Chains (Nick Jonas song)

"Chains" is a song by American singer Nick Jonas, taken from his eponymous second album. It was released on July 30, 2014 by Island and Republic Records as the lead single from the album. The song was written and produced by Jason Evigan, with additional songwriting provided by Ammar Malik, and Danny Parker. It is an R&B song, using kick drum-driven beats, a splash of bass-dropping trap at the intro and bridge as the song's instrumentation. Lyrically, the song talks about feeling trapped in a binding and hopeless love.

"Chains"
Single by Nick Jonas
from the album Nick Jonas
ReleasedJuly 30, 2014 (2014-07-30)
Format
GenreR&B[1]
Length3:23
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Jason Evigan
Nick Jonas singles chronology
"Haven't Met You Yet"
(2012)
"Chains"
(2014)
"Jealous"
(2014)
Music video
"Chains" on YouTube

Considered a departure from his music with the Jonas Brothers and Nick Jonas & the Administration, the song was praised by music critics for being an adult song, with his vocals and its production being praised. American singers Justin Timberlake and Miguel were influences for the song, as noted by some critics. The song's accompanying music video was directed by Ryan Pallotta and was released on July 30, 2014.

After the success of "Jealous" at radio stations in the US, Island and Republic re-released "Chains" as Jonas' next single. The song impacted Mainstream radio stations on January 20, 2015.[2] It impacted rhythmic radio on March 3, 2015[3] On February 28, 2015 a remix of the song surfaced online featuring the vocals of Jhené Aiko.[4] The song has reached number 13 on the Billboard hot 100, spending 20 weeks on the chart, later receiving a double platinum certification. The remix was released on March 2, 2015.[5] The dance remixes of "Chains" reached number one on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart in its May 23, 2015 issue.[6]

Background

In February 2013, Jonas Brothers announced they were returning to the music scene with a new single called "Pom Poms".[7] The song received favorable reviews from music critics,[8][9] but had very moderate success on the charts.[10] Later, the band release the song "First Time" in June 2013, as the second single from their then-upcoming fifth studio album.[11] A month later they announced that the album would be called "V".[12] The band also announced a tour, but it was shortly cancelled[13] and later the band announced their split in October, also cancelling the album.[14]

Later, in early 2014, Nick Jonas announced he was going to release a solo record, stating: "I've got a lot of things in the pipeline right now and I'm waiting to release some news about my music and my next steps. It isn't quite locked in yet, but I have started making some music and now it's all about lining up the pieces."[15] During an interview for Time, he commented about the album's musical direction, saying: "I came in really wanting to make a record that was different from anything I'd done in the past, but that was true to my influences: Stevie Wonder, Prince, Bee Gees. And then, more recently, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. That whole vibe of alternative R&B and pop. It just fell into a really natural place really early."[16] On July 24, 2014, Complex premiered "Chains", which was announced as the lead-single from his upcoming solo album.[17] The song was eventually released to digital download on July 30, 2014.[18]

Composition

"Chains" was written by Jason Evigan, Ammar Malik and Danny Parker,[19] with Evigan also served as the song's producer.[17][20] It is a midtempo R&B song,[20] being distinctly different from the Jonas Brothers' music, as well as Nick's music with the Administration,[21] having "smooth"[20] and "silky vocals and a decisive R&B aesthetic," which made one Billboard staffer compare the track to a Miguel song."[21] Dylan Mial of Blogcritics added that the song is "a powerful and emotional combination of kick drum-driven beats, a splash of bass-dropping trap at the intro and bridge, with '80s rock ballad vibe that underlays the chorus."[22]

Lyrically, "Chains" talks about being trapped in a hopeless love,[23] with the singer declaring: "Tryna break the chains, but the chains only break me."[21] In an interview with MTV, Jonas stated that, "The story behind 'Chains' is basically that feeling that all people can relate to, it's being trapped. For me specifically in this song, I connected to love and trust and for some people they have said it's broader for them, it's more than love, it can be about anything that entangles you in your life and doesn't let you do what you need to do to feel free," he said. "I think this is a good fit and I fell in love with the song and I really feel like it has become a staple for this album."[23]

Reception

The song received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who praised Jonas' new musical style and the song's production. Jason Lipshut of Billboard was positive, declaring that the singer was "desperately trying to position himself as an adult artist, and soundly succeeding."[21] Mike Wass of Idolator compared Jonas to Justin Timberlake, writing that "it's a step in the right direction but no 'Like I Love You [Timberlake's debut single]."[20] Emily Blake wrote for MTV News that "Chains" is "drenched in S&M and rather adult themes straight out of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'."[24] Joey DeGroot of Music Times was ambivalent toward its lyrical content, calling it "the song's weakest point", but praised "the production and Jonas' vocal performance", claiming that they were "more than make up for it, [...] earn[ing] Jonas some artistic credibility after toiling in the Disney-pop world for most of his career."[25] Dylan Mial of Blogcritics was complimentary with the song, calling it "by far the greatest, most inspired and powerful track of 2014 – it is pure musical perfection."[22]

