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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Irwin

Frankie Cosmos Shows a More Mature Side at the UC Theatre

Updated: Mar 25, 2020


The Berkeley B-Side

After a four year streak of producing consistently pleasant, thoughtful, charming bedroom-pop, Frankie Cosmos’ latest album Vessel (2018) tops the rest of her catalogue. Making up for moments that felt unfinished on albums like Zentropy (2014) or Next Thing (2016), Vessel shows a new, more mature Cosmos, showcasing fleshed-out, resonant compositions and guitar effects throughout the 18-track collection. The lyrics on the record demonstrate the 24-year-old’s punkier side, avoiding high school cliches in favor of self exploration and macabre imagery.

Knowing her music, nothing about a Frankie Cosmos show is weird or out of place; over time her show has become more mature, just like her music. Whereas two years ago I saw an awkward girl in a colorful oversized sweater, the artist in front of me now stands more confidently, head shaved, playing music across a three-album repertoire to a 1400-person room. In pauses between songs Cosmos approaches the mic with the tone of a late-night radio DJ, soft-spoken and deliberate. Uttering awkwardly-worded phrases with increasing transparency, the link between Frankie Cosmos the person and the artist is strong and obvious — the person we’ve learned about through her songs appears to be exactly the person you see on stage.

That said, in comparison to such endearingly sweet and beautifully written songs, Frankie Cosmos just isn’t as charismatic as desired in person. I don’t know quite what should be expected from an artist who produces music that is deliberately simple, but that extra performance value that makes an artist’s music even better live is absent. That said, the concert is almost euphoric with eyes closed, as if the quiet, almost cartoon-like Frankie Cosmos cast a spell on her quirkily-dressed crowd. Her voice sings out more clearly than on record, and the way she rocks in and out of falsetto demonstrates her growing vocal control.

Overall, Frankie Cosmos is all you expect her to be: honest, a little quirky, and pleasant. Still early in her career, her music has reached all-time highs of songwriting and style. Though not over-the-top exciting, her live concert seems to be growing more mature as well.

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