Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hot Mess CD Review

Friday, I opened the mailbox to a thick envelope with a CD case inside. Score! I’d sent away for the preorder of Hot Mess and knew that this was it. There was a moment of anticipation – the first five hundred people got special covers, signed by members of the band, from a CobraCam episode where they made fake covers. I opened it to find:


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The CD on the left is my version of Hot Mess, with a special cover signed by Victoria Asher. Sweet! The CD on the right is Viva La Cobra! But the thing infront of the cover is the one of a kind Polaroid from the band that I received with that preorder back in 2007. Win!

So I’ve been listening to the CD over and over again in the past few days, and I like it. I really do. I’ve kind of trashed on this album in the past few months, calling “Pete Wentz is the Only Reason We’re Famous” “not profound”, labeling “Good Girls Go Bad” as “too poppy, too average, too regular,” and being less that pumped about “Hot Mess.” I hated the cover art, and I worried that Gabe Saporta had forgotten that his band contained instruments other than a bunch of synths.

But then I listened to the full album together and I got it. It’s not classic Cobra, but they’ve already made “While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets.” If they made the same album every time we’d get bored, they’d get bored, and it would stop being fun. I still wish there was a little more guitar presence on the record, but it’s good. I’ve listened to it enough now that the songs are sorting themselves into groups.

Favorites: My absolute favorite song off the album is “I May Be Rude, But I’m the Truth” which is a bonus track, so not everyone will get to hear it. That’s a damn shame because the chorus is so catchy everyone would be singing this song with the windows rolled down and the music pouring out. The opening notes remind me of something, but I can’t quite place my finger on it. Maybe an 80s Hip-Hop/Rap song? I’m not sure. Something. But it’s got this great attitude: “I never needed your sympathy, ‘cause I got my own money, and there ain’t nothing you can do to me.” “Put it in your blog, I promise no one gives a fuck.” Alright, Gabe, I will, because you had me at “Sha na na na.”

Other favorites include “Pete Wentz is the Only Reason We’re Famous” which is a great live crowd song even if it’s not profound. Not everything has to be. It’s also very reminiscent of old Cobra Starship. “Living in the Sky with Diamonds” is great too. I caught on at “the last thing on her mind is growing up, she’ll kiss the sky before she’s givin’ up” but the chorus is really pretty. It’s still got a great dance beat, but it’s the song you sing along to while smiling at your best friend in the crowd next to you and taking a breather from screaming and thrashing.

Songs that will be big hits: “Good Girls Go Bad.” Obviously. I am so, so proud of Cobra Starship that this song is on the radio and on TV and all over the place. They’ve worked hard for this, and they deserve this. They’re getting fan backlash for “selling out” or some shit, but that’s completely unfair. They deserve this, and I’m happy for them, not afraid of losing them. If there’s one band that I have complete faith will never forget their fans, it’s Cobra Starship.

“You’re Not in on the Joke” also has great potential to be big. I’m planning an epic music video shoot for this with some of my friends. Fabulous. There are also guitars in here, which is great. “Hot Mess” could also be huge if they put it out soon. Good beats, catchy chorus, and a story line that has both the bad girls and the good girls digging it.

Oddballs: “Nice Guys Finish Last” opens the CD with sirens and a schoolyard chant. This was the first thing I listened to and I was so afraid for where this CD was going, but then about three hours later I realized I had been singing it in my head for about ten minutes. It’s got a group of girls chanting “bad boys, bad boys, all we want is bad boys.” Which is true, of course, but it’s a little incongruous with the rest of the songs. It’s a good song, but it doesn’t fit.

“The World Will Never Do” has some guest rapping on it, and some bad grammar. The chorus sticks in my head but the synth in the background reminds me a tiny bit of something they’d play at a hip-hop ballpark.

Songs that just aren’t sticking: “Fold Your Hands Child” is a good song, but I keep having to listen to it to remember what’s in it. It’s a bit slower than the rest of the CD and it just isn’t making much of an impression, which sucks, because now that I’m listening to it and writing this I kind of like it. Huh. “Wet Hot American Summer” isn’t really sticking either, but listening to it I’m not as upset about this one.

Song that will make me dance: “Move Like You Gonna Die.” It’s right in the title. And the chorus. And the bridge. This song wants me to move, and I’ll do it.

Midtown?: “The Scene is Dead; Long Live the Scene” started and I wondered if maybe this song was a reject from Forget What You Know. Then the synths kicked in and it wasn’t, but for a moment there I was worried.

Is it the next great album? Nope. But I like it, I’ll dance to it, I’ll sing to it, and I’ll force my friends to listen to it.

The CD came with Fan Club Membership codes inside. Gabe Saporta had asked fans on his blog last week whether or not we wanted a Fan Club, and I’d thought the resounding answer had been no. I was pretty impartial – I’ve never wanted to front the money to join a fan club, but this one is free. I don’t think Cobra needs one – they already treat their fans like gold, and we already get presales and get to meet them. We'll see how it goes.

Final score: 3.5 Fangs Up out of 5.

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