Watch Decemberists Soundtrack Defiant Dance in 'Once in My Life' Video - Rolling Stone
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Watch Decemberists Soundtrack Defiant Dance in ‘Once in My Life’ Video

Director Autumn de Wilde taps learning-disabled brother Jacob to bound through Los Angeles streets

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The Decemberists' new video for "Once in My Life" features a learning-disabled man defiantly dancing through Los Angeles.

The Decemberists soundtrack a defiant dance in the powerful new video for “Once in My Life.”

Autumn de Wilde directed the video, which stars her brother Jacob de Wilde. In the opening sequence, Jacob explains that he’s 7’2″, wears size 22 shoes and is learning-disabled. This narration accompanies footage of Jacob eating alone at a restaurant, trying to ignore the stares and laughs from the other patrons. After a kind word from a server, Jacob launches himself out of the restaurant and into the night, where he begins dancing through the streets of Los Angeles.

Decembrists frontman Colin Meloy said de Wilde’s video transformed “Once In My Life” into something “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.”

He added that the idea behind the clip was especially important to him as he’s watched how the world sees his 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,” Meloy said. “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” appears on the Decemberists’ latest album, I’ll Be Your Girl, which arrived in March. The group will launch a short North American tour July 26th in Bend, Oregon. Another, longer leg is set to begin September 16th in Ottawa, Ontario.

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