After writing last year's "Snakes on a Plane" theme song, Cobra Starship was pegged as a gimmick made up for the film. Unfortunately, this caused few people to take notice of the band's spectacular debut album "While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets." But, with second effort, "Viva La Cobra!," the band may finally show people they are not only a real band, but an extraordinary one.
The first three songs on "Viva La Cobra!" ("The City is at War," "Guilty Pleasure" and "One Day Robots Will Cry") perfectly open the album. They are fun and energetic songs that showcase the dance rock anthems Cobra Starship has become known and loved for. However, that doesn't mean that Cobra plays it safe. On "Guilty Pleasure," Gabe Saporta, Cobra founder and frontman, branches out lyrically and seems to express his displeasure with the current state of music, and its emphasis on looks and attitudes. They also break away from "While the City Sleeps" with hip-hop infused rock on the Justin Timberlake-influenced "Kiss My Sass," as well as the almost stereotypical R&B ballad "Pleasure Ryland," or the disco-inspired dance beats of "Angie."
The band also manages to achieve arena-sized rock songs, such as "Prostitution Is the World's Oldest Profession," which includes the dynamic keytar work of Victoria Asher and an explosively catchy chorus. Cobra even incorporates Latin flair and gang vocals ("Smile for the Paparazzi"), along with brilliant guitar solos from Ryland Blackinton similar to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone" ("The World Has Its Shine"). Even songs like the tongue-in-cheek "Damn You Look Good and I'm Drunk" or the electronic-heavy "My Moves Are White (White Hot, That Is)," while at first listen are a little unusual, demonstrate the outrageous diversity of Cobra Starship.
While every song on "Viva La Cobra!" offers a little something different within the dance-rock spectrum, the album does have some consistencies, such as the solid, but not exactly intricate, backbone provided by drummer Nate Novarro and bassist Alex Suarez. Another common factor throughout the album is the vocal performance of Saporta, whose emotional, powerful, and at times humorous, lyrics and voice cannot be ignored.
"I came here to make you dance tonight. I don't care if I'm a guilty pleasure for you," Saporta sings in the opening line of "Guilty Pleasure." While "Viva La Cobra!," will certainly make every listener get up and dance, Saporta shouldn't worry about people considering his band a guilty pleasure anymore, because "Viva La Cobra!" is an impressive release with everything, from music to vocals, written and performed to perfection.
Rebecca Kujawa is a senior at Sacred Heart Academy.