by Maddie Farr ’18
This post is the first in a series of reviews of Frankie Cosmos’s albums on Bandcamp.
During those awkward middle school/early high school years, most of us emptied our angst into diaries or friends. Greta Kline, known by her stage name Frankie Cosmos, emptied it onto the internet — specifically, her personal Bandcamp page. Since 2009, Kline has been recording songs on her computer about loneliness, relationships, and her dog and posting them online in what now consists of a total of 49 albums. Some of her songs are more developed, while some consist of unidentifiable mumbling and poor recorder skills. But for a Frankie fan, these albums are gold. It’s so cool to be able to listen to her voice grow and hear how she experiences the everyday. Each song is like a short poem discovered in the back of someone’s long-abandoned journal.
However, the prospect of sifting through 49 albums is daunting. So, I’m doing it for you! All you have to do is read and listen, as I uncover the ~gem~ that is Frankie Cosmos’ Bandcamp collection.
My first review is of a more recent Frankie Cosmos release (her first after her only studio album, Zentropy), titled affirms glinting and released in May 2014. This album is about the sensitive, reflective, and often painful moments after a major change or achievement. It’s about being in an experience — a relationship, a tour, everyday life — but also being separate from it; about living in one’s body but also being able to see oneself from above. It’s about lingering self-doubt, about introspection, about latent realizations and memories brought to the surface.
Sonically, the album varies between quiet two-chord guitar tracks and keyboard-heavy open-ended questions. Some are under a minute, while some are longer. Each is a poem. I love this album because it lets me know that Frankie Cosmos is still recording personal songs, even as she is touring and working on a new wide-release album. Even as she grows, we still get these glimpses of her inner life and her insecurities. Frankie Cosmos is still, as ever, relatable.
Best Tracks (in no particular order):
“theory of mind”
This song gives me goosebumps. It’s about realizing that people existed before you knew them — that they once held sacred something that you might never understand. It’s about looking back at one’s memories with perspective rather than disdain and trying to understand what you couldn’t then.
This song is beautiful and angry and lonely and quiet. It’s brutally honest and yet cryptic, like most Frankie songs. Also, it has an atmospheric vibe that I can’t get out of my head.
“the suckers corner”
I ~identify~ with this song, which probably isn’t a good thing. This song is waiting in the corner of a bad party somewhere, wishing it was anywhere else.
I mostly love this song for its lyrics, which include lines like, “I get soapy-hearted.” Like, how did she come up with that? And how do I know exactly what she means?
“am i wrong that you want me”
This song is made for melodramatic afternoons, lying on the floor of your bedroom, letting your mind dwell on questions important and cursory, sadnesses small and large. This song’s lyrics also reference the album title — “affirms glinting” — which, y’know, always means something.