Matt Corby is a multi-award winning Australian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Corby’s latest single “Problems” is the first bit of new material from the acclaimed Aussie artist since 2020’s standalone singles “If I Never Say A Word” and “Vitamin” — and the first single on his new label, UK-based Communion Music.
“Problems” can trace its origins to earlier this year: On the day Corby was going to start recoding his new album, he and his family were rescued by a neighbor. Their home had been engulfed by floodwaters that raged through Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. After nervously watching his very pregnant partner and young son be whisked away in a small, inflatable dinghy, he got to work ferrying provisions to stranded neighbors and locals and digging rotting mud out from beneath his home.
Within a week of the flood, Corby returned to the studio, and wound up writing and recording “Problems,” a funky R&B-inspired bop centered around a strutting bass line, twinkling keys and boom bap-like drumming paired with the Aussie artist’s plaintive crooning and his unerring knack for well-placed, razor sharp hooks. Sonically, “Problems” sounds indebted to D’Angelo and Mayer Hawthorne — but while rooted in personal, lived-in experience and astute observation of human behavior and character. The song’s message is a simple and profound one: While maybe your own world is on fire or about to sink under water, the most important thing is that you and your loved ones are alive — and mostly well.
“It’s about how funny humans are creating our own problems and issues that we then have to solve. Or creating problems so difficult we then can’t solve,” Corby says. “And how people talk so much shit and don’t do anything – how we’re setting ourselves up for failure. People want to point the finger but nobody wants to carry anything themselves.”
Directed and edited by Murli Dhir, the accompanying video for “Problems” stars Rob James McLean, as its protagonist, who projects an absurd ignorance and perhaps even joy in the face of profound, hyperreal disaster: He crawls out of a totaled car with a gleeful glint in his eyes, which he follows with a dance; dancing on a dinghy that’s rapidly taking on water — in the middle of a lake; being taken to a hospital for a potential procedure; and even arrest. Throughout the video, McLean’s expression and body language in the face of disaster and oblivion seems to say “As long as I still have life, I’m good. There’s hope as long as you’re breathing.”
“When I first heard ‘Problems,’ I knew I wanted to make a bright and funny video that showed someone grooving completely oblivious to their problems around them,” Murli Dhir explains. “I thought it’d be interesting to portray serious events in a way that ultimately shows, ‘well, even though nothing is going well right now, I’m still alive and everything will be okay, so i guess it’s not really that bad.’”