Complete with lines focused on jealousy and a bit of righteous fury for good measure, ‘Ben Franklin’ lyrically hits you right between the eyes in a way that I haven’t heard before on a Snail Mail song. “Got money, I don’t care about sex / You knew how I’d take it / You brought her to flex” is almost a rap lyric, and it’s good fun to hear Jordan stretch herself past the expectations of what a Snail Mail song “should” sound like.
“I wanted to sonically and lyrically get out of my comfort zone with ‘Ben Franklin’,” Jordan says. “It felt only right that the visual accompaniment should include dancing in front of a camera and holding a 10-foot snake close to my face.”
I’ll be the first to admit that I occasionally find the more breathy and languid songs of Snail Mail’s discography to be a bit too tepid for my tastes. So it’s wonderful to hear Jordan take a more direct approach with ‘Ben Franklin’. Snail Mail is usually at its best in full on indie-rock attack mode, but ‘Ben Franklin’ utilises a more groovy indie-pop mode that keeps the aggression intact without reaching for the distortion pedal.
Valentine, Jordan’s sophomore LP, arrives as the long-awaited follow up to Snail Mail’s debut album, 2018’s Lush. With a few years of hindsight, Lush now looks like one of the key albums from the alt-rock revival spearheaded by young artists like beabadoobee, Girl In Red, Soccer Mommy, and Charly Bliss. It’s a wild time where indie rock is mostly diverging into two different camps: the lighter indie-pop crowd and the harder-edged alt-rock forerunners. It’s cool to see Snail Mail comfortable in both camps, spearheading a new daydream nation ready to embrace guitar rock once again.
Check out the video for ‘Ben Franklin’ down below. Valentine will be released on November 5.