Unreleased for over 15 years, I Am the Cosmos is nevertheless an enduring testament to the brilliance of Chris Bell; lyrically poignant and melodically stunning, this lone solo album is proof positive of his underappreciated pop mastery. While cuts like "Get Away," "I Got Kinda Lost," and "Fight at the Table" recall the glowing, energetic power pop of Bell's earlier work, the majority of the songs on I Am the Cosmos are more reflective and deeply personal; the title track is a harrowingly schizophrenic tale of romantic despair, while other cuts like the lurching "Better Save Yourself" and the lovely "Look Up" are infused with a spiritual power largely missing from his Big Star material. The album's highlight, "You and Your Sister" — which features backing vocals from none other than Bell's Big Star mate Alex Chilton — is simply one of the great unknown love songs in the pop canon, a luminous and fragile ballad almost otherworldly in its beauty. -AMG
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