RIYLAll Time Low
Tracklist1. Nice Guys Finish Last
2. Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We're Famous
3. Good Girls Go Bad (featuring Leighton Meester)
4. Fold Your Hands Child
5. You're Not In On the Joke
6. Hot Mess
7. Living In The Sky With Diamonds
8. Wet Hot American Summer
9. The Scene Is Dead; Long Live The Scene
10. Move Like You Gonna Die
11. The World Will Never Do (featuring B.o.B)
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It is very hard to approach reviewing an unabashed summer album when you live in a country where the only two seasons you have are cold and rainy. The more cynically slanted people could just end up resenting the bastards in Cobra Starship for constantly producing music that beams sunshine out of your speakers, sizzling with Hollywood heat. But that is essentially what is wrong with both this country and the music we produce, which is as cold and dismal as the weather.
Thankfully for us glass half full (of liquor) kids, the Cobra crew is back, with what is unarguably their best collection of songs so far. Now I must preface the rest of this review with a disclaimer; it is all too easy to approach appraising albums of this nature with a, "Hey, I know it’s not The Beatles, but it ain’t half bad, discerning indie type!" But fuck that. Cobra Starship know exactly what they are doing, and listening to a Cobra Starship you know it too.
On that proviso, Cobra bring it (excuse the pun) harder than ever before, bolstered with excellent production and a larger, fuller sound. Opener “Nice Guys Finish Last” is a stormer, all stomping beats, trademark Saporta sass and a wholly epic chorus. Title track "Hot Mess!", with its (even by Cobra Starship standards) markedly commercial sheen clearly shows the band's intentions with this record, to great effect.
Whilst on the subject, critics of the band (and gosh are there many) would be quick to point out that the album's breakout single “Good Girls Go Bad”, the single to finally earn the band mainstream media attention, was a) not written solely by the band (the track was co-penned by CS, American Idol judge Kara Dioh-my-gawd-ia and ‘Let it Rock’ embarrassment Kevin Rudolph) and b) only got the attention it did because of Leighton Meester’s (of Gossip Girl fame) appearence on the track. To which I would put; have you actually heard the song? It is a supernova of pop fury, which a couple of co-writers have merely nudged in the right direction. And whilst Meester adds a certain Upper East Side class to the track, frankly, her part could’ve been sang by keytarist Vicky T (as it is when performed live) and the song would have received the same plaudits.
No, with Hot Mess!, Cobra Starship truly deserve their emergence into the mainstream consciousness, VMA vignettes and all. The album builds on all the things that were right about their previous two full length efforts and gets rid of almost everything lacking about them. The only thing keeping it from a higher score is the album picks up some dead weight in the form of the last few tracks, but on the whole, this is easily the best collection of pop tracks released this year.