Updated: Jun 20, 2020
Genuine badass rock stars are hard to come by these days. But someone who is the epitome of just that, with Joplin-esque vocals is Tanner Elle Schneider--or better known as, Elle King. This 30 year old star was born in LA to her model mother and her comedian father, Rob Schneider. After her parents divorce King and her mother moved to southern Ohio where she grew up, out of the spotlight. Even young Elle knew she always had a desire for creating music, and although her father is uber famous, she wanted to carve a life for herself; saying in an interview, “I really care about earning things myself. I’ve played every empty bar, I played street corners until somebody heard me.” And they did, in 2012 she was signed to RCA Records, and by 2016 she had a hit-single, “Ex’s and Oh’s”, topping Billboard Charts and gaining her critical acclaim in two Grammy nominations.
Before, during, and after her huge hit single, King continued to open for large headlining tours, swimming between country, pop, and rock genres. But with all her new-found fame, she went through many emotional struggles; anxiety, divorce, and PTSD. Instead of dawning on it all, she took her pain to music, “I was so manic,” she says. “One day I was like, ‘Here’s a fun game! How many pianos can I get delivered to the house in one day?’ And I got three fucking pianos.” Which is ironically, also what I do when I’m going through a hard time. But from the ashes of her suffering, she rose and created her second studio album, Shake the Spirit.
At the start of the album, King opens the saloon doors belting with gritty vocals, twangy guitars, for a Western sounding tune, “Baby Outlaw.” She exclaims,“well I ain't nobody's baby/Baby, I'm an outlaw;” letting us all know her rebel spirit is still alive and well and ready to rock another record. On the fourth track, King gets very candid about her breakup in her song, “Man’s Man.” The track is complete with bright keys, energetic drums and a funky bass line, while King growls, “Stupid me, I fell back onto your knife/It only took three weeks, to hustle me into being your wife,” shortly followed by, “While you were away/I fucked somebody on our one year wedding anniversary day.” This very personal story, gives you a pinhole into Elle King’s life and what she’s been dealing with, along with the influence and need to release what has been weighing on her into this album. Halfway through, King brings in true soul for her song, “Good Thing Gone.” This track is a tender slow jam, featuring a gospel choir, with King mournfully crying out, “'Cause I always knew you'd fall out of love with me.” At the end of the tune, you can feel the despair from King as her voice is shaking, emphasizing her vulnerability and sincerity. Keeping with this confessional vibe, is “Sober,” a song she sings about her struggles with alcohol, while a wailing electric guitar fades in and out. But one of the best headbangers from the album is “Ram Jam,” perfected with heavy vocal effects, and a guest star appearance by a . . . you guessed it, baritone saxophone. The last track, “Little Bit of Lovin,'” ends the record on a high note, with a reprise of the twangy electric guitar, bouncing piano, and gospel choir. King also show’s a more positive perspective, as she describes although he’s been through much emotional turbulence, she still has love left to give.
LONG STORY SHORT: This album tells a personal story about failed love, and all the nitty gritty that comes with it. She’s cool, plays the banjo, and has over 55 tattoos. Why are you not listening to this album right now?