Written by Jason Isbell
“You thought God was an architect. Now you know. He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow.”
If that line isn’t enough to have you itching to hear the new Jason Isbell single, “24 Frames,” then you might as well skip the rest of this review.
For those of you still here, please believe the hype. This is one artist who truly deserves the buzz that surrounds him.
The incendiary songwriting talent of Jason Isbell is made all the more impressive by his presence – his vitality – on record.
This is not one of those great alt-country songwriters who aren’t the best vehicle for their own songs. Sure, every country chart-topper should have the good enough sense to cover his stuff, but maybe they also have the good enough sense to realize that they won’t be able to top his original recordings.
“24 Frames” is the perfect introduction to Isbell, should you have missed 2013’s Southeastern. Yes, the writing is clever, but the cleverness always remains in service to the poignancy of the song’s message. And it’s a powerful message, at that, managing to evoke nostalgia while also reminding of the urgency that is now.
It’s a song that can hit home for someone who is newly in love, for someone who lost someone they love, even for someone who is, or is in love with, an addict. It’s not his masterpiece – that remains “Elephant” – but it’s among his best recordings to date, and despite his relatively young recording career, that is already an impressive distinction.