VALENTINE - SNAIL MAIL ALBUM REVIEW
If you're well and truly embracing sad girl autumn, then Snail Mail's sophomore album Valentine is the album full of yearning and lost love that you need to be listening to.
Since her debut album, Lush (2018) Lindsey Jordan, the singer-guitarist behind Snail Mail, has been an upcoming indie star to keep an eye on, and this album has not just elevated her sound but has also shown her as a true songwriting force to be reckoned with.
Jordan, much like a lot of people over the pandemic, took a solid look inside herself and how it really feels to be in the position she is now, with so many eyes now focused on her. However, rather than the introspective look at the self that most artists took to, Jordan has done a similar thing but with a focus on a relationship that left her grief-stricken.
On 'Valentine' there is absolutely nowhere to hide, the lyrics are in your face and are accompanied by dynamic instrumentals, with specific focus on the guitar that Jordan is well known for playing. The lyrical content is brutal and raw, and with the distinct change in Jordan's voice since her previous album, it really feels like Jordan basically stepped into the studio after every moment of heartbreak and just pushed those emotions straight into the recording of each song.
The lead single and title track from the album completely encompass its spirit, with it telling the story of Jordan being hopelessly still in love with someone who has changed their mind, summarised in the line repeated ritualistically throughout the song "So why'd you wanna erase me, darling valentine? You always know where to find me when you change your mind". The song begins as a slow-moving synth-driven borderline ballad, but as it moves into the chorus and later half of the song it builds into anthemic indie-rock that shows Snail Mail as their best.
Every song on the album appears to lead back to the devastating heartbreak that inspired its creation, even if it seems it's going in another direction. 'c. et. al.' from its first verse looks to be a set of general internal musings from Jordan's mind, bit by the end of the song it's calling back to the relationship that left her emotionally shattered "Feels like I'm losin' my mind, baby blue / But I'd leave it behind if you wanted me to'"
Throughout Valentine, the emotional turmoil drives Jordan's vocals to their limits, especially with their new deeper, and hoarser tone. However, they're never unpleasant, but simply uncomfortable enough to really emphasise the grit of the tracks being performed.
Overall, Valentine is a complete success from Snail Mail. The power behind every minute of this short album is overwhelming, and the world-building lyricism allows you to feel as if you're right there living Jordan's life with her. Having this impressive of an album so early into a career is difficult to do, but if Snail Mail continues with this kind of music and gets the kind of critical reception they are with Valentine, then they're in for a long and healthy career.