Directed by Chris Sgroi, the clip shows Berninger recording the song as scenes of him on the bike flash by. He stands on a foggy beach, staring at the ocean. Originally released on Mercury Rev’s 1999 LP Deserter’s Songs, Berninger’s take is much more somber and delicate. “Holes, dug by little moles, angry jealous,” he sings over acoustic guitar. “Spies, got telephones for eyes, come to you as/Friends, all those endless ends, that can’t be.”
Berninger performed the song on Wednesday evening at the 2020 Tibet House benefit at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Produced by Booker T. Jones, the track features David Bowie’s former bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, Matt Barrick of the Walkmen and Willie Nelson’s longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael.
The single was unveiled in time for March 4th, when the Center for Reproductive Rights will present oral arguments to the Supreme Court in the case against Louisiana (June Medical Services v. Russo). “I found myself wasting a lot of time and energy worrying about all the threats to the world and to my kid’s rights,” Berninger tells Rolling Stone. “Finally, I just turned everything off and tried to chill. I started listening to a lot of old favorite records and re-reading books. All my energy and optimism came back and I started recording a lot. So many people I know are having this experience and doing their best work right now. Instead of watching everything being destroyed, why not have fun and create things that can fight back?”
The B-side features a spoken word piece by attorney Neil Katyal — President Obama’s top Supreme Court Lawyer — titled “A Reproductive Rights Call to Action.”
“I’m contributing to this record because reproductive freedom is an essential right that affects all Americans, and we shouldn’t just look to the courts to safeguard it,” Katyal said in a statement. “Congress can protect it by itself—all it takes is a few more votes.”
7-inches for Planned Parenthood was first released as a box set in 2017, containing songs by Foo Fighters, Björk, Bon Iver, St. Vincent, Sleater-Kinney, Mary J. Blige and others. The single Vol.2-Pt.1 was released in 2018 and featured Berninger, Boygenius’ Julien Baker and Stephan Altman.