Cobra Starship's third studio album Hot Mess has the aura of make or break for the band around it. Back in 2006 the band made a big splash with the closing theme song for the comedy hit Snakes on a Plane. However, the anticipation for their debut album quickly fizzled and neither of the band's first two studio albums seemed to hold up to their initial promise. Then along came Leighton Meester and the help of producer Kevin Rudolf along with songwriting assistance from Kara DioGuardi that turned the single "Good Girls Go Bad" into a smash hit.
Released August 2009 by Fueled By Ramen
A Guilty Pleasure?
Here is the scenario. You went digging around in your parents closet of old vinyl LP's from the 80's, found one with candy-coated colors on the cover, played it on their old turntable and discovered it really wasn't bad. Then a few days later after listening to it for the 15th time you realized you had fallen in love with the goofy, fun, sarcastic music. It's quite possible it sounded a lot like Cobra Starship's Hot Mess. No one is going to accuse Cobra Starship of creating high art. In fact that is no more the mission of Cobra Starship than it is Lady GaGa's in creating "Poker Face." This is music for parties, an occasional laugh, and to not take seriously.
Cobra Starship's Unique Style and Approach
In the legend of Cobra Starship, leader Gabe Saporta claims it is part of his mission in life revealed by a talking cobra to help mankind go out in style by, "teaching hipsters to not take themselves so seriously and by telling emo kids to stop being pussies." This time around the band finally fulfills their mission. If you try and take yourself seriously while listening to Cobra Starship you are likely to be left in their dust. As far as the emo kids, Saporta and his group addresses them directly in "Pete Wentz Is the Only Reason We're Famous" with the line, "I'm not street but I do what I gotta do."
The incessant efforts at humor bordering on self parody, stream of cheesy effects from girl choruses to waves of 80's synth, and buckets of attitude may put off or even annoy some listeners, but the song "You're Not In On the Joke" reveals a vulnerable core with the words, "You'll never see 'cause you're not in on the joke." This isn't music for contemplative rock critics. It's music for pop fans that are bored with "meaningful" emo songs, empty pretty girl pop, and party music about sex and alcohol.
Top Tracks on Hot Mess
- "Pete Wentz Is the Only Reason We're Famous"
- "Good Girls Go Bad"
- "Fold Your Hands Child"
- "You're Not In On the Joke"
Is Cobra Starship a One-Trick Pony?
As good as Hot Mess is, it is not easy to see the sign pointing to future development for Cobra Starship. However, the stylistic experimentation evident and quite beautiful serious moments such as the song "Fold Your Hands Child" do point toward the band's possible evolution. For now, enjoy the music of a band fulfilling the mission stated in its creation. And, don't forget to dance and have fun when you're listening to Hot Mess. That is your mission as a Cobra Starship fan.