by Cole Kinsler (@dustetc)
At this point, Frankie Cosmos has written enough material to produce her next several albums without even needing a new song. Some view her deep back catalog as only demos, while others (including myself) value those offerings just as much as her new records. One can’t help but be impressed that she is already creating at (or above) Robert Pollard-levels of prolificacy. That’s quite a statement, considering Greta Kline is now 22 years old. Kline joined forces with the Brooklyn DIY-heroes at Double Double Whammy for Zentropy in 2013, which garnered quite a bit of praise. Despite a few Bandcamp-only releases in the interim, Next Thing is her official full length follow up to Zentropy, and is being released by Bayonet Records.
In similar fashion to Zentropy, Next Thing features both new material along with early demos that have been rearranged and re-recorded. Production has noticeably improved over Zentropy, and the contribution of her bandmates can be heard loud and clear throughout. Once again, Kline’s distinct songwriting voice carves a mark onto short & sweet guitar-pop songs. Although many songs sound upbeat and positive, lyrics also explore the larger anxieties and doubts of life. “Too Dark” describes a brief moment of uncertainty within a romantic relationship. “When I know I'm not the best girl in the room/ I tell myself I'm the best you can do/ Do I belong ? No”. Preceding track “Embody” feels like a love letter written to all of her friends, and friendship itself. “It’s Sunday night and my friends are friends/ with my friends/ it shows me they embody all the grace and lightness”. She makes reference to close friends by name, including bandmate Gabrielle Smith. A familiar and palpable sense of happiness rises from her words, all by reflecting on pals and the world at large. Whether a sweet moment of friendship, a dark notion, or a meditation on human nature; her songwriting voice never feels overbearing. “Outside With The Cuties” paints a quiet scene of longing. Gentle harmonies carry her words; “You are bug bites on vacation/ You find the sad in everything”. Kline captures snapshots of familiar sentiments in such a matter-of-fact and personal voice that one cannot help but empathize. Throughout the whole record, both the trivialities and complexities in life are made beautiful.
The magic of Greta Kline’s music lies in the charm and poetry of it. Instead of convoluted monologues or ambiguous storytelling, she employs a more humble tone. After all, the stage name (and alter-ego) “Frankie Cosmos” makes reference to one of her favorite poets, Frank O’Hara. Kline echoes the same type of deeply personal and funny wit that make O’Hara’s poems so special. Next Thing should be listened to with close attention. While the catchy hooks and upbeat rhythms may soundtrack a summer drive to the beach, I find the record best suits a solitary listening experience. Just like rewarding poetry, the songs on Next Thing play like a candid conversation between writer and reader.