Sorry if this sounds like pseudophysics, but how we experience teenage music seems to depend entirely on the age of the viewer.
If you are younger than the teenager you are listening to, you can feel the fullness of life suddenly within reach. If you’re about the same age, you might have found a colleague who speaks for you.
And when you’re older – apart from misguided muso-vampires trying to reclaim their youth – you’re probably witnessing someone growing in time-lapse, like listening to a plant in time-lapse blooming, the sound of accelerated life.
How does it feel today for Lindsey Jordan, the 23-year-old who began singing Open Diary rock songs under the alias Snail Mail in 2015 when she was just 15?
“I feel like I’m in the middle school phase of early adulthood,” Jordan says over the phone from a recent tour stop in California.
“It’s awkward, and there’s growth every day. I have a lot of new emotions and even the way I interpret the music I like (has changed). The things that give me goosebumps now are completely different than the things I loved when I was 17. I can feel myself expanding.”
For Jordan, this expansion of self was an eternal thing. Growing up in quiet Ellicott City, Maryland, and after finding her feet in DC’s loud DIY scene, she seemed well on her way to becoming an indie rock star before graduating high school.
As an inexperienced songwriter, Jordan says she found a quick catharsis in “writing lyrics that describe my situation,” but over the course of writing two extremely eloquent Snail Mail albums, she eventually learned that “the search for appropriate music is a really emotional experience, too”.
“It’s like adding a second language to your experience. There’s such an art and science behind it: if you put the powerful lyric in the wrong place, it won’t sound powerful. You don’t convey what you meant,” she said.
On the second Snail Mail album – the pound sterling valentine – Jordan’s voice is a pendulum, swinging between conspiratorial sighs and big notes coming from the back of the throat, sometimes within a single phrase.
“My favorite vocal performances of all time are so over the top emotional that listening to tons of Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley is kind of instinctive,” says Jordan. “But (live) you also become more aware of how you channel emotions in a space. I know what things people react to. “It must be muggy here. And this is where it has to be loud and intense.” It’s like an energy game.”
tours for valentine was postponed to allow Jordan to recover from vocal cord surgery late last year, and now that Snail Mail is finally back on tour, she says she does more than one type of channeling on stage: “I try to channel everything what my ENT (ear, nose and throat) and physical therapist taught me.”
So that means whenever Jordan sings, she pays close attention to time, life, body and mind. If the wisdom encoded in a Snail Mail song lies in her awareness of how all of these things are changing, perhaps the implied bittersweetness of her music is knowing they’ll never be the same again.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/with-youth-still-on-her-side-lindsey-jordan-is-developing-a-sound-that-evolves-with-a-generation-41974435.html With youth on her side, Lindsey Jordan develops a sound that evolves with a generation