Every Friday this summer, Refinery29 explores at the passionate, rollicking world of fandom. We’ll take a look at how we organize, create, debate and show our passion for the things we love — the good, the bad, and the loud.
The symptoms of Jonas Brothers fever were subtle at first. The group announced their pending reunion back in February, and, as my various friends who were fans since the early 2000s rejoiced, I gamely pulled them up on Spotify and had to admit that songs like "Burnin' Up" and "S.O.S." were, indeed, bops.
It's not that I didn't like the Jonas Brothers back in the '00s — I hated them. Having grown up in the U.K., my boy band of choice was Busted. When I moved to the states in 6th grade, however, nobody had heard of them, and nobody was interested when I played their music. Then the Jonas Brothers came onto the scene with their hit single "Year 3000," a song originally by...Busted. When the Jonas Brothers sang it, suddenly everyone looooved it. So, in a move that was indicative of how I would go on to handle conflict for the rest of my life, I wrote off the Jonas Brothers entirely.
As their reunion became more imminent, we covered their antics on Refinery29, which meant I watched a lot of clips, music videos, and interviews with the brothers. In the midst of all this, something started to change for me. There's a tangible difference between this iteration of the Jonas Brothers and the original. The Jonas Brothers 1.0 wore purity rings, they broke up with Taylor Swift over the phone, and they starred in Disney Channel original movies — but I was a Nickelodeon gal.
But, JoBro 2.0 is an upgrade. They are all married to women who are undeniably cooler than them, and they appropriately acknowledge it. Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, in particular, have solidified themselves as, I'm sorry to say, #goals for millennial relationships. There's a certain impressiveness to the sheer decadence involved in Nick Jonas' wedding to Priyanka Chopra. Plus, they're just funny! They have good chemistry in interviews and seem self-aware about the cringer aspects of their rise to fame.
While I've been having a grand old time falling down the Jonas Brothers wormhole, I'm well aware that I'm late to the game. There are fans who've been there since the beginning, and I know how it feels to watch people suddenly spout the virtue of something you've been talking about for a long time. So, to get some perspective, I reached out to one of the biggest Jonas Brothers fan I knew: 26-year-old Julia Weaver, who is a teaching assistant at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
"I went to 12 concerts in all, going to almost every tour they did and traveling from Ohio to Michigan to Pennsylvania and New York," Weaver told Refinery29 over email. "One summer, I actually made my parents drive me to Wycoff, NJ to see their childhood home and church." Weaver was a member of their official fan club, which promised early ticket access in exchange for a monthly fee, and "basically didn’t have wallpaper from the years 2007-2011 because it was just COVERED in posters."
Weaver credits renewed interest in the Jonas Brothers to the current political climate and the power of nostalgia for simpler times, and admits she does feel some ownership when she hears people gushing over them in the year 2019.
"I was an original fan. I already knew most of what they covered in their documentary," she said. "So my instinct, when people bring them up now, is to immediately inform them that I’ve been a fan longer and that their music means more to me. On the day they released 'Sucker' a coworker of mine said like, 'Oh I was such a huge Jonas Brothers fan, I went to 2 concerts!' And I remember thinking, 'Oh honey, I went to 12.'"
However, the JoBros fan club — official or emotional — is always accepting new members, and after informing you of the detailed histories of each specific brother, Weaver will happily welcome you in.
"I really just want everyone to celebrate them. They bring me such joy and fun so everyone should get to experience that too," she said. "So if people had heard of them in their heyday and are now really into them, welcome!! If someone’s never heard of them, I will give them my Amazon Prime login to watch the documentary."
The new Jonas Brothers album Chasing Happiness is out now.