Interview: Frankie Cosmos

The Brief


Frankie Cosmos is the alias of singer-songwriter Greta Kline. She is known for writing short songs, mostly around the two-minute mark, that craft thoughtful, expressive insights from the smallest of observations. Her debut album, Zentropy, was named the best pop album of 2014 by New York Magazine. Her second studio album, Next Thing, received similarly high acclaim, and was included on 2016 year-end lists by a number of publications, including Consequence of Sound, Paste, Pitchfork, The Skinny, and Stereogum.

Which book would you recommend to our readers?
Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart made me rethink everything I know about mathematics, and start to view it as the art form it really is!

Which album would you recommend to our readers?
Have One on Me by Joanna Newsom is so complicated and beautiful, and has remained compelling and exciting through hundreds of listens for me.
Which comic or graphic novel would you recommend to our readers?

American Elf is a collection of James Kochalka's daily strips, which reveal over time a portrait of a life, as shown through small moments.

Which television episode would you recommend to our readers?
‘Once More, with Feeling’ from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, directed by Joss Whedon – the only musical episode in the series. It is perfectly functioning and very impressive.


The following questions relate to our Perspectives column, in which two writers respond to an artwork that they are experiencing for the first time.

Are artists always driven by personal experience?
Is anything ever not clouded by personal experience?
In poetry, does sound eclipse meaning?

It depends on the audience. I think, like music, poetry uses sound to affect how the reader takes in the meaning.

Is dreaming a form of creativity?
Dreaming and creating both involve being in touch with and processing emotions. Often dreams do it for you when you aren’t doing it otherwise.

Must an art form’s future be shaped by its past structures?
Art history can shape the way art is seen, so whether or not future art follows a form’s ‘rules’, it is given more meaning by the past.

States of the Arts

The following questions relate to our States of the Arts column, for which each article includes four artworks that share an association with a single nation or territory.

Which Icelandic artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Jón Gnarr's ‘Best Party’ and his time as Mayor of Reykjavik is impressive both politically and as the comedy / performance art that it started as.

Which Jamaican artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Lord Tanamo’s version of ‘You Belong to My Heart’ is both fun and tear-jerking. The vocal take feels so relaxed and still so emotional.

The art of discovery

The following questions relate to Silent Frame’s aim to celebrate the art of discovery.

What does discovery mean to you?
If you are ‘discovering’ an artist, it means they have already discovered themselves as an artist. You are just getting to enjoy it.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
How has being an artist affected the way you take in art?

More to discover

Frankie Cosmos: Visit Frankie Comsos's website here. Find her Instagram page here. Colin Joyce has interviewed Greta Kline for The Fader, as have Reed Dunlea for Noisey, Jenn Pelly for Pitchfork, Graeme Campbell for The Skinny, and Rachel Brodsky for SPIN. Her band's Twitter handle is @FrankieCosmos.

Today's recommendations: Mathematician's Lament (excerpt), Good Intentions Paving Company (live performance of a song from Have One on Me), American Elf (excerpt), Once More, with Feeling (the opening number), Jón Gnarr's Best Party (an article by Emma Brockes for The Guardian), You Belong to My Heart (full song).

Read more: Interviews with musicians