The second single from Snail Mail's debut LP, 'Heat Wave', finds her turning her songwriting gaze towards unrequited love
SNAIL MAIL (the solo project of 19 year old, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter LINDSEY JORDAN) announced her debut album, Lush, by sharing the flawless lead single, ‘Pristine’. On that track, she demonstrated a nuanced understanding of young love, writing about topic with a beyond-her-years maturity and sense of perspective, whilst still rendering the messiness of adolescent heartbreak in authentically exacting detail. With ‘Heat Wave’, the scorching second single from her forthcoming debut, she turns her songwriting gaze towards the topic of unrequited love.
Narratively, ‘Heat Wave’ finds Jordan stuck inside her room, unable to move and hiding from the unrelenting humidity of a summer’s day. But the emotional core of the track lies elsewhere, with Jordan’s mind roaming in the way that only the stretched-out, lethargic tedium of a heatwave allows as she elegises a lost romance, cycling through conflicting emotions: remorse (“Heat wave, nothing to do / Woke up in my clothes having dreamt of you”), sharp-tongued repudiation (“And I hope that the love you find / Swallows you wholly / Like you said it might”), and finally acceptance (“I’m feeling low / I’m not into sometimes”, she repeats towards the end of the track).
Her lyricism crackles with economical wit and a potent bite, offering screenshots of someone who, apathetic and bored, is trying to move on from the relationship, but finds that much like the oppressive heat bearing down on her, it continues to plague her in its own monotonous way. The structure and guitar playing follows a similarly shapeless path, although it’s anything but apathetic and bored, with tight, virtuosic riffs and fills interlacing rolling chords in Jordan’s impossibly precise songwriting. Languid, glimmering guitar riffs contrast against piercing interludes that drop in and out of the track as her unfiltered, raspy voice verges on.
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Directed by Brandon Herman, the track’s visuals project Jordan’s insecurities as a cadre of faceless, all-male hockey players beating down on Jordan who, bloody-faced and bare-gloved, triumphs over them nonetheless.
On ‘Heat Wave’, Snail Mail wears her vulnerability with an honesty and openness that is matched only by her musical prowess. Backed by her inimitable guitar skills, Snail Mail takes control of her emotional vulnerability and wrests it until it lands with a forceful assertiveness.
Photo by Michael Lavine
Words by Kyle Fensom