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“First Time”: The Gorgeous Second Single by The Jonas Brothers

jonas brothers

When the Jonas Brothers came charging out in April, marching band in tow, with their very good, testosterone-fueled jazz rock anthem “Pom Poms,” I thought: “Oh, they’re back in a big way!”

As it turns out, maybe not so much: The song peaked at #60 on the Billboard Hot 100, which is (sort of) fine, but not nearly the ideal position for a massive comeback.

Then again, the industry’s changed significantly since the boys released their last studio album in 2009: They’re on their own label now, and the boy band revolution over the past few years — One Direction, The Wanted, “The Package Tour,” et al — has led to some major supersaturation in pop.

But the Brothers Jonas have a second single coming out later this month called “First Time,” and it’s just as great as their lead single, but in a completely different way. Scratch that, actually — it’s way better.

“Pom Poms” was a cocky burst of big band production, lady lovin’ hooks and bellowing yelps to show off those Jonas pipes. “First Time,” in contrast, is an infinitely more lush and understated production, colored mostly by gentle strumming guitars and tranced out synthesizers imported straight from the shores of California, like a less immediate response to Katy Perry‘s immaculate “Teenage Dream.”

In terms of melody, it’s just as anthemic as their comeback track — those soaring chants (“OH-oh-oh-oh!”) could easily echo from the walls of an arena —  but there’s a more mature, restrained air about the production. It’s really, really beautiful, and would surely make for a solid addition on the nighttime drive soundtrack.

“Let’s toast to the good life / Just let go, free your mind,” the boys assure us, leading up to the one simple request repeated endlessly throughout: “Make it feel like the first time.”

But which first time, Jonai? The first sexy time? Because I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to relive their first sexy time, in all its fumbling underage glory. And with all that purity ring stuff? No, it couldn’t be that. Maybe it’s something much more pleasant to think about — like the first time you heard a great song. Like this song! This is a beautiful song, which is what I thought to myself the first time I heard it. Is “First Time” about “First Time”? Meta.

Whether “First Time” goes on to be an actual hit or not, I can’t be so sure this time around. But the Jonas Brothers are delivering some truly solid pop — for whoever’s listening out there.

“First Time” will be released on June 25. (iTunes)