Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Snail Mail – Valentine

Sent the old-fashioned way…


Jeffrey Brister: Snail Mail gets her Widescreen Moment. It feels like the sonic equivalent of a film starting in 4:3, and suddenly breaks into a lush 16:9 ratio, where the colors bloom, the picture sharpens, and the entire scene explodes into vivid detail. It’s a thrilling shock of cold air when that first chorus bursts in, Lindsay Jordan holding steady in the maelstrom of sound happening around her. Just an intoxicating blend of midwest-emo, arena rock, and bleary chillwavey synths. This is the exact thing I wanted.

Nina Lea: “Valentine” is young love in 2021. Falling for someone under the watchful gaze of the panopticon (“Those parasitic cameras, don’t they stop to stare at you?”). The belief that eight weeks is a lifetime (“You won’t believe what just two months do/I’m older now”). Lindsey Jordan, the 22-year-old prodigy behind Snail Mail, creates lyrics with the deft wisdom of a practiced songwriter but still makes those teenage days and hours snap back to life for me with her power-pop wail: I’m back on my childhood twin bed in agony and bliss, all of it pulsing with the undercurrent of “I adore you, I adore you, I adore you.”

Alfred Soto: The crunchy faster second half of “Valentine” is the angsty section, a necessary head clearer. The “I adore you coda” feels earned.

John S. Quinn-Puerta: This chorus was made to shake stadiums, so why does the verse feel so tepid and out of sync? The outro, at least, gets it right. 

Oliver Maier: I feel compelled to try and appreciate the disjointedness here but the verses aren’t working for me. I don’t need to hear Jordan mumble over plaintive synths to find her profound, and as much as they might elevate the chorus by comparison, she’s written better hooks before (and since).

Andrew Karpan: The first minute is droll and barely there, the saddest clouds hanging over the fading night sky, a subject that interests Jordan for just about as long as it does me, which is why when the balm-like recognizable rush of the chorus hits, it feels both like the best stuff from 2018’s Lush, but also suddenly awaited for and then earned. The success of these gestures comes, generally, from the fact that her voice remains perfect for it, as even her hearts brakes in observational verse.

Ian Mathers: How long, or how much, does it take to turn love into a bruise?

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