When Elle King was growing up in southern Ohio, she was a troublesome child who got thrown out of every school she attended. The teen Elle was unpopular with other parents, who considered her a bad influence on their kids. She told Billboard
: "I've always kind of known that. I've always gone harder than everybody else."
In 2017 King "definitely went pretty hard." The singer explained that after moving to LA she hang out with a group of people who were like an older version of her troublesome teen self. She wrote this song the following year looking back at her hijinks.
"'Shame,' was kind of a fun way to spin some of last year," King said. "You see the bad kids and you kind of want to party with them."