When I was in college, it felt like every other girl my age was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers. They had strong feelings about each brother (one was the hottest, one was the best singer, and then there was That Weird One) and even stronger feelings about their songs. I can’t for the life of me remember what songs of theirs were the most popular, or even how long the band was popular for. I just know that for at least my freshman and sophomore year of college, the Jonas Brothers were the hottest thing in town.
I never listened to them, to be honest. I was far more into bands like Stars and Metric and Emily Haines & the Soft Skeletons and Tegan and Sara. I didn’t listen to the radio anymore by then, so unless I was out with friends or overheard my roommate’s music (rare, as she and I usually wore headphones when either of us wanted to listen to music since our tastes were so different) I didn’t know squat about the Jonas Brothers and their vast catalog of catchy, cheesy Top 40 jams.
Which is why it’s odd that their song S.O.S. is one I somehow fell in love with, back in the day. I can’t remember when I heard it — maybe it was when some friends were hanging out in my shared dorm room and the song came on? Maybe it was when I overheard it in a store, or at a mall, or on the radio when I was visiting home over spring break? S.O.S. was the only Jonas Brothers song I recognized and enjoyed, and when my roommate discovered this fact one random afternoon she blasted this song from her laptop and we had an impromptu dance party to it. We collapsed on our beds, laughing hysterically afterwards, and then I probably never really listened to the song again because I definitely didn’t have Spotify then.
Fast forward seven or eight years later and I found myself in a spin class where the theme was Taylor Swift vs. Her Exes. “It was really hard to find anything that wasn’t overly saccharine or cheesy when looking up this singer,” my instructor apologized before this song came on. “But one of the singers is an ex of Taylor’s, so this song made the list!”
I recognized the opening cords, first. Then the beat. And then those silky tones of those ~wholesome boys~ that had the nearly every teen girl swooning at the peak of their careers…
Oh, this is an S.O.S., don’t wanna second guess, this is the bottom line
It’s true, I gave my all for you, now my heart’s in two, and I can’t find the other half
It’s like I’m walking on broken glass, better believe I bled
It’s a call I’ll never get
I resisted the urge to burst out laughing when on the bike, though I quickly realized I didn’t have enough breath to laugh if I wanted to anyway. Forget singing along to the song — because of course I somehow still knew all the words — it was all I could do to keep pace with my spin instructor. Besides, it was clear that no one else in the class besides me recognized the song. “I’m sorry!” the instructor said when the song finished, though I wasn’t sure if she was apologizing for the song choice or for making us do sprints every time the chorus played.
When I got home after class, I typed in “S.O.S. Jonas Brothers” on Spotify and held a solo dance party in the middle of my apartment. I was still sweaty from pedaling my heart out on the bike and I hadn’t even taken off my shoes, but it didn’t matter. I danced and sang like nothing mattered in the world and for the first time in days, not only was I smiling, but I was also laughing. And so when the song was over, I leaned over my computer and added S.O.S. to one of my playlists. I may have once thought I’d never hear the song again, but now I know it’s always going to be there for when I need to remind myself that joy is always there. I might just have to look harder for it than before.