The Lumineers Explore Alcoholism In Jarring Music Video

By Kelly Burch 06/03/19

The storyline for the video was inspired in part by frontman Wesley Schultz’s own experience with a loved one living with alcoholism. 

Image: 
still from The Lumineers' new video
Photo via YouTube

The newest music video from The Lumineers shows the heartbreak and destruction brought by alcoholism, as it follows the path of fictional Gloria Sparks, a woman whose alcoholism destroys her family. 

“Gloria” is the first song released from The Lumineers' upcoming album III, which follows three generations of the fictional Sparks family. In the music video, Gloria is seen drinking around her infant, fighting with her spouse, and ultimately leaving the scene of a car accident that she caused.

The storyline that plays out in the “Gloria” video was inspired in part by frontman Wesley Schultz’s own experience with a loved one living with alcoholism. 

“Gloria is an addict,” Schultz told Variety. “No amount of love or resources could save her. She’s now been homeless for over a year. Loving an addict is like standing among the crashing waves, trying to bend the will of the sea.”

Schultz didn’t specify what his relationship was with the addict in his family, but he did mention that he had intimate experience with addiction.

“So many people are touched by addiction, way more than is talked about,” he said. “It’s a lot like cancer in that it is this way too common thing in our culture.”

Through dealing with his family member, he realized how powerful addiction is, he said. 

“Trying to love an addict out of drinking, or put them in rehab, or using any resource you have to get them through it, everything we tried failed miserably,” he said. “We tried to put her in rehab almost a half dozen times overall, and nothing worked. We tried all of these spots for her to succeed in and ‘beat this addiction,’ but it’s become a really humbling experience. That whole willpower thing was thrown out the window really quickly.”

When Schultz opened up about his experience, he connected with people with similar stories, which helped him create the storyline for “Gloria.” 

“I get a lot of common ground with people that I never knew were dealing with anything like that, so that part has been eye-opening,” he said. “It does feel like there’s this force beyond you and beyond the person you care about that is at work and at play, and no matter what you do, it seems like the disease is going to do what it wants to do and takes over this person you really care about. You’re with them through the ups and downs.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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