Cobra Starship makes a mess

Shreya Shankar

In a world of inebriated nights and flashing neon lights, Cobra Starship takes a shot (or four, from the slurred sound of it), ushering an already stale scene of Day Glo hipsters and one too many “Hot Messes” into the mainstream.

Teens everywhere went wild over Cobra Starship’s summer hit single, “Good Girls Go Bad”, featuring “Gossip Girl”‘s Leighton Meester. In a way, the band’s choice of “Gossip Girl”‘s resident naughty girl was a good indicator of the dance-pop direction of their new album.

Showcasing heavy synths and power chords with light beats and heavy auto-tune, Cobra Starship takes “Hot Mess” to the dance floor. They do, however, retain the stylistic versatility that allows them to thrive as an indie band with hard-to-classify songs like “Living In The Sky With Diamonds” and “Wet Hot American Summer”. Regardless of the genre, every song makes for the ideal upbeat summer jam.

Though nearly all the tracks on “Hot Mess” are feel-good songs perfect for a night out, they tend to lack meaning and thought. Compared to frontman Gabe Saporta’s old band Midtown, Cobra Starship has experienced some massive lyrical degradation. The lyrics, which feature pseudo-intellectual lines like “In between this sentence there’s still assemblance, intelligently screwed”, seem more like Saporta had a fling with a thesaurus than an intelligible verse. It’s all brilliant as long as you’re not thinking too hard about the lyrics.

Saporta, who single-handedly made purple American Apparel sweatshirts and Nite Brite wayfarers cool, also seems to be overdoing his pedantic party animal shtick. Each song’s content is relatively identical to the others, the tunes unmemorable and far from creative. After a few listens, everything eventually becomes a blur, indistinguishable melodic noises swimming in your ears until you can find the mute button.

But for all the pitfalls of Cobra Starship’s new album, at least the band’s still got attitude. “You better find something new to say,” Saporta sings vehemently, “‘Cause kid, I’ve heard it all before.”