The Decemberists launch emotionally charged video for Once In My Life

The Decemberists have launched a powerful video for their new single Once In My Life.

The song has been taken from the band’s eighth album I’ll Be Your Girl, which arrived in March this year via Rough Trade Records.

The video was directed by Autumn de Wilde and features her brother Jacob, who is 7’ 2” and has Auditory Processing Disorder. Autumn describes the shoot as a love letter to him.

Vocalist and guitarist Colin Meloy says: “We were searching for a video idea for Once In My Life that would somehow capture the spirit of the song. In my mind, the song is a meditation, a plea to the cosmos that I imagine everyone, at some point or another, has made. 

“We asked our old friend and collaborator Autumn de Wilde to pitch an idea and she came to us with a simple but powerful story: a depiction of her brother Jacob, a man who has lived with physical and intellectual differences his entire life, dancing in the streets of Los Angeles. 

“The song, in this light, becomes more than just a ‘celebration of sadness’ – which I have sometimes called it – but suddenly a longing holler to the universe against one’s perceived otherness.”

I had been wanting to explore a creative collaboration with my brother for a while, and this was the perfect song

Autumn de Wilde

Meloy continues: “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 behavioural 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 revelling in his body and mind.”

Autumn says that Once In My Life is the song she needed when she was young “when I felt stared at, mocked or unseen for my heart and mind.”

She adds: “Jacob also had an immediate emotional reaction to the song when I played it for him the first time. I had been wanting to explore a creative collaboration with my brother for a while, and this was the perfect song.”

The Decembrists will head out on tour from next week across North America. They’ll then head across the Atlantic in November for dates in Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe.

The Decemberists - I’ll Be Your Girl

The Decemberists - I’ll Be Your Girl
The Decemberists eighth studio album I’ll Be Your Girl sees the band broaden their sonic range and explore new approaches to making music. Features the single Once In My Life.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.