Two and a half years of work have gone into the new LP, which was originally titled You Can’t Kill Me Because I Don’t Exist. Produced mostly by Shake’s go-to collaborator Dave Hamelin, with finishing touches and added genius from Mike Dean, who Shake calls the album’s “final boss.” The legendary producer and engineer started working on the project back in August, and his fingerprints are all over the record. “Once we get to a solid place with the music, we go see him and he takes it to where it needs to be,” Shake says of the self-anointed Synth God, Mike Dean. “I’ll be making something and people will be like, ‘It’s OK. It’s not that crazy.’ Then I’m like, ‘Just wait until Mike works on it. Let’s wait for Mike.’ You know what I’m saying? I don’t judge anything until after Mike touches it. I know that he’s always gonna take it out to the next level.”
Shake explains that the two-plus-year journey behind her upcoming record left her with far more songs to narrow down into the 14-track package than usual, but she was still searching for the same feeling as she was when she completed Modus. The specific type of feeling? Well, that’s more difficult to describe. “It’s a feeling,” she says. “Once you make a song that carries this feeling, it’s just undeniable, and that’s what I’m searching for when I’m making music. When I make a song, and it carries that feeling, I’m just like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna put this one to the side.’ And we make a bunch more like that. Those ones that feel right.”
The album is a behemoth of flashy synths, vocal stacking, and in-your-face emotion. The music is guided by unexpected but recurring tempo changes, heart-wrenching melodies, and theatrical elements, which can be felt viscerally on the goosebump-inducing ballad-turned-electronic-bop “History.” Other standouts include the stirring dance number “Cocoon,” and Auto-Tuned closer “Se Fue La Luz.” Shake explains that the twists and turns on You Can’t Kill Me mirror her unique perspective on life.
“Just to keep it real with you, G.O.O.D. Music is not really a thing. Like, nobody works for G.O.O.D. Music. They don’t even exist.”
“It reflects me as a person,” Shake says of the record’s constantly-shifting dynamic. “I don’t like when things don’t change. Especially in music, like, I can’t hear the same boom bap drums. Your bars got to be crazy. I love when things change, and new things come in, because my mind is always different. I have ADHD. Like right now, I’m trying to balance everything out that’s happening. I think the ADHD does help me when I’m making music, though, because I’ll be here and then the next second, I want something else.”
The jarring title of You Can’t Kill Me and corresponding theme fall in line with Shake’s ideology on life. Modus Vivendi was named, as Shake has shared in interviews, as an ode to “coming together,” but this one is all about the opposite: “Disassociating.” She has removed herself from social media for the most part and focused on life, which to Shake, feels like it’s already happened. Over dinner, she explains how she feels about the passing of time, and with the level of sincerity she has in her voice, I start to feel like she’s already seen me finish my food.
“Just the way that moments go by, we’re already here,” she tells me, explaining that she often sees life as if it already happened. “I can remember myself being a kid, and now I’m here. And I’m gonna open my eyes again and I’m gonna be over there. So it’s preparing yourself for the inevitable, which is life. Life is inevitable in general. Time passes, and we’re going to be somewhere else. I just feel like in my mind, I’m already there. Going through the moment, slowly.”