The Shins are back with their first new music of 2020 with ‘The Great Divide’. Co-written and produced by The Shins’ James Mercer, Jon Sortland and Yuuki Matthews, the track arrives with an accompanying music video directed by Paul Trillo. Check it out below.
In a statement, Mercer explained that the single is “an epic about longing and love in a broken world. I guess we wanted to try to provide a bit of warmth and sentiment in hard times.” He adds that the track is “a blend of futurism and nostalgia. We used everything from vintage synthesizers to iPhones, from a sixties Ludwig kit to an 808.”
Director Paul Trillo commented: “For me, “The Great Divide” is about coming to a turning point. The theme of the song speaks to this palpable rift we’re all feeling right now. So when Jon Sortland first reached out with a flurry of ideas, I got really excited at what this could be. We knew we wanted to craft something as grand as the song; something that was both wildly surreal yet also resonates on a human level. I wanted to place the current state of things, this “Great Divide” we’re going through, within the larger context of the universe. Like the song itself, It was both timely and timeless. That’s when I sort of stumbled on this idea of an infinite zoom out through time. The song also has this entrancing quality that keeps pulling you in further and further, so that continual motion made a lot of sense.”
The Shins have also released an Amazon Original “flipped” version of the track, which you can listen to below. Mercer explained: “When the Shins do a “flipped” version of a song, the goal is always to re-approach the production aesthetic and show a different side to the piece. The idea is that a song properly written can be framed in many different contexts and still remain engaging. Yuuki Matthews, Jon Sortland and I sat down and talked about how we could change things up. The original idea was to treat it like a piano ballad but that soon gave way to Yuuki‘s moody post new wave treatment. I immediately loved it and so the direction was established. When we flip a song correctly you should have a hard time picking which version you like best!”
Last year, The Shins released two tracks dedicated to Richard Swift, ‘Waimanalo’ and ‘Trapped By the Sea’. Their last album was 2018’s The Worms Heart.