Frankie Cosmos’ “Family With A Dog”


Though Frankie Cosmos’ latest offering, “Next Thing”, came out only days ago, we decided to take a look back at one of Greta Kline’s earlier tunes, “Family With A Dog”. The outcome? Three of our writers found emotional resonance in the song, and one was less than thrilled by its content and production.


Rob Patrick, Editor

Greta Kline’s words are self-aware, longing, and resigned to defeat in the face of hope. The anxiety of betterment dissipates like sea foam, and she’s left with the complication of simplicity. Kline strums, calmly, while she observes herself with total vulnerability.  “I see a lot more evil these days/And I seem a lot more evil too/I can feel it in our evil ways/I just want a family with a dog/And a boyfriend filled with love.” There’s a lilt of theatrically youthful self-admonishment that feels transcendent in the gentle hum of her delivery. Yet, don’t we all feel the same? How hard are we on ourselves? What do we find comfort in? Can we accept who we are? Though its coy and playful structure implies whimsicality, at its core, “Family With A Dog” is buoyed by darker themes.


Junior Editor Tom Bevis

Tom Bevis, Junior Editor

Rougher than a rough cut, Frankie Cosmos’ “Family With A Dog” is a less interesting take on whatever it is Mountain Goats are doing these days. An underachieving attempt at lyrical poeticism yields results in songwriting, performance, and recording that look an awful lot like the work of an apathetic amateur. Not that rhyming in a song or optimal sound quality are necessarily the measurements of success, but a hollow buzzing behind a track that makes the slowly erodes one’s eardrums and a structure so infuriatingly ambiguous that it causes the listener to lose interest in whether the chorus is ending or beginning can’t be counted as anything but negative.

Music Editor Andy Fergueson

Andy Ferguson, Music Editor

Greta Kline’s songs, both as Ingrid Superstar and Frankie Cosmos, have that “fleeting moment that has been caught on tape” vibe. “Family With A Dog” is one of the best early examples of her snapshot-poetry style. She gets the bigger picture, but there’s always more emphasis on longing to have the minimal, enduring things in life. Listening to this tune is like watching a Polaroid photograph develop backwards. As soon as it shows itself, it’s gone…but we can always keep snapping.

Music Contributor Nathan Kowalski

Nathan Kowalski, Music Contributor

Some have never experienced the warmth of a family and are struggling to achieve it. Others have forgotten that it may be all they really need. “Family With A Dog” isn’t so much about wanting a family with a dog, but wanting to want it. To put aside all the extra desires we expect for ourselves. You can strip a song down to the bare essentials; four lightly strummed chords, even four single notes in a progression. And it’s all you need.



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Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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