Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free is one of the best albums of this year, and today he’s released a video for the working-class hat-tip title track. When I interviewed Isbell, he talked about how being around people that are actually struggling with day-to-day life is part of what helps keep him grounded. This video is basically a visual representation of that idea, and it chronicles the tiny tasks and daily routines that tie us to our sanity. It’s easy to resent going to work and doing your job, but “Something More Than Free” is a song breaks down how important it is that we have something to fill our time, that we have something to work toward. “I don’t think on why I’m here or where it hurts / I’m just lucky to have the work,” goes a line from the chorus that multiple characters in the video end up singing. It’s a flip on the idea that work is something to be avoided, instead cultivating thankfulness through community, family, and physical labor.
“I think as you get older, if you mature and grow in the right way, then eventually you realize it’s not really freedom that you’re fighting for,” Isbell said. “It’s what that freedom can get you. It’s freedom combined with the ability to make good decisions and align your priorities correctly. The ability to make those decisions is a privilege that not everybody has.” Nothing sums that sentiment up better than this video by director James Weems, so watch it below.
Something More Than Free is out now via Southeastern Records. Get it here.