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Snail Mail Explores a Heavier Sound on New Song "Ben Franklin"

It seems like forever ago when Snail Mail, the musical alias of singer-songwriter Lindsay Jordan, released a full body of work. Although releasing her debut EP in 2016, Snail Mail did not make a big splash until their debut album Lush, released in the summer of 2018 on Matador records.

Lush was widely considered to be among the best albums of 2018 by numerous music sites and critics. It’s 90s-influenced alternative rock and indie rock stylings were refreshing for 2018, offering up a nostalgic take on indie rock music that was irresistible.

The songs on Lush are, as the title suggests, dense and layered, with songs like “Pristine”, “Heat Wave”, and “Deep Sea” having gentle guitar intros that expand into hard-hitting indie rock tunes. However, what stood out the most to me was Lindsay Jordan herself, with her voice having the ability to sing both softly and aggressively, reaching into registers at points that express her signature rasp. Jordan’s songwriting also stood out, exploring the angst and emotions that come with teenage life in a clever and sometimes poignant way.

Three years later and with rehab behind her, Lindsay Jordan is returning with her new album Valentine, releasing the title track as a single in September. The song “Valentine” presented a big stylistic change from Lush, mainly with the heavy use of synths and the more aggressive singing style Jordan implements, spotlighting her raspiness more than any moment on Lush. Although the song still maintains the garage-y indie-rock of her debut, it sounds more mature and combative.

Now, Snail Mail has released a second single teasing toward the new album, “Ben Franklin”. Although seeming to use less synths than “Valentine” did, it still presents a drastic change from Lush. The song has a heavy drum groove that reminds me of a hip-hop song and slightly distorted bass, the fret buzz being distinct in the mix. Jordan comes in with the most swagger I have ever heard from her as she ironically sings about a breakup, feeling jealous and negligible about her life post-breakup, with Jordan singing “Post-rehab, I’ve been feeling so small / I miss your attention, I wish I could call.” As the song reaches the bridge and the final chorus, the sound grows expansive, with pianos, guitars, and synths adding layers to the already dense song.

Snail Mail’s comeback is both surprising but also exciting, providing a solid foundation for what seems to be a contender for one of the best albums of an already stacked year. Let’s just say November 5th can’t come any sooner.

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