Music video

On July 23, 2014 it was announced that a music video was being shot, being co-produced by Nick Jonas with director Ryan Pallotta.[26] The video stars Dylan Penn the daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright,[27] with E! News reporting that Nick was working with her on a secret video project in Downtown LA at Hotel Alexandria.[28] On July 25, 2014 the first 15 seconds of the music video were released online. Later, on July 28, 2014, two other 15 second snippets were released online[29] with the full video premiering on July 30, 2014. The video features Jonas getting dragged across the floor of a church by a mystery woman, and tied up to a chair. On March 31, 2015 a second video of the song was released online. It was called Chains: The Wynwood Walls Edition. The video was filmed at Miami’s Wynwood Walls graffiti installation.[30]

Live performances

"Chains" was performed live during the Nick Jonas Live tour.[31] Nick Jonas also performed the song, along with "Jealous" and a cover of Coldplay' "Magic" at The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.[32] He also performed an acoustic version of the song for VH1 Artist To Watch.[33] On January 25, 2015, Jonas performed the song as part of a medley with his songs "Jealous" and "Teacher" live during the evening gown competition at the Miss Universe 2014.[34] On February 15, Jonas performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[35] On March 4 he performed the song live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[36] He performed the "DJ Mike D and ChAdachi Remix" version of the song (along with "Jealous") during the 2015 Kids' Choice Awards,[37] as well as at the 2nd iHeartRadio Music Awards.[38] On April 14, 2015 he performed the song live on The Voice.[39]

On April 18, he performed alongside country duo Dan + Shay the songs "Chains", "Jealous" as well their single "Nothin' Like You" during the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards.[40] On June 13, he performed the song at Pittsburgh Pride 2015 festival.[41] The song is part of the setlist of the Future Now Tour.[42]

Cover versions

Singer Sam Tsui recorded with singer Kina Grannis a cover of the song which was released on iTunes.[43] On April 7, 2015 The Voice season eight contestant Nathan Hermida performed the song live during the Live playoffs.[44] Bea Miller made an a cappella version of the song in May 2015.[45] American boy band Midnight Red released a cover of the song on their YouTube channel.[46] In Season 10 of The Voice Malik Heard covered this song in the blind auditions.

Jhené Aiko Remix

On February 28, 2015, a remix of the song surfaced online featuring the vocals of Jhené Aiko.[4] The remix was released on March 2, 2015.[5] He teams up with Jhené Aiko for the remix to "Chains". She sings the second verse on the track.[47] Though the first verse and chorus remain the same for "Chains," the second verse swaps out Jonas for Aiko, includes new synthesizer effects.[48]

Reception

Some critics have praised this remix, Carolyn Menyes from the site Music Times stated "Jhene Aiko sings with a sultry note in her voice, before going all Fifty Shades of Grey with her 'Chains.' Her verse may take a more literal approach to the "Chains" Jonas sings about, lyrically feeling like a rapper's take than an R&B songstress, but there's no denying that she fits in these "Chains" perfectly, balancing out Jonas' single and making it all her own along the way."[48]

Stormzy Remix

On May 20, 2015 rapper Stormzy unveiled the remix on BBC Radio 1Xtra.[49] A day later the song appeared on his SoundCloud page.[50]

Reception

UK's Complex Magazines James Keith said that the song was another example of the mainstream accepting grime as it is—no compromises and no caveats.[51] Tasha Demi of Verge Magazine said that Stormzy bring a new element to the song.[52]

Track listings

Charts

Certifications

Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[79] Platinum 80,000*
United States (RIAA)[80] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history

Region Date Format Label
United States[18] July 30, 2014 Digital download Island
Canada[81]
Germany[82] August 4, 2014
France[83]
Spain[84]
The Netherlands[53]
United Kingdom[85] January 19, 2015
United States[86] January 20, 2015 Mainstream radio
United Kingdom[87] February 2, 2015 Digital download Island
United States[88] March 2, 2015 Digital download – Jhené Aiko Remix
March 3, 2015[89] Rhythmic radio
Ireland[90] July 10, 2015 Digital download
Digital download – Remixes[91]
United Kingdom[92] Digital download
Digital download – Jhené Aiko Remix[93]
Digital download – Remixes[60]
Digital download – Dance Remixes[61]

See also

References

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