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Katy Kirby’s ‘Blue Raspberry’ is a gem

Kirby+is+very+pro+the+concept+of+blue+raspberries.+Blue+Raspberry+is+a+collection+of+odes+to+the+artificial.
Courtesy Katy Kirby
Kirby is “very pro the concept of blue raspberries.” “Blue Raspberry” is a collection of odes to the artificial.

Calling in from the apartment in Bushwick, New York, where she wrote most of her upcoming album Blue Raspberry, Katy Kirby, a Texan, sounded right at home. She’s thoughtful, and the way she speaks—much like the way she sings—gives you the impression she’s already asked herself any question you could pose. Kirby’s candor on her 2021 debut Cool Dry Place won her critical acclaim and left the folk world wanting more. Blue Raspberry serves as the second swing of a one-two punch to their collective gut. 

The album’s title track won the honor by representing an era before Kirby, who is now openly queer, realized she liked girls. Also, she says, “because it has the best title.” It serves as a celebration of the artificial, a shakily constructed concept only effective when wielded as an accusation. “Cubic Zirconia,” the album’s lead single, fleshes out the metaphor by shining a light on what makes the commonplace so precious, asking “why wouldn’t that be enough?” 

Things are only worth whatever we make them. “I’m very pro the concept of blue raspberries. I think it’s really charming that everyone knows it’s not a real flavor, but we decided that it tastes good,” Kirby said. “Can you imagine if Icees were only in the cherry flavor or the Coca-Cola flavor? There would be something missing.”

‘Blue Raspberry’ is out Jan. 26. (Courtesy Tonje Thielsen)

On “Drop Dead,” Kirby alerts us that the price of roses is the lowest it’s been since 1997, suggesting a shift toward the more affordable and attainable in our definition of beautiful. After all, it’s tough being an old-school romantic when an arrangement of a dozen roses costs you eighty bucks, (I will say the best prices are at T.G.F. Flowers on Fannin. There are two flower shops on that corner; it’s the one on the right with no intelligible sign to indicate the name of the business or what the acronym may stand for.) 

Blue Raspberry curiously explores loving things you’re not sure you’re meant to. Kirby, who grew up in an Evangelist town of 7,000 and was homeschooled until ninth grade, says her journeys in understanding her faith and sexuality are completely separate, but complicated nonetheless. (Her family is completely supportive of all her endeavors.) She found herself occupied with theological quandaries until she left for Belmont University, when she found distance made her reconsider her beliefs.  

“It’s hard to not believe that God is infinitely around you and caring about you,” Kirby said. “It’s weird to lose an imaginary friend that quickly and decisively. It’s a strange kind of loss, but you get over it.”

The aching “Alexandria” forgives—“baby, you’re off the hook / for every promise you couldn’t keep”—but sometimes it’s hard to forget. Most of the songs on Blue Raspberry are inspired by Kirby’s first queer relationship. “I fell for her really hard, and she fell in love with someone else, and that was how the relationship ended,” Kirby said. “I did meet someone a few months ago that has heard these songs more than the person I wrote them about. It’s nice to be able to have another person to project a love song onto so that they aren’t so heavy.” 

 

Blue Raspberry is available on Jan. 26 from ANTI- Records.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Walker
Lucy Walker, Assistant Online Editor-in-Chief
Lucy Walker ('25) joined The Review in 2021 as a freshman. She likes Big Salads and her second favorite animal is a shark.

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    Ally RodriguezJan 25, 2024 at 1:43 PM

    lovely as always

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