November 07, 2021
(Matador) Lindsey Jordan’s second Snail Mail album is carefully measured but lacks the painful intimacy of her debut LP
Snail Mail: Valentine review – engaging indie folk
Lush, Lindsey Jordan’s first Snail Mail album, was written while she was still a teenager and rapturously received for its yearning, darkly intense songs about queer love. Three years on, Jordan has broadened her indie folk-rock with loops and synths. While her pure, clear voice is as expressive and engaging as ever, Valentine is more accessible and less interesting. A few of her acutely painful aperçus survive – “Sometimes I hate her just for not being you,” observes the title track – but it feels like Jordan is more aware of the weight of her words and measures them too carefully.
These new songs hint at how fame and acclaim may have warped Jordan’s relationship with herself and others, with references to supermodels, suicide, surveillance and rehab, muddied by a frustrating opacity. What’s missing is Lush’s piercing intimacy of relatable experience. I kept thinking of Billie Eilish’s NDA, a song about the disorientating strangeness of superstardom – not anything most of us can identify with, yet Eilish reveals fame’s compromises and humiliations until it feels both shocking and true. Jordan gestures at those depths but never fully explores them.
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