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Courtesy of Sub Pop Records

September 15, 2019

TEST SPIN | Frankie Cosmos — ‘Close It Quietly’

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On the first listen, Close It Quietly, the fourth studio album from indie soft-pop band Frankie Cosmos, definitely sounds like a typical Frankie Cosmos album. That eerie familiarity is welcome because it is balanced by the delightful peculiarities in frontwoman Greta Kline’s lyrics. It can be easy to forget to closely listen to the lyrics because Kline’s voice is so tender and soothing, but Close It Quietly contains dozens of little life mantras you’ll uncover if you mine through the tunes with a careful ear.

Tracks like “Moonsea” and “Windows” show the band’s musical progression past simple and catchy tunes to lengthy, more complicated odes about what it means to navigate your mid-twenties amid everyday chaos. The album begins with “Moonsea,” a pretty spot-on assessment of 2019, which Kline sings alone: “The world is crumbling / and I don’t have much to say.” The tracks go on to poignantly address topics like problematic friends and lovers, depression and just being straight-up confused about what is going on with your body and your sense of self. Close It Quietly feels sad and shrinking at times but also searing, clever and confident at others.

You know when you just wish things in your life had happened differently, or somehow more dramatically, just for the story? On semi-breakup song, “Never Would,” Kline seems to address an ex-lover: “It’d make a good song to miss you / But I really don’t at all / If you were any good I’d sing / ‘Oh babyyyy why’d you have to goooo?’” These are the things you think to yourself when you’re falling asleep and wish you had said in real life.

“Never Would” is a perfect example of the way Kline’s lyrics give her musical persona a supernaturally satisfying sense of control. The song concludes: “But it’s not a song / And I never would.” Kline has the last word and somehow sounds sensitive while essentially telling the song’s subject to go away.

“Marbles” and “Self-destruct,” two songs which Kline sings solo, are arguably the most moving of the album; pure, simple and shattering. They recall Kline’s early work, comprised of songs self-released on Bandcamp when she was a teenager. On “Self-destruct,” the saddest and shortest song on the album, Kline sings: “Way up high and fucked / Not violent enough to self-destruct / But I wanna stop being in this life / Late at night we dive into the light / Your eyes swing shut like an orange peel but / It’s just gravity making me tired, weighing me.”

Kline told Atwood Magazine, “[‘Self-destruct’] was about being suicidal but not violent enough to actually do it. Those feelings are just stuck in your head, in your brain and you don’t know where to put it … And I feel that is what music is to me; a place to put it.” I, for one, am glad that Kline puts her feelings into music, because the product definitely grants listeners the same level of necessary catharsis she feels when writing lyrics.

Fittingly, the final song on Close It Quietly is an ode to crying called “This Swirling” which is incredibly self-aware and funny, as are many of the songs on this album. Kline’s lyrics and voice sound so earnest, yet the lyrics are often full of jokes and irony. On “This Swirling,” Kline seems to make fun of herself while also genuinely meditating on her particular state of sadness. She sings, “I’m like a dandelion / Just a little bit of breath blows me apart / Just standing here seems like a good start for me to cry.” If you’ve ever had one of those days where you just feel especially fragile and kind of ridiculous, this song is for you.

On Close It Quietly, Frankie Cosmos’s songs unfold like rollercoasters, with stomach butterflies repeatedly stirred by word pairings that feel perfectly tailored to the miniscule moments in your life that you might’ve thought were unworthy of music. Kline’s words remind us that all the moments in our tiny lives are worthy of being noticed and of being felt. Close It Quietly is a gift I didn’t know I needed.

Anna Grace Lee is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at agl63@cornell.edu.