On her latest project, Next Thing, indie wonderkid Frankie Cosmos may have just proven she is just that — the next big thing.
The 22-year-old’s second album is an impressive project that expresses a musical maturity and identity far beyond her years. On the album, Cosmos and her accompanying band do not try to do too much, nor too little, and the end result is a sophisticatedly subtle effort about navigating friendships and relationships.
The album’s overall song structure immediately stands out — no track on the album exceeds two minutes and 45 seconds, and some even clock in at less than one minute and 30 seconds. This short but sweet approach to songwriting that Cosmos has is refreshing, and assures that no song overstays its welcome.
At times, listeners might even wish for a particular track — “Fool” is a likely candidate — to last a little longer. But luckily each track ushers in another that will satisfy as much, if not more.
Another striking element of the project is despite its lack of quantity in terms of length, it contains a rich quality of lyricism that at times, even extends into metafictional realms.
Cosmos, first and foremost, has a stunning voice — a grounded falsetto that she uses to stretch out words or punctuate them into interesting cadences à la Courtney Barnett.
The words Cosmos write also captivate. On “Embody,” she sings “Everybody understands me/but I wish no one understood me/so you could be the one who did.”
These lyrics play with the irony of the desirability of being an outcast and suggest a desire for a more meaningful relationship.
This complexity, too, shines on “Outside with the Cuties.” On this track, Cosmos sings, “I haven’t written this part yet/will you help me write it?”
Acknowledging the act of songwriting within a song is hardly something new, but the rest of the track is about the heartache, the “you,” — whoever they are — has caused Cosmos. These two themes in conjunction with one another suggests Cosmos is maturely acknowledging the role of heartache in the production of art.
Complex thematic interactions aside, however, this album is very enjoyable and an easy listen — if not made slightly difficult by the pulling of heartstrings. Cosmos and her accompanying band delightfully play short, sweet songs, but still find room in each track to play with tempo, syncopation and intriguing guitar riffs.
In the future, it would be interesting if Cosmos would consider experimenting with longer form tracks, but for now, it’s hard not to be satisfied with what she is currently offering.
On ‘Im 20″, Cosmos stated she was 20 and already washed up. From the quality apparent on this record, it’s clear she couldn’t be more wrong.