The Decemberists Share Poignant “Once In My Life” Video

“Once In My Life” is a powerful mediation on hope

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The Decemberists Share Poignant “Once In My Life” Video

Hopelessness finds us all at some point in our lives. These days, it might even feel unavoidable—the state of the world is enough to make many of us want to shrink, to crawl away from it all. Back in March, The Decemberists released a small antidote to this feeling: “Once In My Life,” the second single off their latest LP I’ll Be Your Girl. Anthemic and synthy, this folk-pop track shares in our collective frustration while still pointing us somewhere happier.

On Tuesday, The Decemberists shared their music video for the track, which sees this message resonating to new heights. The near seven-minute-long video, directed by longtime rock director and photographer Autumn de Wilde, features a man named Jacob (who also happens to be de Wilde’s brother.) Sitting at a table at a diner, his frame looks giant, of which he explains: He is 7’2”, with size 22 shoes. Jacob, who also has learning disabilities and auditory processing disorder, imparts a gentle plea: “When you have a learning disability […] the best thing to do is, if they are different, is not to judge them.” In the background, patrons at the diner begin to gawk and laugh at him. Yet he breaks free. Soon, he is dancing in the streets, unapologetic and unrestrained, finding his own hope for the next four minutes.

In a statement, The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy explains:

This idea is particularly close to me as I’ve witnessed how the world sees my son Hank, who is autistic. When I’m out in public with Hank, I’m acutely aware of the world’s attachment to social and behavioral norms; in these situations, Hank’s otherness can suddenly be put in stark relief. Through the lens of Jacob’s joyful and defiant movement in Autumn’s video, we see a man shrugging off the constraints of an unaccommodating and judgmental world and truly reveling in his body and mind.

“Once In My Life” takes on a special weight here. As Meloy sings, “Oh, for once in my life / Could just something go / Could just something go right?” it feels as if the answer has always been yes. Watching Jacob, it looks like the freedom of joy exists in all of us, always—we only need to embrace it.

Watch the music video for “Once In My Life” below, and scroll further down to see tour dates for The Decemberists this summer and fall.

The Decemberists Your Girl / Your Ghost World Tour Dates:

July
26 – Bend, Ore. @ Les Schwab Amphitheater +
27 – Oakland, Calif. @ The Fox Theater +
28 – Stateline, Nev. @ Montbleu Resort & Casino +
30 – San Diego, Calif. @ Humphrey’s +
31 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Greek Theatre +

August
01 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ House of Blues +
02 – Park City, Utah @ Snow Park Amphitheater +
04-05 – Missoula, Mont. @ Travelers’ Rest
09 – Edmonton, Alberta @ Edmonton Folk Festival
11 – Aspen, Colo. @ Belly Up Aspen *
12 – Fort Collins, Colo. @ Bohemian Nights at Newwestfest
14 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at Prospect Park Bandshell^

September
16 – Ottawa, Ontario @ Cityfolk
17 – Hamilton, Ontario @ FirstOntario Concert Hall #
18 – Columbus, Ohio @ Express Live! #
20 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ Taft Theatre #
21 – Birmingham, Ala. @ Iron City Birmingham #
22 – St. Augustine, Fla. @ Sing Out Loud: A City of St. Augustine Celebration of Music
23 – Lake Buena Vista, Fla. @ House of Blues #
25 – Houston, Texas @ White Oak Music Hall #
26 – New Orleans, La. @ Civic Theatre #
27 – Dallas, Texas @ Majestic Theater #
29 – Austin, Texas @ Bass Concert Hall #
30 – Tulsa, Okla. @ Cain’s Ballroom #

October
01 – Omaha, Neb. @ Holland Performing Arts Center #
02 – Madison, Wis. @ The Sylvee #
04 – North Adams, Mass. @ MASS MoCA ~
05 – Boston, Mass. @ Orpheum Theater ~
08 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ Murat Theatre at Old National Centre ~

November
04 – Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street %
05 – Glasgow, U.K. @ O2 Academy %
07 – London, U.K. @ Eventim Apollo %
08 – Bristol, U.K. @ O2 Academy %
10 – Leeds, U.K. @ O2 Academy %
11 – Nottingham, U.K. @ Rock City %
12 – Manchester, U.K. @ Albert Hall %
14 – Utrecht, Netherlands @ Grote Zaal TiVre %
15 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso %
16 – Berlin, Germany @ Astra %
17 – Rust, Germany @ Rolling Stone Park @ Europa-Park

(+ – with Whitney)
(^ – with Hamilton Leithauser)
(* – Givers)
(# – Kacy & Clayton)
(~ – Marissa Nadler)
(% – Hop Along)

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