You can hear [artist id=”2402281″]Cobra Starship’s[/artist] much-anticipated [url id=”http://www.mtv.com/music/the_leak/cobra_starship/hot_mess/”]Hot Mess right now on MTV.com’s “The Leak,”[/url] and while you’re listening, check out the stories behind some of the album’s standout tracks — right from the mouths of Cobra themselves.
Last week, we gave you our take on the album (calling it “pitch-perfect future pop”), but what do Cobra’s Gabe Saporta and Alex Suarez think about Hot Mess? Well, we asked them to tell us about their favorite songs on the album, which hits stores next Tuesday, and this is what we got:
“Nice Guys Finish Last”
Alex Suarez: This is one of mine and Gabe’s favorite tracks on the record. … We wrote it in the mountains, and I think that’s why we’re really proud of it.
Gabe Saporta: We wear our influences proudly. We don’t take influences from one genre. … We have Adam Ant influences in that song, like “Goody Two Shoes”; there’s a Britney influence in that song; there’s a big-band, Brian Setzer influence in the song. It’s like this big soup we put together, stir it up and puke out some Cobra sh–. A bunch of babes sing on it. One is the girl on the cover of the record. [Cobra keytarist] Victoria [Asher] sings on it. Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday, we added her to it on tour. Our engineer’s girlfriend sings on there. A bunch of other friends of his too.
There’s a real story [behind the song]. … I used to have this boss, I had one job when I was a kid, after high school, I was working for this guy who had a company that cleaned garbage chutes in buildings. And I don’t know how he ended up doing that, because he was a rock-and-roll dude. He had Rod Stewart hair, and he was, like, 50. It was awesome. But he was such a chauvinist pig, and I was a straight-edge punk kid, very politically correct. Like, I would take offense if someone said something rude, which is the exact opposite of the way I am now. But I was that kid. And one time, he was like, “Yeah, you treat girls like sh–, they’ll stick to you like toilet paper.” And I was like, “What?!?! That’s f—ed up!” But I put that into the song, that he told me that. I mean, I don’t treat girls like sh–, but the song’s about that. Sometimes the bad boys end up getting the girls. … We know a couple of guys who are “too nice.” Like our sound guy, he’ll just meet some girl and, like, give her flowers.
Suarez: If you’re too nice, you don’t get to finish at all.
“Fold Your Hands Child”
Saporta: With us, like, our albums feel like mixtapes. To me, it’s almost like a continuation of a song from our first record, called “The Kids Are All F—ed Up,” which is kind of indie, soft, a heartfelt song that’s kind of f—ed up. It’s about being in love but being f—ed up. Not perfect. The “oooh-ooohs” are influenced by the Arcade Fire. … That added such a big thing to the song. We were struggling with that song forever. We had space to go over and over and over it, and then when you’re playing it, it sort of takes on a life of its own, and it speaks to you.
“You’re Not in on the Joke”
Saporta: The last record was about “Hey, we’re the guilty pleasure. We don’t give a sh–.” And I think since then, a lot more people have heard our band, and some people don’t get the joke. And I think the reason we have such great fans is because they get it. And it’s people who don’t get it, who only think we’re clowns, that’s what the song is about. We only show you what you want to see. There’s a line: “I just have one side to show you all/ My ass/ It’s awesome to smell/ When you’re kissing it.”
Suarez: There’s all these dudes screaming on it at one point. We added them all on tour. We needed all the muscle dudes. All the big security dudes are on the chorus.
Suarez: We actually didn’t know who we got [the beat] from. We had it in the mountains. We were like, “Hey, somebody sent us this track.” We started messing around to it.
Our friend did the beat … and we thought it was awesome, so let’s f— with it. And that’s how we first met Kevin [Rudolf]. We had the beat and melodies, but it felt like it wasn’t up to par with where the song should be, so we sent it to Kevin, he sent it back, and we were like, “Wow, this is awesome.” It put our version to shame. His lyrics were “You’re a landslide, and I’m falling to you,” and that was cool, but we changed it a bit to “Hot Mess.” That’s the mission statement.