The track was originally included on Georgas’ latest album All That Emotion, released in September and produced by another National member, Aaron Dessner, for his label Brassland. Georgas co-wrote “Pray It Away” with Dessner, and she chose to collaborate with Berninger after she sang with him as part of the National’s touring band last year.
“In a lot of ways, All That Emotion is a personal record, but ‘Pray It Away’ ended up being very collaborative,” Georgas said. “I co-wrote the song with my producer Aaron Dessner, who sent me an instrumental during the time I was writing and demoing. A close friend of mine inspired the lyrics. She told me over dinner one night that a family member didn’t want to attend her wedding because she was marrying a woman. I wrote the song the next day using the chord progression from Aaron’s demo. It was upsetting to see my friend go through what she was dealing with at a time where she should have been celebrating.”
She added that Dessner was the one to suggest that she duet on the song with Berninger. “Ironically, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit when we were actually able to follow through with this idea, together. It’s so lovely it all worked out and we were able to make it happen in the end.”
Berninger recently released his own debut solo album, Serpentine Prison.