Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Snail Mail delivers a heartbreaking confessional on new project ‘Valentine’

Snail Mail released her second album "Valentine" on Nov. 5, 2021.
Snail Mail released her second album "Valentine" on Nov. 5, 2021.

Indie-rock frontwoman Snail Mail throws all conventions of vulnerability out the window on her sophomore album “Valentine.” 

Behind the curtain of her iconic moniker, 22-year-old Lindsey Jordan bares her soul through a series of gut-wrenching reflections on young love inside the chaos of guitar riffs and basslines.

All 10 songs on the album are products of the indie-rock starlet’s mastery alone. As a follow up to her debut album “Lush,” Jordan capitalizes on the collapse of an all-consuming sort of intimacy that goes beyond the typical hardships of love. 

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Title song “Valentine” introduces listeners to the destructive nature of unconditional love over breathy vocals that highlight extreme sensitivity. 

Synths and strings on this album create softer melodies that are perfectly juxtaposed against the deeply dark commentary on romantic grief. 

Songs like “Ben Franklin” and “Headlock” describe the hollow emptiness of trying to move on when love crumbles. A series of pop-rock influenced harmonies underscore the raw admission that human beings oftentimes put their worth into the hands of other people. 

Jordan writes with an immediacy that confronts catharsis. This is a direct contrast with the subtle, more refined nature of her previous album. While she used to cover up her feelings with rougher sounds, “Valentine” is full of raw and revealing emotion. 

A stripped-down acoustic guitar shines on the song “Light Blue,” where she realizes that nothing will be the same after an intense relationship. 

Little subtleties in the album give audiences a glimpse into Jordan’s state of mind after coming out of a month-and-a-half long stint in rehab late last year.

In her previous work, she tried to keep the messier aspects of her life hidden. As she trades in her rose-colored glasses for sincerity, a new sense of maturity is debuted in “Valentine.” Jordan shows listeners that art isn’t about maintaining stability. It’s about being honest. 

These feelings are exemplified even further in the song “C. et al.” Even with a job that keeps her moving, every day is wasted energy when she can’t let go of someone who is gone. 

Some of the feelings throughout “Valentine” are so relatable and intense they aren’t going to make anyone feel better if they are heartbroken too. What the album does, however, is make those victims of emotional loss know they aren’t alone. 

The last song breaks down the disillusionment of young love. It is on “Mia” where Jordan finally comes to terms with the permanence of a failed relationship. 

Although this album lacks the gritty roughness of a typical indie-rock sound, the poetic and violent lyricism on “Valentine” is dripping with the angst fans of the genre desire.

This album is so deeply personal. It doesn’t feel like a memoir on the highs and lows of a relationship gone awry but more like a conversation between close friends in search of validation and emotional release. 

The beautiful transparency of “Valentine” reveals there is no guarantee love will last, no matter how powerful feelings of intimacy may be.

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