The Shins sing of “longing and love in a broken world” on new track ‘The Great Divide’

Frontman James Mercer says he wants the song to "provide a bit of warmth and sentiment in hard times"

The Shins have returned today with a brand new single – watch their video for ‘The Great Divide’ below.

The track is the first new material of 2020 from James Mercer and co.

“It’s an epic about longing and love in a broken world,” Mercer said of the track. “I guess we wanted to try to provide a bit of warmth and sentiment in hard times.”


The frontman went on to describe the track as “a blend of futurism and nostalgia,” saying: “We used everything from vintage synthesizers to iPhones, from a sixties Ludwig kit to an 808.”

Watch the video for ‘The Great Divide’, directed by Paul Trillo, below.

“For me, ‘The Great Divide’ is about coming to a turning point,” Trillo said of the track. “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 band have also shared a “flipped” version of the song, recorded in a different tone and mood, which you can stream via Amazon Music below.


Last year, The Shins shared two new songs in tribute to their late bandmate Richard Swift, called ‘Waimanalo’ and ‘Trapped By the Sea’. Swift died of complications from alcoholism aged 41, in July 2018 in Tacoma, Washington.

Prior to that pair of songs, the band released their last full-length album with 2017’s ‘Heartworms’. Reviewing ‘Heartworms’, NME wrote: “‘Heartworms’ feels like a pretty accurate way to describe a collection of Shins songs: sweet, indie-folk numbers that burrow inside you, find their way to your vital organ and prod it until teenage levels of emotion are emitted.”

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