Soundtrack of memories
I want to have people who love music look back on their memories of a certain album and record the significance of everything they find.
■Your name : Greta Kline
■Date of birth: March 21st 1994
■Where you live: New York City
■What does music give you?: music moves me and gives me many feelings! I think ideally it gives me comfort, and a feeling of music being my friend.
■Album: IS THIS IT – The Strokes
Is This It
When I was a kid, it didn’t occur to me that I’d ever be an adult. I didn’t think about consequences, or danger, or how something would affect me later. I want to remember how that felt— before growing up, before I had experienced anything dangerous. I remember taking the subway and not feeling ogled – feeling my thighs on the plastic seats and noting the sensation without a hint of self-consciousness. Not thinking about what I wore out into the world; not afraid of being harassed. I don’t think feeling safe makes you actually safe, but I miss the naivety in some ways. I felt invincible.
Let’s go back before danger. Age 12: my best friend Eliza came over and played me the song 12:51 by The Strokes. We were sitting facing each other on the floor of my room, in the corner by my bookshelf. I’m not sure why I remember this detail, I’m pretty sure I didn’t know this would be a life-changing musical moment for me. We stole the chords and wrote our own song over it. Later I would listen to Is This It on my way to school. It made me feel cool. It felt like I had had experiences, even though I hadn’t. I romanticized having experiences (any at all), but later when I was having them, I didn’t even notice. Experiences snuck up on me in silence, in the dark. My memory now is grainy; blobs of paint, loosely pieced together.
As I get older, feeling safe is really important to me, and it only gets harder – Eden disintegrates as you age. As a young teenager, I wasn’t afraid of walking around with headphones on, listening to music on the subway. Now I feel a stronger need to be aware of my surroundings, to hear what’s going on around me. It’s 2022 and in some ways, my belief that the world is powered by love has faded. I used to think of New Yorkers as people who would help each other carry a stroller up the stairs. I literally used to walk down the street smiling at anyone I passed. Now, I’m more distrustful. Of course, now I also appreciate moments of kindness more for what they are – rarities.
I was maybe 20 when it truly occurred to me that the inclinations of kind people are not ubiquitous. A guy had fallen into the subway tracks, and my friend Tyler screamed to a group of students across the platform to help pull him out. The people on the other side weren’t going to pull the man out of the tracks. Tyler shouted “HELP HIM OUT, GET HIM OUT!” and shamed them into helping their neighbor. We move quickly and we help each other — that had always seemed obvious to me. There were times before that when I could have learned this lesson, but like I said, I didn’t think that far ahead. When my friends and I were harassed as teens in various ways, I didn’t notice those experiences sticking to my soul, staying in my body, turning into future fearfulness. I feel them now. But at the time, I was just moving through it all, everything was present tense. Sometimes I even thought it was funny, or absurd.
I used to listen to The Strokes on the way to school, on avenues while the sun rose, on rush hour subway cars crowded with businessmen. I still listen to them now, but I’m going somewhere else. I’m in the car, with someone I love, laughing, dancing on our way to visit Eliza in New Jersey. I don’t feel cool the same way I did as a teen. I feel cool in a different way – I feel whole, I feel like a human. I try to appreciate all the awareness of existence, instead of mourning the loss of my youthful Eden. I listened to The Strokes before I ever tried drugs or alcohol, and I listen to them now that those substances are not in my life. In some ways, I’m the same – a kid – feeling feelings purely for the sake of life. In other ways, I am older now, I’ve had “experiences” and I don’t exactly yearn for more of them.
The music stays the same, and changes with me. It makes me appreciate my life, the wind, the skyline we drive past, the joy. The guitar lines are embedded in some part of my childhood brain that it gives me new access to. I remember the feeling of my head in the clouds, a luxury I don’t gift myself often as an adult. I recall doodling in study hall, pencil on lined paper in a 3-ring binder.
Music is how I made friends, how I found love. I used to be afraid to dance unless I was alone. Now I dance on stages – I feel part of a community with people I don’t even know, and I choose to trust them.
Text: Greta Kline
Singer-songwriter Greta Klein began releasing over 40 albums & EPs on the bandcamp under various monikers such as Ingrid Superstar, Zebu Fur, and others, and after taking inspiration from poet Frank O’Hara and beginning to call herself Frankie Cosmos, in 2014 studio album, Zentropy, was released; in 2017, the band signed with Sub Pop Records and released their fifth studio album, Inner World Peace, this month on October 21. The songs on this album were chosen from 100 songs written by Greta during the pandemic that forced the band to take a hiatus, and reorganized by all members after the band reunited.