There was a time where an artist like Elle King would’ve never been allowed to become a fixture within country music for the industry and many of its artists would’ve found her to be an interloper just coming to the genre after she ‘failed’ as a rock star. But the truth is, she was always country with each of her previous albums showcasing the country songwriter was there in her all along. Why? Because she’s a born songwriter and country music lends itself to authentic singer/songwriters more than any other modern music genre.
On Come Get Your Wife, Elle opens up the record with “Ohio,” an homage to the state she was raised and where she found herself before the glamour of rock n roll came calling. “Before You Met Me” may not have been written by Elle herself but you know what? It suits her and her charming personality and definitely lyrically fits her. The song (and Elle herself) feel like KIN to the characters on display in Ashley McBryde’s Welcome To Lindeville album and that’s high praise in my book.
“Try Jesus” finds Elle King singing about her literal “come to Jesus” moment where she’s trying to find peace in her love life because she finds herself attracted to wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s not exactly a Christian song except it finds her praying to Jesus to find a man that won’t let her down. There are a pair of hit duets on this record in the form of “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home”) with Miranda Lambert and “Worth A Shot” with Dierks Bentley and while both are great songs, it’s the rest of the record which where Elle King shines the most.
“Lucky” feels like a future country radio hit as the vocal powerhouse sings about how fate brought her to her happiness, even if it was a bit of luck to bring her here. Lucky is also the name of her cherished young son and that gives the song an air of cheer in the sense that Elle found her place in life as a mother too. “Out Yonder” is one of the songs Elle didn’t write where but like “Before You Met Me,” it was a galvanizing moment for Elle King as she really felt like it was written FOR her. It also feels like an attitude-filled hit in waiting, if radio is ready for such a song.
“Tulsa” also feels like a rockin’ radio ready tune where she sings about a former man who left her for another woman and in a grand country music tradition the song has a double meaning if you literally spell “TULSA” back to front. It’s a wink and you’ll miss it lyric but dam if it doesn’t feel like a long lost jam from The (Dixie) Chicks.
“Crawlin’ Mood” finds Elle King singing a traditional country sing-a-long about a woman who isn’t gonna beg to go back to the man she did wrong or told off, even if she knows that’s what’ll take to get him back, she ain’t gonna do it. “Bonafide” is an acoustic country masterpiece while “Love Go By” is a song which showcases Elle King’s powerful vocals in a soulful take on a love song. Finally, she takes on a Tyler Childers track on “Jersey Giant” and it works well with this album too (even if it’s really only a part of the album’s streaming track list).
Elle King could’ve continued to make pop songs which flirted with country music and the songs would’ve been good because she’s a very good songwriter and singer but the fact that she came to Nashville, found a place to call home (both literally and musically), we’re all the better for it as Come Get Your Wife proves over its thirteen tracks: Elle King is a bonafide country music star.