When Lindsey Jordan released her first album as Snail Mail three years ago, I found myself enjoying a few stand-out tracks while also being a little skeptical that she was the real deal. Though her knack for beleaguered songwriting mixed with a trace of ’90s slackerdom was easy to put on and listen to, there wasn’t a whole lot separating it from other talented singer-songwriters coming up in the indie rock game who weren’t getting quite as much notice. “Valentine”, her new album’s latest single, kinda eradicated that for me. The track shows a whole range of emotions, going from moody and reserved to boisterous and catchy, and the album it kicks off is similarly nuanced, even if it was a little ridiculous to release an album called Valentine in November.
Though I do like this album even more than Lush, I’m not sure that I would call it a huge leap forward as much as building on what was already good about that album. Jordan’s songwriting has grown even more confident here, riding the line between introverted and angsty while still feeling like bedroom pop, just with a bigger budget. The songs are still fairly guitar-driven, but they’re laced with synths and strings and all sorts of little flourishes that build the songs up while also letting them breathe.
It’s a great sound for someone clearly wrestling with the endless possibilities of making a more polished record, but who’s also trying to be as honest as possible. Most of the record consists of love songs about the kind of conversations one has in their heads about those oh-so-elusive romantic feelings. “Ben Franklin” also mentions Jordan’s short stint at a rehab clinic, which feels like one more extension of her desire to be as sincere and revealing as possible in her songs. Though at the same time, she’s armed with a kind of cavalier delivery that makes it seem like nothing love or life throws at you can’t be dealt with as long as you’ve got your 6-string nearby.