New Karen Elson Single ‘Broken Shadow’ Wants Us to Embrace Our Emotional Imperfections

During the last two years of pandemic dread, Karen Elson has popped up exactly when we’ve needed her most. Indeed, as the second wave surge spread across the continents in fall of 2020, she released her wonderful covers EP Radio Redhead Vol. 1, featuring her poignantly stripped-down updates of Cher’s ‘Believe,’ Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, and Abba’s ‘Lay All Your Love On Me‘. Then last summer, as we were anxiously wondering whether or not the vaccines would succeed in rescuing us from oblivion, she decisively cheered us up with her exuberant Moschino mini-musical ‘Lightning Strikes’.

And now she comes bearing timely wisdom, at a moment when we are at last attempting to sort out how to move forward from this long and fatal crisis – and while a terrible war rages just a continent away. Indeed, with her poignant new single ‘Broken Shadow,’ she lyrically offers us good reason to hold on to hope:

“And we don’t know where we’re going
And we don’t know about tomorrow
In your eyes, a light is showing
You’re with me now”

“It’s the most autobiographical song, the lyrics poured out of me,” she reveals. “‘Broken Shadow’ is about recognizing that we’re all flawed, complicated, and a little bit fucked up and making peace with that. It’s about loving the broken parts of yourself.”

And surely many of us have been left at least somewhat damaged by the events of the last twenty-four months – so her words resonate in a particularly affective manner.

“COVID strangely catapulted me into this frame of deep reflection. I did a lot of work to reconcile places in the past I deemed broken or complicated and showed the shadow back to myself. I’m telling the shadow, ‘You’re my friend and a part of me. Let’s continue’.”

Musically, it’s rife with longing and dreamy melancholy, with its wistfully strummed guitars and echo-laden atmospherics – like ’70s Cali folk-pop as filtered through Mazzy Star. It’s actually one of three tracks that appear on the soundtrack to the HBO Max sci-fi comedy Moonshot, streaming as of March 31.

We can’t help but look ahead, though, to the arrival of her third studio album Green, which will be released via Big Yellow Dog on April 29. Something tells us the timing will be just perfect.

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