17th October | Exchange
Photos: Naomi Williams
Greta Kline opened her set, performing as Frankie Cosmos, with the opening lyrics from, ‘Moonsea,’ the first song on her most recent record, Close it Quietly. A record about personal tumult, change and renewal, she softly lamented, “the world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say.”
Kline’s prolific ability to write about anything and everything within the human experience creates a lyrical, temporal paradox. The gravity of a two-minute song about a former relationship rolls an entire story into one hundred and twenty seconds; at the same time, the minutiae of “pancakes on a stove,” over the course of the same song, make a moment that lasts a fraction of a second something that is evocative of pondering every weekend of your twenties or teens for hours and hours.
The reality is that Kline has a lot to say. A few tracks later, she sang from the track ‘41st,’ “Does anyone want to hear the 40 songs I wrote this year?” When she sang about the world crumbling earlier, it was more about your own world crumbling and wishing that you did have so much to say about the messy parts of your life.
Her ability to project this to her audience makes each song feel fresh and, almost, observational. Before starting a song, she thanked the crowd and the support act, and declared that, “this song goes out to me twenty minutes ago.” Maybe this was no more than an inside joke to her band about a totally inane detail of their tour, but it’s a line that wouldn’t be out of place on the her next record, which reflects on the taxing nature of touring across the world.
As I stood, watching Frankie Cosmos sing of old relationships and moving forward both at peace with the past and still angry with it, I found my mind wandering through all of the ‘what if’s’ and ‘why nots’ of my own life. It’s strange how some of the best lyrics and music makes our minds wander away from the music we’re enjoying, to explore the feelings and memories that they’re invoking. Kline’s melodic guitar-strumming, interspersed with a staccato and distorted down-stroke chorus, shakes you out of the nostalgia trip with a soft-loud shock.
I wonder how, as an artist, someone can handle that extreme openness with their audience as they perform on stage. Shared through records, EPs and online releases, Frankie Cosmos’ arc through her teens and into her early- and mid-twenties, in a lot of ways, is a life shared through music. To answer her question though, I would definitely listen to the other 40 songs from this year, as I’m just as curious about them as the thoughts and memories they stir up.
See the video for ‘Wannago’ here: