Review: Frankie Cosmos tackles the uncertainty of growing up in her newest album “Next Thing”
From first listen to Next Thing, it’s clear that 22-year-old New York musician Greta Kline – or Frankie Cosmos – writes straight from the heart. Known for her adherence to DIY culture, releasing more than 40 bedroom-recorded demos and EPs through her Bandcamp since 2011, Frankie Cosmos easily retains the charming feeling of a self-produced release even though her newest album, which came out April 1, was produced professionally and released by Bayonet Records.
Musically, Next Thing follows Frankie Cosmos’ usual styling closely. The fifteen-track album is short and sweet, running just under a half-an-hour, with no one track running over three minutes. The LP holds close to light and upbeat indie pop akin to other up-and-coming artists like Quarterbacks and Eskimeaux.
Though similar to past Cosmos releases, Next Thing’s production value easily sets it apart from its lower quality demo siblings. Instead of sticking to the sole acoustic guitar that led the majority of Frankie Cosmos’ Bandcamp releases in past years, Next Thing makes good, yet still subtle, use of electronic elements – specifically electronic keyboard and synthesizer – adding hints of dreaminess in songs like “Fool,” “Outside With The Cuties” and album opener “Floated In.”
Though musically pop-driven and pleasantly upbeat, lyrically the album is a lot heavier than it initially puts off.
“I don’t know what I’m cut out for,” Frankie Cosmos sings timidly in the opening line to “Tour Good.” This line itself pretty entirely sums up what Next Thing is all about – a modest take on navigating the complexities of young adulthood and close relationships, both externally and with oneself.
Though the LP’s subject matter is dense and undoubtedly subjective in nature, Next Thing comes off as easily relatable – whether or not you’ve experienced the specific, personal anecdotes that Frankie Cosmos regularly brings up in her songwriting.
A regular theme within Frankie Cosmos’ music is that of uncertainty and self-doubt. This comes across in Next Thing explicitly in songs like “Too Dark,” the LP’s fifth track and a re-recording from a release called affirms glinting that Cosmos put out online in 2014.
“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? Do I belong? Do I belong?” Cosmos sings breathily in a slightly nervous, yet siren-esque croon in a way that makes it so you can almost imagine her wringing her hands together.
Though Next Thing tackles vast and very affecting topics, it does so in an incredibly lovable way, touching on delicacy through Cosmos’ floating vocals and playful instrumentation, such as the modestly fun guitar solo in “If I Had a Dog.”
Together, the musical, lyrical and emotional aspects of Next Thing melt together to reveal a childlike innocence and curiosity as well as a mature sense of perseverance and self-discovery.
“The world is pretty big / it’s cool we fit on it,” Cosmos sings in “Embody,” a sentiment that makes it clear that Frankie Cosmos wants you to realize that although life comes with a lot of ambiguity, it’s still pretty awesome that we’re living it.
Watch the music video for “Outside With The Cuties” from Frankie Cosmos’ Next Thing below: