Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
July 14, 2016 at 12:41 PM EDT

Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips has had quite the journey from his first band’s success in the early ’90s when he was a teenager, to now touring with the group as it celebrates the upcoming 25th anniversary of its biggest album, fear, and preparing to release his new solo offering, Swallowed by the New. The 45-year-old is also on the other side of a divorce that surprisingly left him “happier than I’ve ever been in a decade,” he tells EW.

Which brings us to EW’s exclusive premiere of “Amnesty” — Phillips’ track and the video — above. The upbeat song from Swallowed by the New touches on that separation, with lyrics like, “How could I have known it’s braver to surrender?”

“What if you just actually leave each other in better condition than you started? What if you go through it together and then when it’s done, you don’t hurt each other,” Phillips muses, referring to his ex-wife as “an amazing woman.” “It’s amazing to look at it now instead of from the middle of all that pain [when it was written], to just look at it like, God, this is kind of the best thing that ever happened to me. And I had no idea when I was doing this record that that’s really what it was. It’s a great gift.”

Phillips laughs at himself as he recalls his initial intentions when he began writing the album. “I was like, ‘I want to make a happy record. I’m not going to do a breakup record.’ I was very determined to skip over the hard work of it, and I didn’t want to make a downer record either,” he says, later adding, “It’s a heavy album but I don’t think it’s necessarily a dark album.”

Before Swallowed by the New is released on Oct. 7 (pre-order starts Friday), Phillips and the rest of Toad are hitting the road to play their third studio album, fear, in its entirety in honor of its 25th anniversary on Aug. 27. “It’s a fun way to spend the summer,” the singer says.

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