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Buck 65 releases his divorce album – but where’s the fire?

Buck 65 in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Neverlove
Artist
Buck 65
Label
Warner
Genre
Alternative
Year
2014

His wife left behind her wedding ring, placing it right beside a note reminding him to feed the cat.

Buck 65's new album Neverlove is a divorce record, starting off with a track called Gates of Hell that features the blue-eyed hip-hopper's primal screaming of "fire." But you can't yell "fire" in a crowded movie theatre, and you shouldn't yell it on an album that doesn't have much of it.

Dispensing with his usual explorations, whimsy and inspired rap conceptions, the artist known to many CBC Radio 2 listeners as Rich Terfry has made a record dominated by 4/4 beats, gruff-voiced reflections and unnecessary adventures in dance-pop. He hired Swedes to help with the latter, but he picked the wrong ones.

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There are highlights: She Fades is icy, rhythmically curious and has a rhyme for Nietzsche, while the soul-crushing Baby Blanket finds Buck 65 in a cold home that has a basement two flights lower than any bottom floor of Drake's.

But I hear no catharsis, and any edginess feels forced. His ex-wife left the cat but took the man's mojo. How could she be so cruel?

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