Texan songwriter Katy Kirby has emerged this year showing plenty of promise with the single “Tap Twice” and a collaborative EP with Karima Walker, Among Horses V. She’s carrying that momentum into 2021, where she will release her debut album, Cool Dry Place, on February 19. The annoumcenent brings with it a new song called “Traffic!”, with Kirby explaining:
“I’d gotten involved with someone objectively cooler and hotter than me, but was getting annoyed with how wrapped up he was in his own basic angst and mild life setbacks. Especially when it seemed so obvious that he’d been spared from much of human suffering’s broad spectrum. The song turned into something like a meditation on what counts as actual injury, like a rant about material vs. immaterial damage. What right do I have (nevermind the person I wrote this to, or everyone else) to self-interest, when the damage I sustain generally seems to roll right off me, like a cute lil’ Wile E Coyote running ‘round in the twilight of democracy, being absolutely f’ing fine.”
This time around, Kirby takes a more indie-pop approach on “Traffic!”, with some effects on her voice, a buoyant beat and some mellifluous synth. She interweaves a playful vocal melody, which belies the cutting and sardonic words she’s actually singing. While Kirby ducks and dives between life’s difficulties with humour and good grace, she’s dragged down by the ‘woe is me’ type people who think the world is specifically out to get them. Rather than try to cheer them up, she puts them softly but firmly in their place in the infectious chorus: “nobody has it better than you.” Kirby rounds out “Traffic!” with a grandstand finale, featuring a rad guitar solo, a surprise choral backing and some neat production tics, which help her drive home the point – and then continue on about her day with a spring in her step.