Released May 8th, 2020, Princeton is the most recent EP from Seattle-based bedroom pop artist Eli Jonathan. The EP centers around relationships, with overwhelming and intimate moments being explored throughout the project’s four tracks.
The release follows Jonathan’s first EP Kennedy which dropped in 2019. Both projects are written, produced and performed entirely by Jonathan. They feature elements such as synth textures, pop guitar rhythms and choruses that make you want to sing along.
Princeton opens with the track “Only Us”, which sets the EP off with an intimate and catchy bedroom pop moment. For the first section of the track, synth-based vocals repeat the words “only us” over steady percussion beats. It keeps the listener caught up in that moment before the first verse is layered over the top of the beat about a minute in. The track captures that realization you get when you realize you’re crushing hard.
Second track “Glowing” continues the synth-pop feel of the first track, but this time with upbeat guitar rhythms to complement the steady percussion. There’s less of an intro than the first track, and a steady build into the chorus. The feelings that Jonathan revealed in the previous track are being made known to the person in question now instead of just to the listener. He’s convincing this other person that they would work well together, repeating lines like “I’ll be who you know / for you, baby” and “Want you closer than I need.”
The EP continues with the third track, “Always Up.” I’m a sucker for a quality, underlying bass line and this song delivers. The bass line helps drive the project into a more indie-pop feel that continues throughout the third and fourth tracks. Though the track is upbeat in sound, the lyrics tell a story of indecision and uncertainty. The relationship that was so solid in the first half of the EP is now on shaky ground.
“They Want to See Young Love” is the fourth and final track on Jonathan’s EP. The track has great transitions, including a short drum breakdown in between verses and the chorus. There’s a theme of distance in this track—both emotionally and physically. With lines in the chorus like “give it a chance” and “they want to see young love, don’t you?”, it’s clear that Jonathan isn’t happy with the distance between him and the one he’s singing to. It’s a relatable feeling, once again juxtaposing his lyrics with the upbeat nature of his songs.
Princeton is a short and sweet EP full of unrequited love and dance-y tracks. Jonathan shows off not only his vocals but his production skills as well. You can stream it on Spotify and Apple Music now.
Review by Joslin Keim