Grammy-nominated for her work with Ariana Grande, Texan Tayla Parx is best known for her songwriting for other people. Increasingly, though, she looks poised to ascend as a solo artist in her own right. Coping Mechanisms follows suit sonically from her plush, bright 2019 debut, We Need to Talk, albeit a little more jaded tonally. Through pop, indie, R&B, dance and hip-hop it explores the aftermath of a bitter breakup (“I know I shouldn’t say this, but I hope you’re so fucking sad,” Parx sweetly intones on opener Sad). Her voice bounces fluidly between formidable anthemic singing and choppy bars (closing track Y Know is a slick showcase of both).
Other standouts include the luxe bassline of Dance Alone, the dynamic rhythms of Bricks, and rippling banger System, which finds her partying through the pain. Justified is a striking power ballad, contemplating whether she really wants the relationship to end; Parx’s silky vocal is beautiful as she admits that, with enough attention, her partner could cut their fork in the road with a knife. All polished production, deft instrumentation and resonant lyrics, it’s an impressive, fun addition to the breakup album canon.