Lake House [JP Thornewell]
BRENDAN WELLS // 8-29-2020
JP Thornewell, the 25-year-old singer/songwriter coming to us from Chicago, is fresh off of the release of the summer. Growing up in Traverse City, a lake town nestled in the pinky of Northern Michigan, his latest release ‘Lake House’ hits close to home. Having had his feet planted in the music industry since 2015, JP began releasing high quality music on SoundCloud from the comfort of his bedroom, but always knowing that he wanted more than his small town could offer, the self-made artist shortly made his move to Chicago, enrolling in SAE Institutes Audio Engineering program. Upon his 2017 graduation, Thornewell moved on to become an engineer at Chicago’s coveted SoundScape Studios, the studio where Chance The Rapper recorded his highly acclaimed mixtape ‘Acid Rap.’ With an unmatched work ethic, infectious energy on the mic, and a well-connected circle of friends and artists alike, JP Thornewell has become a force to be reckoned with. Did we mention he mixes and masters all his own music? With that said, let’s get into the late summer anthem that is ‘Lake House.’
Among swelling guitars, Lake House begins with the whispering of the first phrase of Thornewell’s verse, opening up to reveal indie-pop drums as the first phrase is echoed once more, this time centered clearly in the mix. “I packed up / threw a couple things in the back of the bronco” JP sings, preparing to hit the road, his eyes set on the oasis that has become the lake house. On the drive, JP has one hand on the wheel, the other out the window “dancing” upon the breeze. He has not a care in the world though, dreaming of seeing the girl “across the lake” who he’s spent summers romancing with. “You say you love me when you’re home for the summer” he muses, but like the weather of summer months, the love of this summer fling is fleeting just as well. Thornewell is aware of this, but he won’t let that get to him as he plans to make the best of the weekend, his fingers crossed that she becomes a part of it once more.
In the chorus, JP belts “come meet me at my lake house / everything’s okay now / I miss you / I know it’s been awhile,” chanting the most important words as if trying to get the attention of the girl across the lake, perhaps standing on the dock of his lake house. This section of the song is washed with nostalgia as he reminisces upon past memories spent there, singing “late nights when we were sneaking out,” the bass rippling like the waters of the lake in the dead of summer. Before heading to the next verse, Thornewell flexes the muscles of his voice, letting out some whimsical vocal runs, adding some playfulness into this already infectious chorus.
Come the second verse, we hear JP dive deeper into the dynamic of his relationship, changing the lyrics from the previous pre-hook to “you said you loved me when we’re under the covers / after the summer will we ever recover?” It becomes more clear that Thornewell wants more than just these summer getaways spent at the lake, but unsure if they could ever make it work outside of this safe haven where things seem to always be firing on all cylinders, he ponders the feasibility of such a proposition. “Where can we find the love we have for each other?” he asks, finding the answer by the next lyric as he shouts an ultimatum. “If you still think about me / come meet me at my lake house” he chimes, planning to make this weekend count more than all of the rest, hoping that this time he will find some permanence with the girl across the lake.
Before diving into the final chorus, we find ourselves entranced in the final bridge. The production resorts back to nothing but the swelling guitar of the intro and JP’s voice as he lays it all down on the line. He beckons to the girl to “stay the night”, reminding her of all the times they’ve shared together in this sanctuary. Up until this point, the lake house has been a place, yet it has also been a state of mind. While here together, they’ve seemingly forgotten the world outside, enjoying the time they are allowed, dead set on nothing but the present. But now, the facade is beginning to crumble, revealing the hard truth--this feeling, this fairytale, it isn’t going to last forever. Whether JP thinks it will survive the summer or not, he plans to make this trip to the lake house count, and soak in what could be his last night ever spent with the girl.
At the end of the day, ‘Lake House’ is a hit for many reasons. For one, it sonically embodies the nostalgia we all feel in the dying days of summer. It has a coming of age storyline that almost everyone can relate to, drawing on shared memories of the summer going into the first year of college, or the summers spent at home between semesters. In these fading days, responsibility looms on the horizon, and we cling to the moments spent with our friends and, in this case, our summer romances. The writing on this track is genius, and truly envelopes the power of music-- the ability to bring people from all walks of life together through the relatability of our society’s collective conscience. We’ve all been young, some of our greatest moments in life are derived from our youth, but as we all know those days of adolescent wonder do not last forever, yet they will always be something we look back on fondly. ‘Lake House’ captures this and gives off that warm feeling you felt when you were young, when there was not a care in the world, where life just was and we weren’t concerned with what it could be. This song could not have come at a more opportune time, I think we all can agree that we need a little positivity in our lives these days. Go listen to ‘Lake House’ by JP Thornewell and brighten your mood.
Support JP Thornewell by streaming or purchasing Lake House.