It’s normal for an artist who performs under the Snail Mail name to show up late for an interview. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” said Lindsey Jordan, 22, as she stepped out of the leafy steps of Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan, half an hour late, and approached the cloisters. “I was coming back from therapy and I was like ‘Either I’m going to pee in my apartment or, potentially, my pants …'”
Jordan takes good care of those deep indigo jeans – later, she’ll stop in her tracks to run water over her knees after spilling coffee. Squeezing a black backpack and wearing a lavender sweater with white and brown Celine loafers, she looks like an incredibly fashionable college girl on a school trip. Even her lacy face mask, which she got from her mother’s bra store in Maryland, earns her compliments from museum guards. “I don’t know why it’s so addicting to have beautiful clothes,” she says. “It’s the ultimate panacea.”
Jordan mostly does her hair these days, creating a precise look to convey the feeling she wants in every photoshoot or music video. Take the title song from his next album, Venvine. It is a flaming rocker fueled by grief and betrayal, sung with furious new vocal power; in the video, she wears a Regency-style costume while savagely murdering an ex’s new lover and stuffing her face with cake. “I wanted to match the intensity of the song,” she explains. “I had a great time wearing this outfit, hanging out.”
This intensity crosses each of the 10 tracks on Valentine, released on November 5 via Matador, the independent powerhouse where she signed around her 18th birthday. Jordan’s songs are a master class in world weariness and heartbreak, as only a sensitive person in their early twenties can be, from the slow-burning “Headlock” (“When did you start the see? / I guess someone finally tamed you “) silky” Forever (Sailing) “(” You bring her home / Doesn’t obsession become you? “).
But more than a lost love Valentine is really about how Jordan almost got lost – especially after its breakthrough in 2018, Lush, transformed her into a nationally acclaimed indie rock prodigy and burgeoning queer icon with painfully real songs like “Heat Wave” and “Pristine”. After a three-year tour and an unsuccessful attempt to tackle a follow-up, Jordan felt stuck. “I was really isolated,” she says, sitting on a bench in the reconstructed medieval courtyard. “I was watching everyone around me pull things out a lot faster and I was scared. Lots of things I needed to talk about, no one could help me. “
In November 2020, Jordan spent 45 days in a drug rehab center in Arizona. It wasn’t her idea – “Rehabilitation might not necessarily be the next step in what I needed,” she maintains now – but people around her felt it was important. , and she accepted.
Jordan describes his time in Arizona as both “a bitch” and “an expiration.” She read books, rode horses and ate the establishment’s “unseasoned food”. She recounts some of the emotional uproar of that time in “Ben Franklin”, a highlight of the new album, singing: “Post rehab, I’ve been so small / I miss your attention / I wish I could call.”
Jordan refuses to answer if she is currently sober, but says the classes she took in rehab have had a profound impact on her. “I got the mental health education from a fucking high school teacher,” she says proudly. “So now I feel like I have that – at least intellectually, but not necessarily always in practice.”
Jordan was not allowed to use her phone in rehab, and since leaving she has not returned to social media (she hired someone to manage her accounts). “It’s so liberating,” she says. “At one point, I realized that my IRL person was suffering from having to be a person on the Internet. I just wanted to work on my IRL person. I don’t necessarily think it’s good for my mental health. I would rather just do my thing – make music, broadcast it and perform the shows. “
This mantra echoes the thinking of several other young artists in recent years, from Lorde to Lana Del Rey – and in particular Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, who quit social media when she left her own rehab ahead of her 2020 album Saint Cloud. “She’s one of my best friends in the world,” Jordan says of Crutchfield. “We talk on the phone three times a week. She is very wise and is a very responsible person emotionally. I think it’s something to be achieved. Everything is real artist shit, this is the energy that I love to be with. Anything else that doesn’t interest me much.
Their friendship also linked Jordan with Saint Cloud producer Brad Cook, and after leaving the Arizona facility, she met him in Durham, NC. The demos she brought to the studio had mostly been written at the start of the pandemic, when she left New York and temporarily returned to her parents’ house in Baltimore. There, in her childhood home, she was finally able to release the songs on Valentine. “Something about being where I was physically when I wrote Lush It just made me feel a little pressure to sit on the same bedroom floor and write, ”she says. “It was crazy how quickly this started to happen once I had some alone and calm time.”
Working with Cook was another learning experience and Jordan ended up co-producing his new album. “I have to be involved in so much more,” she says. “I really rose to the occasion in a way I never thought I could. “
Leaving the museum, Jordan gives an assessment of his first trip to the cloisters, giving the elaborate unicorn tapestries a special shout. “I thought it was fascinating,” she says of the allegorical depiction circa 1495 of an innocent mythological creature being hunted and killed by cruel and violent human beings.
As we walk down Riverside Drive, Jordan is the one asking questions, inquires about fast food (“Are you a McDonald’s fan?”) And coffee (“What’s your favorite device?”). We stop at a Starbucks, where she orders a medium brew with almond milk and a pump of pumpkin spice syrup. “I’m super excited about coffee any time of the day,” she says, before noticing that her drink is pumpkin-free. She’s too shy to say anything, so I ask the barista to add more. “Guy, she said in a tone reminiscent of Bill & Ted. “Thank you!”
Taking the A train downtown to her Lower East Side apartment, Jordan says she can’t wait to go to sleep. Lately she’s been so exhausted that she dozes off even talking to her girlfriend, who she’s been dating for four months. “I’ll be in the middle of a conversation and I’ll just, like, boom, asleep, ”she laughs. “Like, ‘Girl, I’m talking! For a while I thought I had narcolepsy because as soon as my head hits the pillow I’m good to go.
Jordan is happy that some queer fans admire him and feel recognized. “If there is a reason to leave [my] personal life in the fold is for others to be able to say to themselves, “This is something that I can relate to,” she says. “I am quite young. I had none of that. I’m really happy that the rockers of tomorrow can see so much of it.
It’s the kind of new wisdom Jordan admits she didn’t get the first time around. “I think Lush is super nostalgic, like ‘These are my favorites’, ”she says. “It’s dreaming of love. At Valentine, there is a fair amount of actual lived loss and adult injury. It hits me in the guts in a way that feels really to the point right now where I’m at it emotionally. She pauses: “Dramatic! “