"13th Century Metal" finds Brittany Howard layering a spoken-word mission statement about self care over an intense jam of distorted organ and drums. After denouncing those "who are determined to keep us in the dark ages of fear," her self-affirmation concludes with the repeated mantra of "give in to love."
For this song, Howard brought in keyboardist Robert Glasper and drummer Nate Smith, who both come from serious jazz backgrounds. They started jamming on the spot while the Alabama Shakes leader threw words over their music. She recalled to Uncut magazine:
"I took it later and cut it up and put it together. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do over it, because there's no room for a melody, there's so many melodies happening. I decided it had to be something spoken word. I was in my notes on my phone and I found this thing I had written a long time ago, when I was in this place where I was so devastated by the state of the world. And I wrote this powerful message to my own self: you be the best you can be, and then that's going to affect the world the way it's going to. You don't have to solve world issues, because I'm not really put here for that. That's what that's about."