JACK & JACK
A Good Friend Is Nice
BOTTOM LINE The social media sensation’s debut is awash in pop pleasantries.
Childhood pals Jack & Jack, who made a splash years ago on Vine, are now social media stars with a European smash, “Rise,” with British DJ-producer Jonas Blue under their belts.
So why wouldn’t a sweet major-label debut follow? But “A Good Friend Is Nice” (Island) shows the challenges that come with moving from one platform to another. Jack Gilinsky, maybe best known on Long Island as Madison Beer’s ex, and Jack Johnson are personable young men from Omaha whose charm plays well on YouTube and The ‘Gram. But pop music, especially in the age of streaming, rewards uniqueness and intensity – which aren’t necessarily the Jacks’ strong suit.
Sometimes, they handle it well, like in the danceable first single “No One Compares to You” or the hip-hop-tinged “April Gloom.” But often, Jack & Jack don’t jump into styles deep enough, resulting in songs that are a bit too vague, like the slightly Euro “Barcelona” or the kinda-R&B “Tension.”
“A Good Friend Is Nice” is certainly pleasant enough dance music, but not nearly as memorable as it needs to be to compete.