The track teams the guitar hero with producer Rick Rubin
For all his rip-snorting guitar solos and his tag as a jam-band guy, Marcus King has never been a stranger to R&B. Occasionally employing horn sections and deep-pocket grooves, he’s dipped into that side of his South Carolina upbringing before — but not quite to the degree heard on his new single.
Produced by Rick Rubin, “F*ck My Life Up Again” amps up the soul element in King’s music a hundredfold. Set to a simmering groove, awash in strings and a backup choir, the song is pure retro-roadhouse soul. The arrangement is the perfect match for a lyric in which King, in full moaning-in-the-morning mode, digs into what sounds like a particularly dysfunctional relationship: “I don’t deserve to live without pain/Destroy all my confidence again/Watch me lose control and feel ashamed.”
One of the biggest surprises of the track is the absence of the instrument associated with him. Onstage and on record, especially on 2022’s Young Blood, King can effortlessly peel off Southern-fried riffs; if the Allman Brothers Band still existed, he’d be a natural to join them. Instead, his axe only emerges at the very end of the track — and by way of a backwards psychedelic loop that makes it sound almost unrecognizable.
Talking with Blues/Rock Review last year, King said an entire Rubin-produced album was on the way, yet no official announcement has been made. But one thing can be confirmed: The expletive in the song’s title is muffled. Apparently, no one wants to f*ck with the song’s crossover potential.
“I was hesitant to record a song with such a foul word in it given my southern, Christian upbringing, but there were no other words I could find to capture the emotion I felt,” King said in a statement.
King’s last album was 2022’s Young Blood produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.