Shake the Spirit

Shake the Spirit

“I had a broken spirit,” Elle King tells Apple Music. “This is my journey of finding self-love.” On her triumphant sophomore album, recorded during the fallout of a short-lived marriage, the “Ex’s & Oh’s” breakout star recounts her struggles with fame, drugs, depression, and heartbreak. “My life just completely fell apart,” she says. “I struggled pretty badly with PTSD and music was the only thing that made me feel safe.” King cowrote much of the album with her band, The Brethren, producer Tim Pagnotta, and industry heavyweight Greg Kurstin (Sia, Adele), the latter of whom agreed to come and write at King’s house when she wasn’t up to leaving. King says Kurstin was particularly instrumental on “Runaway,” a dreamy, romantic ballad that twists her howl into a croon. “If I were to write a Roy Orbison song, that would be it,” she says. Elsewhere, she carries us through soul-wrenching heartache (“Good Thing Gone”), angst (“Ram Jam”), and pure, sweet catharsis (“Little Bit of Lovin’,” an invigorating electric number about not giving up). The latter song, King’s favorite, was written early on in the process and served as a guiding light for the album. “It was this weird marker of ‘I can get there, I can do this,’” she says. “It opened my eyes to what I was capable of.”

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