Snail Mail Confessions

By: Samantha Eddy
Snail Mail performing live in 2019. Photo Courtesy of David Lee via Flickr.

Lindsey Jordan, mostly regarded by stage name Snail Mail, is here to confess some of her battles, along with some details involving her upcoming album Valentine. Jordan is a 22-year-old indie rock artist from Ellicott City, Maryland, and has been playing music since 2015 when she started her band Snail Mail. To date, Jordan has released two EPs (Habit, 2016; Snail Mail on Audiotree Live, 2017), seven singles (‘Pristine’, 2018; ‘Pristine (Edit)’, 2018; ‘Heat Wave’, 2018; ‘Heat Wave (Edit)’, 2018; ‘Let’s Find an Out’, 2018; ‘The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl In The World’, 2019; ‘Valentine’, 2021), and one album (Lush, 2018), with another on the way. 

Snail Mail is highly regarded as “one of indie rock’s most heart-wrenching artists by digging into the beautiful and ugly parts of being young, sensitive, and lovesick,” as Pitchfork puts it. The artist continues to prove this in her upcoming second album Valentine. The album is reported to contain ten emotional, passionate songs, spread over an A Side and B Side format. Produced with the help of indie sensation Brad Cook, who has worked with many other artists in the field, Valentine is set to push far beyond what Jordan’s 2018 Lush ever could. She explains the first half of Valentine as being “almost fun,” and the second half a feeling of “when the party’s over and I’m drunk and alone.” 

It almost seems as if Valentine starts as a happy, fulfilling story that ends with a depressive vibe, but that’s not at all Jordan’s intent. Being the expressive person she is, which her previous releases clearly entail, Jordan is creating Valentine in an attempt to express why she sought refuge in substances and what rehab was like – and what it did for her. The musician explains why she decided to sing about this rough experience in her life in the simple terms of “I’m already sort of naked so I might as well get completely naked because the truth is going to come out eventually.” 

Snail Mail performing in 2017. Photo Courtesy of Mike Maguire via Flickr.

In an interview with Pitchfork writer Quinn Moreland, Jordan shared what it’s like to be a musician who heavily focuses on emotional experiences. When asked what it’s like to perform for a live audience, Jordan explained “When I used to be on stage, I would try to channel all of the events of the songs – like a creep! There were tons of shows where I was crying, and if I couldn’t channel the actual events of the songs, I would try to channel whatever was going on in my life at the time, especially romantically. It was exhausting. My emotional boundaries are so different now. Like, they exist.” Learning this, we see that Jordan went from being a musician who had to sort of create emotion to make her performances more real, so to speak. Now, she simply performs regarding how she truly feels, which, in reality, makes her performances real and honest. 

Jordan continues the topic of giving too much of herself away through her music, explaining what exactly she means by that. “A couple years ago I would have been ashamed to call myself a people pleaser; now, I’m actively working to shed that label. But pleasing people becomes kind of inherent in a job where you really want approval and honestly you want to be everything…” She explains that “Everything was a breakdown, like a hurricane ripping the foundation off a house. It was not sustainable. Eventually, I realized I wasn’t everyone else, it was me. I was not in good shape. I was like a baby in an adult job. I wasn’t emotionally maturing fast enough. I got to the point where I really needed to define what matters to me. I had to like the stuff on the inside before I was able to hang out with myself.” At this point in her life, Jordan realized that she deserves more regard for herself and her emotions and that she doesn’t have to necessarily expose herself to create touching music, especially during performances. 

This realization introduced a turning point in the artists’ life. “Being a yes man really takes you away from your inner voice, and that’s pretty much all we have at the end of the day. It was a big moment for me when I realized that I should not listen to it. Now, I surround myself with people that tell me no. I don’t have anyone around me that would unconditionally tell me yes,” says Jordan. “I used to go to everybody around me with my emotions but I have to be careful with who I take my truths to. Putting those emotional moments in the wrong hands puts you at risk of starting to hide that part of yourself. It’s been helpful for me to know who my safe people are when it’s OK to talk. To be able to have a space where I can be entirely me so that no one will be like, ‘This is so Lindsey.’ Because it’s always so Lindsey, but that’s what I like about myself most. I feel things really hard.” 

Snail Mail performing in 2019. Photo Courtesy of David Lee via Flickr.

In the interview, Jordan elucidates her time in rehab. She talks about this subject with sensitivity, as it was a rough time in her life, but she wants to express that she wasn’t in a great position mentally and she needed to take a break to help herself to be better for herself, her music, and her fanbase. Exposing the harsh reality of rehab wasn’t exactly easy for Jordan, but she wanted her fans to see what the reality of not being in good shape was in the hopes that maybe her fans would realize that it’s okay to not be okay and that we all need help from time to time. Talking about her mental struggles and her time in rehab in Valentine serves to encourage others that there is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for help and openly talking about struggles. 

Jordan comments on Valentine, “Referring to the process as the deepest level of catharsis and therapy I have ever experienced would be a huge understatement. Valentine is my child!” Valentine is out on November 5 via Matador.  

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