Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell‘s new “The Problem” music video is as intimate as the song itself. The collaborators and real-life couple address each other, face to face, in the simple, yet emotional clip.
Directed by Becky Fluke, Shires and Isbell’s “The Problem” video perfectly captures the conversation that the song chronicles, using live vocals from the filming rather than the studio version of the song, which was released on Sept. 28.
“The video’s focus on the conversation never drifts, and you can really feel the emotion,” Shires tells CMT, admitting that it was hard for her not to cry during filming. She later adds, “It was heavy. It felt like we were having that conversation again for the first time.”
Shires originally wrote “The Problem” a few years ago, as a song about a group of women talking about another woman getting an abortion. That version will see the light of day sometime, she tells The Boot, but in these lyrics, she and her husband and fellow musician play two 18-year-olds who are faced with unexpected news, never outright named but artfully implied, and walk through their decision to get an abortion.
Shires penned “The Problem” from the perspectives of friends and acquaintances, but also as someone who has sought an abortion herself. She and Isbell, who got married in 2013 and welcomed their daughter, Mercy, in 2015, were older than the couple in the song at the time, but it was a rocky time in their relationship. Still he supported her decision every step of the way, she says.
“We can’t really make any changes in the world or stand by people going through tough decisions if we don’t have friends on our side,” Shires reflects, “… and, you know, a lot of men do believe we should have our own rights to our bodies.”
Proceeds from “The Problem” are being donated to the Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama-based abortion fund and reproductive justice organization. Both Shires and Isbell have ties to the state, and Shires hopes that by working with a smaller organization, they can make a real difference.
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