“Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine

“Shake It Out” presents two meanings based on the content of its lyrics. The first being the idea of breaking away from regrets or problems that took place in one’s past and moving on to something better.

In that case, we see the singer talking about how regrets cause you to live in darkness and keep you stuck in your past mistakes. She then echoes her determination to fight and shake them off in order to get a grip on her life and enjoy every moment from henceforth.

The second idea the song presents is that of a literal hangover and how the singer plans to recover from it by shaking it off. She best describes this hangover as a demon she found along the way, while seeking pleasure in drinking (heaven). Both ideas fit perfectly into the theme of the song, however the main message here is that the writer is willing to overcome a season of darkness, grief or self-pity and restart another phase of her life.

Facts about “Shake It Out”

This is the lead single from Florence and The Machine’s second album, Ceremonials. And Island Records alongside the following labels put it out on September 14th, 2011:

  • Universal Republic Records
  • Universal Music Group
  • The Vinyl Factory
  • Fairfax Recordings

The song was written by the lead singer of the band, Florence Welch, as well as the track’s producer, Paul Epworth, whom she had a professional history with. And according to Welch, the composition of the hit came about sort of spontaneously while she was simultaneously suffering from a mild hangover.

As with the rest of Ceremonials, this track was recorded in the famous Abbey Road Studios (former recording studio of the Beatles).

“Shake It Out” proved to be one of Florence and The Machine’s most notable hits. For instance, it earned the band a Grammy nomination in 2013. And the year prior, they actually took home the NME Award for Best Track due to this tune.

Chart-wise it was accordingly successful, topping Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart and reaching number 12 on the UK Singles Chart. The song also went double-platinum in the United States and overall boasts of charting in over a dozen countries.

A 2011 remix of this song by R&B artist The Weeknd also received an ample amount of media attention.

Music Video

The music video to this track, which was filmed in London’s Eltham Palace, employed British filmographer Dawn Shadforth as its director. It utilized a distinct 1920s’ aesthetic which was partially inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), a novel which Florence + The Machine is known to have sort of an affinity for. Moreover according to Florence Welch, the clip was intentionally imbued with “sort of satanic undertones”.


The lyrics of “Shake It Out” basically express the need to let go of past regrets and move on with one’s life.

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