Deb Never is an artist unafraid to grapple with the existential in sobering detail. It is an idiosyncratic approach to music that is equally as inspired by her upbringing in the Pacific Northwest listening to disparate '90s bands as it is the mundane and self-imposed questions and observations that inform her everyday life. All of this comes to life in the beautifully haunting Where Have All the Flowers Gone?.
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? arrives as the first collection of new music from Deb Never since the release of her critically-acclaimed debut EP, 2019's House on Wheels. And while there was certainly an infectious melancholy to be found in Never's enviable brand of soft trap meets downtrodden pop, her latest outing sees her venturing into more somber ruminations partially inspired by the last odd year-and-half.
Opening on "Stupid," Never makes zero qualms with exploring the power of her words and sentiments against a sparse sonic backdrop that plays out like a cinematic score. "Blue pill flushing down my system / Fuck your words, you leave me guessin' / Tell me why / I still chase your high," sings Never in a register that flutters between despondent and hopelessly wistful. The effect is equal parts trancelike and transcendent, imbuing her inner monologue with a palpable emotional gravity.
That's not to say Where Have All the Flowers Gone? doesn't seek to find the pockets of ecstasy in its melancholic musings. "Sorry" arrives as a bittersweet reaction to cycles of abuse buoyed by a breakdown that captures the feeling of blacking out and losing yourself in the haze of a night out. Meanwhile, "Funky" and "Red Eye" see Never parting the clouds to explore what lies just beyond the horizon, even if she may risk being pulled right back to where she started.
At its core, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? is an exploration of the human condition as much as it is a testament to Deb Never's gift for empathic songwriting. It's rife with cathartic highs, inescapable lows, and the occasional moment of optimism that reminds us why we go through it all.
Listen to Where Have All the Flowers Gone? below: