Nearly five years after her first EP, “Habit,” Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail finds herself adopting a new sound on her latest record. Jordan has created a name for herself as an indie-pop superstar, playing shows with popular artists including Soccer Mommy and Clairo, who are practically my role models. Released in November 2021, Jordan’s latest LP, “Valentine,” explores heartbreak and vulnerability in ten short tracks.
Prior to “Valentine,” Jordan released her first studio album, “Lush.” Inside “Lush,” tracks like “Pristine” and “Heat Wave” became the 2018 indie anthems for teens. While her sound was once classified as indie, “Valentine” marks Snail Mail’s debut as a soft-rock superstar.
Months before releasing the album, Jordan debuted the project’s title track. Beginning her new era, “Valentine” retains Jordan’s original sound, but mixes it with a pop edge. It’s practically a universally acknowledged fact that Lindsey Jordan knows how to create a strong outro, and once again, she delivered. To be honest, I was not completely satisfied upon my first listen. I thought it was such a big step from her other projects, and it left me feeling like it was missing something. However, after listening to the whole album, there’s not a single thing I would change. It’s a bit more abrupt and edgy than some of her softer songs on the record, so it stands out perfectly.
“Someone’s daughter adorned in flames
Drag me with you to Nirvana, baby, take me all the way
Man enough to see this through
Man, I’m nothing without you”
Taken from “Headlock”
“Headlock,” Jordan’s third song on the album, definitely deserves an honorable mention. I see it as a modern take on shoe gaze rock from the 90s. These lyrics would fit perfectly on a Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine song.
“You wanna make it hurt, Superstar
When you take too much in the bathroom
You owe me,
You own me
I could never hurt you my love, you know me”
Taken from “Glory”
Track eight, “Glory,” surpasses all of my expectations for the album. It’s smooth and soft and edgy and rock and roll all at the same time, and it completely took me by surprise. I vaguely remember posting the words “screaming, crying, and throwing up” on my Instagram story after I listened to it for the first time. “Glory” reminds me of Phoebe Bridgers’ “Chinese Satellite”, where I “wish I wrote it, but I didn’t so I learn the words” (Bridgers). Jordan sings softly and breathy, but the two guitars and the heavy drums give the song a bit of an edge. Her lyrics are slightly more clingy and possessive than her other tracks, so it gives the song an intense tone.
“I guess I couldn’t keep her fire out
And childishly I’m lonely when it’s time to clear out the party
Taken from “Automate”
I thought any song following “Glory” would be a downgrade, but I was so incredibly wrong. While “Glory” was phenomenal, “Valentine’s” ninth track, “Automate,” is a close second. When I listened to it for the first time, I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about (or what automate even meant), but I knew that it was a hit. Unlike other songs on the album, in “Automate,” the instrumental combined with Jordan’s voice follows a strict rhythm. However, toward the end of the song, the instrumental develops a more relaxed tone, and Jordan’s voice drags out the last few verses on the song. The smoothness of the outro would fit right into “Lush.”
Overall, the album is cohesive, and the tracks don’t blend together. The album takes a small departure from Lindsey Jordan’s former indie sound, but her signature outros and guitar solos continue to blow me away. While this album is pretty sad and mellow, her lyrics make me feel empowered. Unlike “Lush” and her other projects, her lyrics on this album feel clever, sly, and shady. There is no way I can accurately describe how this album makes me feel without using the word “cool.” This album is definitely and undeniably a must-have, just in time for Valentine’s Day.