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9 out of 10
'Hot Mess' is the third release from the mock pop (or is it?) super group Cobra Starship. Still Signed to Pete Wentz's (of Fall Out Boy fame) Fueled By Ramen label the group are probably still best known for their debut dingle "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" which was release in promotion of the film of the same name. While probably the best b movie of all time, the accompanying single naturally included the infamous Samuel L. Jackson quote, "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!"
The debut single set up Cobra Starship as the perfect bed mates for the movie, both being campy pastiches of pop culture, lack any seriousness or subtly. Three albums later the Starship evidently haven't looked back.
Their third release 'Hot Mess' continues their cheestastic endeavours, blending bubble gum pop songs, indie and retro style synths to make a strange blend of dance floor and iPod sleaze. Shania Twain, Cher, Westlife, Micheal Jackson, Wham, Fall Out Boy, all could be considered influences, from gentle hand clapping to hardcore pick racking Hot Mess uses every trick in the book form every genre to craft a motley collection that detail the subversion of rich girls and stand offs with the cast of 'Cats'.
Admittedly Cobra Starship aren't Boyzone but neither have they sat down and decided to make an album with a strong political message or anything of that sort (see Street Sweeper Social Club).It's basically a big fat pile of American party rock that pastiches any scrap of pop culture in reach,
"Whadda wanna do thirst? How bout a keg stand? Or play bails on chin wid' a fat chick?"
Nevertheless there's some great melodic interludes thrown in for good measure and rich vocal tapestries going down here, but make no mistake, as professional and polished as it sounds it's not serious music by any stretch of the imagination.
"Good Girls Go Bad" sounds like the Back Street Boys after a heavy night of crystal meth/autotuner abuse that leads to a decrepit mid 90's club track about sexual vampirism, leading into the next track "Fold Your Hands".
The title track "Hot Mess" is perfect dance floor freak-out material, sounding a little bit like CSS, while exploded all over your face whether you wanted it to or not. "Living in the Sky with Diamonds" is an unholy but catchy blend of about five different golden oldies, from the obvious Beatles reference to the Stones. "The Scene is Dead: Long Live the Scene" sounds like Justice Vs. simian sound clashed with Celine Dion. However the Hands down winner has to be "Pete Wentz is the Only Reason we're Famous" (partly true), only six words can do this beauty justice; "Take me to the danger zone".
Looking for some seriously introspective, deep and emotional music? Well, look somewhere else. But if you're after an album to stick on at your next house party before the wet t-shirt competition starts, then this is the ticket you're after.
Cobra Starship has done it again.
1. Nice Guys Finish Last
2. Pete Wentz is the Only Reason we're Famous
3. Good Girls Go Bad
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