Frankie Cosmos’s Next Thing is an indie-rock album that gets so personal and deep you feel like you personally know the band. You can hear every piece of the members in the music. It’s constructed so intricately that every song is a malleable piece of artwork, waiting to be molded by your individual perceptions and feelings, and that’s why it’s so goddamn beautiful.
Next Thing opens with the song “Floated In,” with a simple drum beat matching the guitar. Greta Kline’s (Frankie’s real name) voice chimes in with its soft charm, singing “I floated in and started livin” as feathery synths begin to make an appearance. This song sets the mood for the entire album: simplistic, yet emotional, with lyrics that are pure poetry.
“Floated In” ends with Kline asking, “What are you doin” and “If I Had a Dog” begins as it discusses common fears and insecurities instilled in everyone, with the lyrics “Am I still so sad / Is that pretty lame / Everybody says your decisions are OK.” The angsty confusion comes to a halt for a few moments as the album continues into “Embody” where things get personal as the lyrics reveal names of specific friends and things that create peace in Kline’s mind.
The album continues, with each song becoming a new favorite, as the sensual lyrics complement the dreamy instrumentals, making the album feel raw and alive. Kline’s soft voice projecting dark feelings and confusing depression embodies the way people interact with their own emotions perfectly.
Living in a world where mental health issues aren’t completely accepted, we find that in multiple situations we hide from our innermost feelings out of fear of being vulnerable. We try to project somewhat perfect personas. These projections are embodied by the enjoyable instrumentals in Next Thing as the lyrics speak to true emotions that are yanked outside of our “perfect” exteriors with every note Kline hits.
During the tenth song, “Sinister,” Kline sings “Sometimes I get sinister / Can’t always be like Arthur / Sometimes I just feel sinister / Can’t always turn to Arthur, ” displaying the confrontation of feelings and the fact that we can’t always feel OK, and that’s OK.
The album also touches on deep insecurities like becoming an emotional burden to someone, as heard in lyrics like “Now that I know that every time I get sad you just hate me / You can go to sleep and sleep it off peacefully / I’ll be here all night feeling totally fucked” from “Is It Possible / Sleep Song.” In the song, Kline depicts what it feels like to want help, but to be too scared to ask for it. This leaves someone to deal with strong emotions on their own which can lead to self-deprecation and maybe even the feeling of worthlessness. These feelings are depicted in the song “I’m 20” where Kline sings “I’m 20 / Washed up already / I’d sell my soul for a free pen.”
These emotionally infused songs portray what dealing with emotions feels like in everyone’s head. It’s dark and lonely, and it’s easy to get lost unless we learn how to express ourselves. Next Thing is an emotional expression from Kline to us, a conversation that creates a deep connection with the entity of its songs.
Next Thing continues with an existential crisis presented to listeners in under 20 seconds at the beginning of “Tour Good.” Kline sings “I don’t know what I’m cut out for / If there’s anything” as her voice fills with comfort for the void that the crisis has made. Kline gives reassurance that thoughts like these are in everyone’s brain, making the pain left by them all the more bearable.
All 15 songs on Next Thing are three-minute-or-less pieces of cathartic artwork. Greta Kline never fails to project her full self in her music through Frankie Cosmos and that brutal honesty gives listeners something to connect with. The elements composed in Next Thing evolve together to create an existential life discussion that would be had at 3 a.m. on the swings at a park with someone you love in just under 30 minutes. It’s simple, emotional and too beautiful for words.