‘Night Shades’ | Cobra Starship
For fans of:
All time Low, We the Kings, Forever the Sickest Kids, Top 40
singles to download:
“Fool Like Me,” “You Belong to Me”
“Night Shades” is the fourth album by New York band Cobra Starship. It’s obvious that the band intended to build on the mass appeal of their 2009 album, “Hot Mess” (featuring the guilty pleasure single “Good Girls Go Bad”), which brought them chart success. The new album has several unashamed pop-dance songs like the catchy first single “You Make Me Feel…” and also “#1Nite.” These songs are carefully crafted and refined with sing-along hooks and fist pumping beats that would fit nicely on any Top 40 chart. However, the problem with “Night Shades” is that the band seems unwilling to commit completely to the mindless pop anthems that made them famous: Instead, the band explores too many genres on “Night Shades.” Although relatively short at 10 songs, the album moves breathlessly through ranges of incompatible songs, like ’50s throwback “Fool Like Me,” complete with high-pitched doo-wop backing vocals, keyboard-synth-fueled “Anything For Love,” which might have been popular in the ’80s, and the astoundingly horrible “Middle Finger,” featuring rapper Mac Miller and moments of astonishing lyrical prowess like “Throw your cups in the air/We so fly/Middle finger up to the sky.”
The result is that the album lacks any obvious sense of cohesion and thus cannot fully satisfy fans of any genre. “Night Shades” doesn’t really work as a complete album, and although there are a few likable songs (particularly the album opener “You Belong to Me,” which combines soft vocals and saccharine piano riffs) and certainly some tunes to blast at dance parties, there are also many forgettable filler songs. It’s clear that Cobra has tried to take a different direction from “Hot Mess,” but they should go back to unabashedly owning the cheesy guitar and synth-filled dance-punk that made them popular in the first place.