When I first heard that I needed to check out Cossbysweater, I was expecting a black hipster hip hop group that wore skinny jeans, not some cute and timid librarian rocking an acoustic guitar. But I guess The Cool Kids already have that market cornered so I should’ve known better. So upon first listen, I instantly brushed her off as the same musician that you hear in every coffee house here in Austin. It was background music that you only noticed when you were trying to steal an extra biscotti from the counter. But as I was searching for my organic sandals to wear while listening to it, I started to pay attention to the lyrics and was pleasantly surprised.
Cossbysweater is LA based singer songwriter Allison Goertz who as she describes it, writes nerdy love songs. Or as I describe it, nerd core folk music. Her album is a clever mix of songs inspired by quotes from The Jerk, stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and the game Dungeons and Dragons just to name a few. Some of the highlights include the opener Comedians where she sings about the comedians she’s in love with today. The song covers everyone from Pee Wee Herman to Louis C.K. and she even goes as far to say the she hopes to have her salad tossed by David Cross. If you’re not in love yet, just keep reading. There’s also the lovable song about the unlovable male subject in Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse where she softly sings about a loser whose “Flood pants cant keep his eyes dry” and who “knows what it’s like when doves cry”. Hey, in today’s European fashion, flood pants would get Milhouse all of the girls.
She’s also self aware of her hipster status in the song Open Letter (to myself) where she openly and honestly talks about how opinionated she is about the many mindless things our society is in love with today and how she is trying to change that about herself. This is the song that I personally connected with as it is something I struggle with as well. And maybe this is why I can’t fully endorse her as a great up and coming artist. I think I’m just jealous of the fact that she took my comedic style of telling barely funny stories and life experiences, put them into song with an average at best guitar, and has become successful. Meanwhile I’m a struggling blogger who has to look up the latest rates for Megabus just so I can travel. The albums clear highlight is Stagnant’s Fine, where she basically puts your heart in the pit of your stomach over a relationship that is tailspining. We’ve all been there and it’s sickening because there’s nothing you can do about it. And with her tender voice and the sad guitar that accompanies it, she brings back that awful feeling with each lyric. At least that’s what I think this song is about, honestly with her it could be about how’s she’s out of moves in her biggest D&D game to date. But I’ll go with the former description.
In the end, her songs are funny and indeed nerdy but I think it’s just a bit too gimmicky to have any true staying power. I would suggest scooping it up for when you’re having a bad day and you need a chuckle. But her biggest fans will be women because guys won’t be able to get past how cute she is. One way to get around creeper status of carrying around her picture, is to use her album as sort of an audible porn magazine that you can listen to while masturbating. Just a thought, not saying I’m going to do this or anything.