Review Summary: Hellogoodbye meets 3OH!3 in Hot Mess, the third album from Cobra Starship, who seem to refuse to stop partying.
Let me start by saying that I am fully aware that the rating I've given Hot Mess will probably destroy any potential respect I had coming from other Sputnik users, but I stand my ground. If this album had been rumored to be something epic and incredibly intelligent, the result wouldn't even deserve a score. But the folks in Cobra Starship have never taken themselves seriously, and they've never expected you to take them seriously either. Hot Mess only attempts to be great party music, and it definitely succeeds.
I questioned whether I'd bought the right album when the sirens of the first track, "Nice Guys Finish Last," began to wail into my ears set to a strangely jazzy drum pattern. But then Gabe Saporta's voice entered, and that confirmation that I was listening to the right band brought a smile to my face. This quirky tune entertains throughout, with plenty of guy-girl-sing-offs, until the album takes a pop-punk turn for "Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We're Famous." The song is catchy from the first time you hear it, and you'll find yourself singing along to the "oh"s before the song is over.
"Fold Your Hands Child" is a great sing-along ballad that surfaces a couple tracks later, and following comes what may be the most interesting thing Cobra Starship has to offer here. "You're Not In the Joke" dishes up verses that you wish you knew the words to, an infectious chorus, and a bridge with the band screaming. Yes, you read that correctly. Cobra Starship screams in a track on this album, and just because it's them, I think it's hilarious in a perfect way for this song.
Next up is the title track, which is nearly guaranteed to invade the pop radio stations for the remainder of the summer. At this point, the album loses a little bit of it's momentum, but keeps a strong enough hold on you to keep you listening. "Wet Hot American Summer" is a dance-powered standout which makes it difficult to not move your head to the beat in some fashion.
The album closes with "The World Will Never Do," a sort of hip-hop wannabe song that I found boring the first time I heard it. However, giving it several listens has actually left it stuck in my head. The appearance from rapper B.O.B. is a pleasant one, and is necessary for the song's flow. If you're looking for ground-breaking, genre-bending music with mind-blowing lyrics, look elsewhere. In fact, you probably didn't even make it to the end of this review. But if you have a mindless party side in you, then you'll have a nice time with this slab of original summer dance tunes.