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The Shins Return With ‘The Great Divide’

Still from The Shins' "The Great Divide"

After two and a half years, The Shins have released a new track, “The Great Divide,” and it’s pretty timely.

Released via James Mercer‘s label Aural Apothecary and Monotone Records, the song was co-written and produced by James Mercer, Jon Sortland and Yuuki Matthews.

Mercer describes the tune as “a blend of futurism and nostalgia. We used everything from vintage synthesizers to iPhones, from a sixties Ludwig kit to an 808.” In Mercer’s unmistakable style, the lyrics of the song tap into humanity’s current collective angst, against a backdrop of reassuring melodies that evoke both bracing freshness and comforting familiarity. “It’s an epic about longing and love in a broken world,” says Mercer. “I guess we wanted to try to provide a bit of warmth and sentiment in hard times.”

“The Great Divide” also comes with a video directed by Paul Trillo with creative direction by Jon Sortland. You can see that below.

But that’s not all. The Shins also released a “Flipped” version of the track via Amazon Music and appears on the Stay Indie playlist.

“When the Shins do a ‘flipped’ version of a song,” Mercer said in a statement, “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!”

Listen to “The Great Divide (Flipped)” below.