Cobra Starship’s latest album, Night Shades, may not be the worst album to come out this year, but it is certainly not among the best. In fact, it sits directly in the middle. It lacks originality, though there are a few redemptive moments. In short, this latest installment seems to be the definition of mediocre.
Fans of Gabe Saporta pre-Cobra will remain disappointed. The former frontman of pop-punk band Midtown is still making albums under Cobra Starship that are missing the punk. At the same time, fans of Cobra Starship pre-Night Shades may also be disappointed. From the beginning, they have been known for their unique combination of electronic beats and rock. This album has a lot of electronic beats (and unhealthy amount of auto-tune) but lacks a rock factor for the most part.
The first two singles,“You Make Me Feel” and “#1Nite,” lack any sort of creative inspiration whatsoever. Listening to any top 40 stations followed by these two songs will prove that. As if the title, which includes a twitter hash, isn’t enough of a reason to label them as cliché, these songs are repetitive, and very similar to a Taio Cruz song. Months from now, our ears will be asking the question, “Will this madness ever end?”
The album takes a turn toward disaster with the Sean Kingston/Justin Bieber-esque song, titled “Fool Like Me.” Yet again, this song plays like a top 40 clone. Perhaps the most disappointing factor to this song is its lack of lyrical originality. For a band that if nothing else, could at least be praised for lyrical ingenuity, this album has very nonsensical lyrics, with this song probably being the worst. The worst line is, “Remember that time I blew your mailbox up? I was just kidding about that.” It might just be me, but that makes very little logical or grammatical sense.
Though most of this album is a disaster, the band did mange to get a few things right.
The first track on the album, “You Belong to Me,” is a deceptive, yet great start to the album. The song sounds like an interesting twist on their old stuff, and best of all, it isn’t disgustingly auto-tuned. The song is catchy in a good way, and is the only song that seems to play like real work from real musicians, rather than music that is created to impress.
There is one and only one instance in which the band’s creatively lacking sound works well, and that could be only because of the Mac Miller guest appearance. “Middle Finger” is somewhat similar to the band’s old sound, but yet again, it seems as though this song is a success simply because of a few excellently delivered hooks from Miller.
It’s always sad when a band sells their career to the machine, and on Night Shades, it seems as though Cobra Starship is making a desperate cry for attention. Pop music junkies just might love this album because it lacks creativity just like most of what they listen to, and that is the one and only factor that could possibly make this mediocre and unoriginal installment a financial success for the band.