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Snail Mail's "Valentine" says what we all feel in heartbreak

My first encounter with Lindsey Jordan’s solo project, Snail Mail, was through random Spotify recommendations. Her previous album, “Lush,” was recommended to me constantly, along with an array of songs when putting together playlists. 

I inevitably gave in and listened to it, and though it was a nice and enjoyable indie music experience, it didn’t leave a lasting impression. 

After that, I had little to no other interaction with her music, until I heard one of her recent singles off this album, “Valentine”, on TikTok. I was impressed by the snippet, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was Snail Mail. 

The rest of the song did not disappoint and it is still probably my favorite on the album despite several other good tracks. It kicks the album off with a bang, with an infectious chorus and buildup contrasted by the mellower emotional verses in between.

This is the beginning of the narrative Jordan builds within “Valentine.” 

The album is her journey through a breakup. All of her lowest lows and rollercoaster of emotions are laid out before our eyes.

The second song, “Ben Franklin,” kicks off immediately with an addicting baseline and drums, keeping the momentum going from the previous track. It feels like the embodiment of anger after a breakup, and the lyrics reflect that.

The next track switches up completely. “Headlock” takes a sentimental approach, and discusses seeing your ex with a new partner. As the title suggests, feelings for an ex can often feel like being in a headlock.

On “Light Blue,” a passionate love song, Jordan expresses feeling invincible with this person and broken down without them. 

“Forever (Sailing)” is that breakdown.

It’s one of my favorite tracks lyrically on the album. She painfully laments on the failed relationship, expressing all the efforts made to save something unsavable, embodied by the chorus, “You and I/ Like a ship/ forever sailing/ You and I/ Everything we try is failing/ Everything we do/ Everything we try.”

“Madonna” is, on the surface, an exploration of being in love with someone who doesn’t love you anymore. However, the writing on here uses biblical references, making the lost lover almost a godlike figure that Jordan worshipped.

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“c. et. al” and “Glory” are another pair of songs that seem to go together. 

The former is a heartbreaking and honest expression of being left behind, even if it's in a “nice” way. The latter in contrast is loud and blunt — It's angry yet stuck in a box, like she feels in control yet still right in the palm of her former lover's hand.

On “Automate,” we finally see some sort of progress on learning to let go. It's a poignant and transparent commentary on the need for unconditional love in a relationship. Here she acknowledges that her broken relationship was never going to work because they didn’t have that, and it hurts her to admit it.

The closer, “Mia,” is fittingly the most mature and accepting track. Jordan still loves her lost muse, but she needs to move on, no matter how wrong or unreal it may feel.

My only complaints here come in the form of some vocal shakiness and unimpressive instrumentals that never go out of the band's comfort zone.

Regardless, this album was much better than I expected. It's tight-knit, well written and very sincere, in a way that makes Lindsey Jordan feel like a representation of all of us going through heartbreak. 

Rating: 7.5/10

mezacuem@miamioh.edu

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