Release Date: Aug 29, 2011
Record label: Fueled by Ramen Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Dance-Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock, Emo-Pop
In the two years since Cobra Starship put out Hot Mess, their genre (emo pop) and patron saint (Pete Wentz) have faded like MySpace. So for Night Shades, Gabe Saporta spun the radio dial, whipping up facsimiles of David Guetta Eurodisco on "You Make Me Feel..." and Cee Lo Green-style doo-wop on "Fool Like Me," with its own dose of "Fuck You": "When your momma sees me calling on the telephone/That bitch hangs up on me." But Saporta can't tune out his favorite decade, adopting a silky croon on "Anything for Love," a synth-pop winner that might've been a real hit in 1986. Listen to "You Make Me Feel...": .
It’s hard to get a fix on an album that has credits from members of Le Tigre, a guy who produced Susan Boyle and Il Divo, hip-hop hitmakers Stargate, American Idol washout Kara DioGuardi, the great Arthur Baker, and the worst songwriter of all time, Ryan Tedder. Throw in vocals by the French all-girl band Plastiscines and Britney collaborator Sabi, a weak rap by Mac Miller (the white Eminem), and some help from the unfortunately named Brooklyn pop band Jump into the Gospel, and it would seem that Cobra Starship may have gone a bit overboard on their fourth album, Nightshades. Packing so many WTFs into one ten-song record is hardly fair, a bit reckless, and ultimately (amazingly) successful.
These electro-emo brats broke big with ”Good Girls Go Bad,” their irresistible ’09 collab with Gossip Girl Leighton Meester. Two years later, they’ve become full-on pop-meisters, spinning out sleek club jams produced by Stargate and Ryan Tedder. The hooks here are undeniably sharp — especially on ”#1Nite (One Night),” which swipes the melody from Usher’s ”DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love.” But Cobra were more fun as party crashers than they are as VIPs.
Cobra Starship’s music is always best taken at face value—and by that, we mean the cost of a half-dozen vodka-Red Bulls at the club, immediately followed by a late-night Taco Bell feast. In other words, there may not be much substance to it, but it’s still a guilty pleasure. After some electro-pop heavy petting on 2009’s Hot Mess, the band have severed any remaining pop-punk ties completely with Night Shades.