I’ve been a Buck 65 fan for years upon years upon years. Ever since “Wicked & Weird” hit the airwaves, I’ve been gobbling up anything of his that I could get my hands on, from Weirdo Magnet to the Dirtbike Sessions, to the Bike For Three! records, etc. There’s nothing that man’s put out that I haven’t given a listen to, and for the most part, I’ve been overwhelmingly enamored with his oeuvre. So you can understand just how excited I was when I finally got my hands on a copy of “Neverlove”, Buck’s latest release, earlier this week. Now turn that excitement into a crushing feeling of dismay, swallowed up and turned into an upset stomach, and that’s where I’m at right now with this record.

© Buck 65, 2014

© Buck 65, 2014

It all started back in 2013. I caught a Buck 65 show at the Corona (which only cost 5$ for some reason) and was hella jazzed when he hit the stage, new tracks in hand. Something felt off, though. The man looked beat up, tired, maybe even a little lost. He put on one hell of an energetic show, but it was all a tad weirder than I had anticipated. He sang old songs over new beats, and scattered 30-second mini-tracks throughout his set. He played some new tracks, and although his sound had been getting progressively poppier, some of these new songs were scarily poppy. And then he revealed that he was currently going through a divorce, and it all fell into place.

Of course his new songs were different, of course he looked under the weather. The man was in a living hell. Neverlove is the sound a heart makes when it implodes instead of just breaking. I’ve always had a soft spot for heartbreak records, but this one’s been hitting me in all sorts of weird places. Some of these tracks are poppy/clubby as hell, some of them are haunting and weird, but altogether, they flow smoothly, feverishly downwards into a very sad place. There’s a slight hint of happiness on “Super Pretty Naughty”, an obvious satire track, but it just comes through as empty, an unnecessary joke in an otherwise intensely melancholic record. It does nothing to take away the somber lining that seems to surround every verse on this thing. Tracks like “Baby Blanket”, “That’s the way love dies” and “Je t’aime mon amour” just ooze unhappiness.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71itnWdvbyM&w=420&h=315]

Start to finish, this album hurts to listen to. It’s not done in a style that would not normally appeal to me, but I’ve been playing it on repeat, letting it bring me down, allowing it to bitterly sink in. I suppose a heartbreaking tale can hit you harder when you’re madly in love, if you picture yourself playing the role of its teller. Simply put, I hope I never end up in a place where I fully relate to every word on Neverlove. Love’s a blessing when it’s present but man, when it leaves you… love will fuck you up.

-Al

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b5lDnbIWzY&w=560&h=315]

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