“My Cleveland Heart” will appear on Browne’s forthcoming studio album, Downhill from Everywhere, which is due out on June 23.
The video features the 72-year-old singer/songwriter getting wheeled into an operating room, where he undergoes surgery to replace his heart with a mechanical one. The musicians who are featured on the track also appear as hospital staff members: lead guitarist Val McCallum, lap-steel player Greg Leisz, drummer Pete Thomas, bassist Davey Faragher, and backing singer Jeff Young.
McCallum, who co-wrote the song with Browne and contributes vocals to the chorus, is featured as the lead surgeon in the video. As the clip nears the end, Browne’s heart is removed and handed to a nurse, who’s portrayed by acclaimed singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers. Shortly after that, the camera catches Bridgers with blood on her face after having taken a bite out of the heart.
Jackson, who’s previously collaborated with Phoebe a few times, tells Rolling Stone about her appearance in the video, “I thought it was really appropriate to take out my worn-out, useless heart and hand it to Phoebe. Who better to hand [it] to than somebody young, strong, and possibly as cynical as me?”
Browne says he came up with the lyrics for “My Cleveland Heart” while driving around Cleveland with a friend who told him about an interesting building they passed.
“The person I was driving with said, ‘That’s Cleveland Heart,"” Browne recalls. “‘That’s where they make artificial hearts.’ I said, ‘Oh, I could use one of those!"”
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