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Snail Mail – Valentine (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Snail Mail – Valentine (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 00:31:33 minutes | 646 MB | Genre: Indie Rock, Female Vocal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Matador

One of the most anticipated follow-ups in indie-rock, Valentine was written and produced by Lindsey Jordan and co-produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee). Written in 2019-2020 the album is filled with romance, heartbreak, blood, sweat and tears.

On Valentine, her sophomore album on Matador, Lindsey solidifies and defines this trajectory in a blaze of glory. In 10 songs, written over 2019-2020 by Jordan alone, we are taken on an adrenalizing odyssey of genuine originality in an era in which “indie” music has been reduced to gentle, homogenous pop composed mostly by ghost writers. Made with careful precision, Valentine shows an artist who has chosen to take her time. The reference points are broad and psychically stirring, while the lyrics build masterfully on the foundation set by Jordan’s first record to deliver a deeper understanding of heartbreak.

Lindsey Jordan—the 22-year-old NYC-by-way-of-Maryland singer-songwriter who looks like she’s still in high school and goes by Snail Mail—has lived a lot since her 2018 debut, Lush. You can hear it all over Valentine, her second album, which is full of references to heartbreak, losing herself, a stint in rehab and a quest to change. Her wonderfully raw (no American Idol perfection and show-off runs here) voice still sounds girlish, but with a new hoarse quality. The album’s stylized cover art, with a besuited Jordan posing defiantly, even hints at the more grown-up direction this time around. “Valentine” starts off kind of free-floating and loose, pouring like honey, before the chorus kicks in: “So why’d you wanna erase me, darling Valentine?” This is the new emo, as big and bold as anything by My Chemical Romance or Paramore but lashed with a 2021 world-weariness and a straightforward queer sensibility. Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, in guest-writing the bio for the album, nailed it: “Valentine is somehow a jolt and a lovebuzz all at once.” Against clicky drums, Jordan reveals the desire to anesthetize boredom that landed her in rehab. “On two, feels like spring/ All on my own, guess the shit just makes you boring/ Got money, don’t care about sex,” she sings. “Sometimes I hate her just for not being you.” In fact, Jordan told Pitchfork that success forced her to grow up and reassess, lest she end up another music business tragedy. “After Lush came out, I was driving myself crazy going to every single social thing,” she said. “I was like a baby in an adult job.” If it sounds a bit like the story behind Julien Baker’s last album, the comparisons don’t end there. Like Baker, Jordan wrestles with religious guilt and compulsions on the galloping “Madonna,” and that new hoarseness makes the two sound even more similar than before (it’s a compliment).You can also hear traces of Soccer Mommy’s breathy dreaminess in “Headlock,” in which Jordan lets herself imagine how wrong things could’ve gone if she hadn’t gotten help: “Thought I’d see her when I died/ Filled the bath up with warm water/ Nothing on the other side.” “Glory” feels like punchy ’90s indie pop, and the sweet and quiet acoustic ballad “c. et al.” is so intimate you can hear fingers slipping on the strings as Jordan unveils a surprisingly bluesy side. “Forever (Sailing)” has a lovely cafe-jazz touch; the snare splashes like a wave gently hitting the side of a yacht, while horns play as bright as the afternoon sun. Jordan has said she grew up influenced by the male-dominated Warped Tour bands of the 2000s, and she brings things full-circle with “Mia,” a grand romantic gesture ballad in the vein of “Hey There, Delilah,” that feels at once fresh and timeless. – Shelly Ridenour

1. Valentine (03:16)
2. Ben Franklin (03:01)
3. Headlock (03:12)
4. Light Blue (02:34)
5. Forever (Sailing) (04:18)
6. Madonna (02:53)
7. c. Et Al. (03:23)
8. Glory (02:20)
9. Automate (03:09)
10. Mia (03:27)


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