Something More Than Free
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10\10 for Jason Isbell

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Jason Isbell is James Blunt for people who know what music is. Even though James Blunt’s latest album proved that he knows how to sound like something worth listening to, Isbell is rocking the pathetic concept more seriously. At the age of 22, he became a member of a group Drive-By Truckers. He was a small boy surrounded by men who were 10-15 years older than him. Five years later, he left the group and got hooked on alcohol and few other substances. Now, when he is 35 (the same age as Dante was when he was going through hell), he decided to release a record and explicitly express his guilt for being a baggage to his mother.

His new album  is hardcore americana that sustains its approachability and pop form without losing its deepness. Isbell sings stories that make your blood freeze. He is externalizing the pain like he is on psychotherapy and he sounds like he is having fun during the process.

Something More Than Free is a biblical record. Even though Bible is not directly referred, there are a lot allusions and motives such as forgiveness, sacrifice, guilt. Protagonists of Isbell’s songs are people with problem, unhappy individuals that never had a chance to experience life’s joy, those who are bound to guilt.

The album start optimistically. If It Takes a Lifetime is just a trick because the rest of the album is grows epic sadness. Central piece is Children of Children in which the author describes teenage parents and the guilt feeling he had because he had taken half of his mother’s life by being born when she was only 17. His parents couldn’t stay together because no one that young knows what love is. Instrumental solos say the unspeakable. In title song, he swear on protestant work ethic. Maybe that is his solution to struggle with demons: work work work. In the interview with Rolling Stone magazine, he said how he started reading more and spending time with hard workers because their problems are real problems.

Besides the mastery of song creation, I also need to accentuate his wife Amanda Shires who is a virtuous on a violin. Without her, this album would be 4\5. This way, it’s simply perfect five.


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