I haven’t written this part yet. Will you help me write it?
“I floated in and started living.” These are the first words spoken on Next Thing, Greta Kline’s new full-length as Frankie Cosmos. Few people in music today can encapsulate the feeling of their entire scope as an artist in one line, and there hasn’t been more blunt and simply profound lyrics like this in some time. In one swift ten second span, Kline sets the tone for everything that will follow in the half hour ahead. In some mesmerizing way she manages to be as straight forward as possible, yet there is always a sneaky level of poetry underneath the surface that conveys an honest look at someone coming of age on a sound palette right before our ears.
Displayed on the cover of the album is a hand-drawn perspective of a girl traveling in the passenger seat of a car, taking a selfie in one hand and drawing with the other. There’s plenty of telling imagery that’s beautiful in its subtlety, just as Kline’s music continues to be. It documents a girl who is along for the ride of life, and is focused on documenting every tiny personal aspect of it – the heavy curve ahead is not seen as significant; it’s just the Next Thing. Listening to the entire realm of Kline’s musical world – both lyrically and musically – things are so minimalist and in-and-out from song to song that it’s not hard to believe that she really sees this LP as simply the next thing. Her tunes are true “ditties”, but in the best sense, conveyed as whimsical snapshots in a life not without the usual relatable struggles of someone who has recently gotten beyond her teen years, attempting to adapt to adulthood.
There are fifteen tracks spread across an album that never even reaches a flat 30 minutes, which is a refreshing and appropriate thing here, frequently reaching revelatory moments. There’s barely a wasted second on the entire thing, and the complete friendship/camaraderie theme from the album’s lyrics are cemented by the union of her backing band. Gabrielle Smith of Eskimeaux provides backing vocals in rad fashion on tracks like the gorgeous “Embody”, a track that embraces the incomparable value of keeping those closest to you nearby and even periodically raising a glass to them. Kline’s boyfriend and frontman of the excellent band Porches, Aaron Maine, once again continues his role as drummer and shines with compliments throughout, notably on “Is It Possible/Sleep Song” as he has the opportunity to dictate the unpredictable attitude of the glorious tune.
It is ultimately Ms. Kline, though, who steps up to reach new heights on every note of Next Thing. She’s a semi-veteran of the music scene, and she just turned 22 less than two weeks ago. We’re witnessing the budding moments of a career that can be looking at the sky and see it as an insulting limit. She is not an artist who assume that she is operating a higher level, and in fact it is quite the opposite when listening to Frankie Cosmos. She’s extremely aware of her place in the world as of now, living her life with various questions pertaining to the immediate direction of what’s personally to come. On “I’m 20”, she sings “If by some chance you know what is cool, tell me how. I wanna be just how you would imagine me to…”. She’s immensely self-aware, but she is also very comfortable in her skin and letting these fleeting moments of her life play out as they should. Frankie Cosmos remains steadily a legit ball to be wreckoned with. Make way.