QUICKSPINS: Snail Mail – Valentine

With Valentine, Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan returns to form with heartfelt indie rock

On her sophomore album, Valentine, Snail Mail crafts beautifully simple and honest breakup songs.

Coming off her 2018 breakout debut, Lush, Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan had a lot to live up to, as the young singer and guitarist was launched to indie stardom seemingly overnight.

With that, Valentine does not disappoint. Fans of Lush will find Snail Mail’s beloved guitar-driven sound, as well as her typical lyrics of yearning and young love on Valentine — just a little more grown up.

Valentine kicks off with a title track, one of Snail Mail’s previously released singles. The synths starting out the song are a departure from Snail Mail’s typical garage style, yet as the track moves forward, the guitar-driven chorus bursts out, full of Jordan’s expressive, angsty singing style.

The next song, “Ben Franklin,” feels the most like a departure from Lush, with its bass-heavy instrumentation and Jordan’s tongue-in-cheek lyric delivery. In the song, she laments a broken relationship but is still self-reflective on her own shortcomings as well as her struggle with addiction, as she sings, “Sucker for the pain, huh, honey? But you said you’d die. You wanna leave a stain, like a relapse does when you really tried. And damn, this time, I really tried.”

“Headlock” is one of Snail Mail’s quieter tracks, where Jordan somberly discusses slowly losing herself in a dependent relationship. She sings, “Man enough to see this through, or is it one morе thing I won’t get to? Can’t go out, I’m tethered to another world where we’re together. Are you lost in it too?” Jordan, with rather simple imagery, is able to depict the fear of being too far gone in a one-sided relationship.

“Forever (Sailing)” is another highlight of the album. Much slinkier and sexier than her past work, this song finds Jordan crooning to an ex-lover about how much she still loves them, despite the fact that they are taking home another woman. The cool and atmospheric “Forever (Sailing)”, despite its familiar premise of a love lost, feels like a step towards maturity for the 22-year-old singer.

Moving towards the end of the album, the song “Glory” finds Snail Mail in signature form with her sometimes-nasal voice and moody guitars. The song is straightforward, without the production bells and whistles of some of Valentine’s earlier tracks. But, in some ways, Jordan is best in her element, just her voice, her Fender guitar, and unadulterated emotions. 

Valentine has helped to cement Snail Mail as one of the best indie rockers of Generation Z. She is at once able to maintain a sound that is true to herself (a feat that eludes many of her indie and bedroom-pop peers) but is still moving forward, both lyrically and in her production.

Trial Track: “Glory”

Score: 8/10

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