“Cool Dry Place” by Katy Kirby: A Relatable Journey


While trying to come up with an introduction for this piece, something struck me. My mind was wandering about the state of the world and how we are swiftly approaching the end of this unprecedented year. A year which started off with such high hopes, it was the beginning of a brand-new decade, one which many related to the 1920s, calling it “the roaring 20s.” All in all, the year started relatively quietly and then slowly ramped up until its eventual climax later in the year. Between the pandemic and politics, and whatever else has been going on in the world, it seemed as if everything was gearing up at once and getting louder. As I came across that thought, it reminded me of this song. Not necessarily in its meaning, but in the way the song is structured. While Katy Kirby’s song, “Cool Dry Place,” begins softly and intimately, it slowly begins ramping up until it reaches its climax towards the end. That all being said, the journey of this song from start to finish was way better than 2020.

As the song begins, the sound is incredibly close and tight. A lone electric guitar noodles around for a few seconds before Kirby begins singing, her voice meshing incredibly well with the clean and smooth sounding guitar. There are hints of droning background noises throughout the song which come and go at various levels of intensity, providing an almost eerie vibe at certain points. Soon after the song starts, the rest of the band joins in. An incredibly tight rhythm section of a bass guitar and drum kit keep the groove pushing forward, but never attract much attention to themselves so as not to detract from the main star of the song: Kirby’s vocals. While beginning the song sounding delicate, the vocals only build in power as the track continues on. On top of that, the melody is creative and constantly hooks into your ears, making it hard to forget.

The lyrics of the song tell the story of a person longing to be with somebody else who apparently keeps their distance. With nothing too overly poetic, the song manages to maintain a steady and straightforward tone while still allowing its emotional side to shine. While I am a huge fan of Kirby’s voice, as well as the wonderful melody which flows throughout this song, I did at times find the words difficult to understand. Perhaps an artistic choice, the flow of the words is sometimes too intense to where they sort of mesh with one another. Of course, at the end of the day, I’ve always valued melodies over words, so this song still exceeds all of my expectations. I find myself singing, “Head on your shoulder, not too much weight / Or do you, keep me, keep me, in a cool dry place?” over and over, and I’m still enjoying it as much as I did the first time around.

The song culminates in a cacophony of sounds. Every instrument turns up to 11 and for a solid section of the song, we are finally treated to more from that incredibly tight band, whom I previously stated kept out of the spotlight in order to let Kirby’s vocals shine. Given their time, they do not disappoint, and finally allow the song to have the release of emotions it’s been building towards since it began. The song comes to a sudden stop as everything is sucked out of the track, leaving us with silence. A wonderful journey from start to finish, “Cool Dry Place,” by Katy Kirby is a song I can easily recommend. From its soft and quiet beginning to its grandiose and loud ending, the song truly takes the listener on a journey while never sacrificing any of its artistic integrity. Everything not only seems genuine, but also will get stuck in your head for days, like any great song should.


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