star of acclaimed film Whale Rider, expects a child at seventeen years old with her boyfriend. Rapper 50 Cent tells proudly of his drug-dealing, inner city, gunshot-ridden past and proclaims that he will do whatever he needs to do to make a living. Hollywood is a mess. The people I named above, and many more with similar stories, are the role models for today’s kids and teens: half-dressed girls with no self-respect; immoral guys with no decency.
That’s why I like Disney Channel. Yeah, they push a liberal agenda, and the shows tend to be corny, juvenile, and even stupid. Still, they are shows I can turn on in front of my brothers and two year old sister and not feel embarrassed. Some of the humor is too dumb to be funny, some of the characters are annoying in their brainlessness, but many of the shows still make for clean, funny entertainment.
Even Disney, however, has fallen into the trap of declining morals. Life With Derek shows Derek with posters of bikini-clad women on his walls. Suite Life of Zack and Cody has one of the boy stars trying to “get alone” in the apartment with a girl (he’s 13!). The stars’ lives outside of the shows aren’t any better–in fact, worse! Ashley Tisdale bumps and grinds in a miniskirt and teensy tiny top to the raunchy He Said She Said, while acting as sweet brainiac Maddie on Suite Life and vicious but clean Sharpay in High School Musical. Vanessa Anne Hudgens croons some suggestive tunes, then takes nude photos of herself which are accidentally leaked to the public, including young fans. While it was not a purposeful release, she did take the pictures, supposedly for boyfriend and HSM costar Zac Efron. When children, teens, and even adults become a fan of an actor or singer, they become interested in the person’s life. This is what even Disney Channel gives children as role models! How saddening. I do feel sad for these young stars growing up way too fast, and in all the wrong ways. The fans and viewers aren’t the only ones suffering.
Enter the Jonas Brothers. Super-cool, highly styled, and crazy with energy, the three boys, ages 20, 18, and 15, are creating a place for themselves in Hollywood with blinding speed. They are a pop-punk rock band signed by Hollywood Records and promoted by Disney Channel. There is a marked difference between these guys and their Disney and Hollywood peers, however. Kevin, Joe, and Nick are Christians and–get this–they live like it! The sons of a former pastor, all three wear bands on their left ring fingers pledging to themselves and God that they will be sexually pure until marriage. They have clean mouths, respectful attitudes, and mature personalities (with an admittedly hyper edge). Their music matches their lives. Instead of glorifying sex, drugs, profanity, and disrespect towards women, they talk about issues relative to their lives in a decent and clean manner.
Easily half, if not more, of their tunes, described by oldest brother Kevin as “music on Red Bull”, are love songs. From the sweet, acoustic “Hello Beautiful”, a ballad about missing a long-distance sweetheart, to the upbeat “Australia”, about leaving behind a bad relationship and waiting for the loving, caring dream girl they are sure will appear, their lyrics ooze undefiled romance that melts their countless fangirls. Even the several breakup songs (the famous S.O.S; Broadway-inspired “Goodnight and Goodbye”) aren’t done in a mean manner, but rather express sorrow for what could have been and an eagerness to start anew. An exception to this would be the unnerving “Move On”, not on either of their albums, which is uncharacteristically spiteful. Most of their songs, however, portray sincerity in their relationships and a genuine desire to do what is best for the other–something uncommon in today’s music.
The Jonas Brothers are not a Christian band; they define themselves as “Christians in a rock band”. This is despite Nick’s hit solo singles “A Christmas Prayer” and “Dear God”, the subtly spiritual “Time For Me to Fly” and the blatantly Christian, stirring “Eternity” (listen to this on Youtube; it will give you chills every time). However, they are bringing a much needed cleanliness to Hollywood. Currently a part of the best-selling concert tour in the nation and perhaps the world, the Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds tour, they brothers are taking America by storm, and with only their second album. It took me a while to discover these guys, but once I did I was lost. I have the bonus edition self-titled CD, the bracelet, and the email updates. I’m searching futilely for a moderately priced edition of their first CD, It’s About Time, which, because of its limited initial success and consequent low production, is now selling for $80-200. My family calls me obsessed, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say I’m at least addicted.
I find no shame in the fact that at 17 years old I adore a band whose primary fan base is preteen girls and who are promoted primarily by a “children’s” TV station. Fact is, their music can relate to me and even to adults, and can do it while keeping it clean. I choose a band who prays before every show and sings innocent love songs over the Satan-glorifying bands the world says someone my age is supposed to adore. For the record: no, I don’t like them for their looks, I like them for their music, lives, and integrity–that sets me apart from 75% of their fans already!
Bottom line: Give the Jonas Brothers a listen. You may come away hyper, energized, encouraged, and even–be careful–addicted.