Cobra Starship – Hot Mess
Release Date: August 11, 2009
Record Label: Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen
Over the past few weeks many users have grabbed their pitchforks and lighted their lanterns over Cobra Starship, more specifically lead man Gabe Saporta. Whether it’s the awful cover art to his bands third album, Hot Mess, his role with Millionaires, neon clothes, Gossip Girl, or licking Pete Wentz’s face, he has found himself plenty of controversy. But this is not one of those reviews that whines about Midtown and Millionaires and Gossip Girl. In fact, I’m glad Saporta has found happiness making mindless dance-pop music.
Just because I think Hot Mess is awful in every sense of the word doesn’t give me the right to hate him for his happiness. Who am I to take that away from him?
I mean, if producing music that sounds like a Britney Spears b-side (Nice Guys Finish Last; already in contention for Worst Song of 2009) gets him going, awesome! And if songs that feature sing-alongs (“Good Girls Go Bad” featuring Gossip Girl Leighton Meester) that sound like they came from Bring It On! (and not the one with Kirsten Dunst) gives him his jollies, then I say good for you, Gabe, good for you.
Sadly, unless you normally dress in neon clothes and/or worship everything Decaydance touches (or you’re this guy), you probably won’t derive much joy from Hot Mess. There a few glimpses of enjoyment, as “Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We’re Famous” features some energy and urgency not heard since their debut, While The City Sleeps, We Rule The Streets. “You’re Not In On The Joke” features some TTTYG-era Wentz screaming, so if you’re into that, you’ll dig this track (at least the last 50 seconds). My favorite two parts of the album are the sweet old-school vibe of “Wet Hot American Summer,” and when B.o.B drops a verse on “The World Will Never Do.” But these glimpses are few and far between on Hot Mess.
Some tracks take on somber vibes, like “Fold Your Hands Child,” which is a cheesy anthem about going and achieving all your dreams, while “The Scene Is Dead; Long Live The Scene” features a catchy lightweight chorus amongst boring verses. But most of the time, Hot Mess is pumping out fast dance numbers that sound the same, as Saporta tells us that A. he makes good girls go bad, B. you need to get your ass out on the floor and dance till you die, or C. how awesome he is (main culprits: the title track, “Move Like You Gonna Die, “Good Girls Go Bad”).
The final nail in the coffin of Hot Mess is what I just mentioned: the lyrics. They are painful; singing about having a crew, his boo’s, and the like are cringe worthy. We know Saporta can write good lyrics (his former life is especially evident of this), but the writing on Hot Mess isn’t cutting it, as it is mostly pure fluff.
All in all, Hot Mess will probably be Saporta’s biggest hit in his music career, as first single “Good Girls Go Bad” continues to climb the charts. That’s great news for Gabe Saporta, and I’m happy he has found that success he has been craving. It’s just too bad it has to come in the form of this, as his success will leave an empty feeling for many who have been following him from the very beginning. Hot Mess is just repetitive music that has been rehashed. In fact, when I asked our resident Cobra expert, anamericangod, what he thought, he reiterated my point, “This is the recognition, attention, and success that old school Saporta fans have always felt he deserves, but nobody would have ever imagined that this is the product it would come from. With Hot Mess, Cobra Starship show us that, truly, Nothing Is Ever What It Seems."
Spot on review Drew; I enjoyed Pete Wentz Is the Only Reason We're Famous, You're Not in on the Joke, Good Girls, and The Scene Is Dead. Nice Guys is like you said, one of the worst songs of 2009. I really couldn't stand listening to the whole album.