Ariel + the Undertow came to formation towards the end of the lead singer's battle with chronic fatigue syndrome. The illness caused Rubin to quit her job as a photographer and move home where she spent a year sleeping and writing music. "During this period, I was functioning very slowly and each day was a battle to complete the most basic tasks," recalls Rubin. "I described this to a friend who told me the story of when she nearly drowned. Something about it felt so familiar. She relayed how the harder she fought the current, the quicker it pulled her under. It was only when she stopped struggling that she was raised back to the surface. There was something so beautiful and metaphoric about her description of that moment of letting go."
This idea resulted in Ariel + the Undertows new musical energy and message. "The first lines on our upcoming record (on the song titled "Kindness From Strangers") are 'Oh Marilyn, Virginia, and Sylvia too/ So bold with such beauty, so filled with the blues/ Ive idolized and fantasized and got down there too/ But no matter what happens I won't follow you! The names reference Marilyn Monroe, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath and its both a statement of appreciation for the intense emotion so many artists struggle with and a triumphant refusal to step into darkness and death."