From left to right: Nate Navarro, Ryland Blackinton, Gabe Saporta, Alex Suarez, and Victoria Asher.
I came here to make you dance tonight
I don't care about my guilty pleasure for you
— "Guilty Pleasure"
Created in 2006 by Gabe Saporta (vocalist/writer), formerly of the band Midtown, under the Decaydance label owned by Pete Wentz
, it featured Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, William Beckett of The Academy Is
, and Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds for the band's first song, "Snakes on a Plane" for the movie...Snakes on a Plane
Current members include Gabe Saporta (vocals), Ryland Blackington (guitar), Alex Suarez (bass), Nate Novarro (drums), and Victoria Asher (keytar). They have four albums:
- While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets (2006)
- ¡Viva La Cobra! (2007)
- Hot Mess (2009)
- Night Shades (2011)
Hits include the aforementioned "Snakes on a Plane", "Guilty Pleasure", "Good Girls Go Bad", and "You Make Me Feel...". Notable for their music essentially being sarcasm set to a dance beat, and for being ridiculously tallnote
. They're often grouped as part of the "Fueled By Five" (five bands from their label, Fueled By Ramen), which also includes Fall Out Boy
, Panic! at the Disco
, The Academy Is
, and Gym Class Heroes
Tropes applying to the band:
- Catch Phrase: Fangs up! Also, "Let's get wasted!" in Cobra Cam.tv, to the point where it became kind of a running gag.
- Cunning Linguist: Alex, who managed to pick up the basics of the Indonesian language in three days, though his earlier attempts to tweet in it were rather unsuccessful.
- Faux Yay: Loads of it. Gabe tends to be touchy-feely with his male label mates. Or any male from another band, really.◊ Also has plenty of stage gay with said label boss◊, to the delight of fans, and tons with William Beckett of The Academy Is... Alex and Nate tend to be rather affectionate towards each other as well.
- Gag Boobs: Jokes involving Victoria's boobs are abundant in Cobra Cam.tv. Tits ahoy!
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gabe
- Kubrick Stare: Gabe has become famed for leveling "The Psycho Stare" at any camera in his vicinity. This has done nothing to quell the rumors about his basement of unspecified horrors.
- Long Title: Many, but "Prostitution is the World's Oldest Profession (And I, Dear Madame, Am a Professional)" and "Send My Love to the Dance Floor I'll See You in Hell (Hey Mister DJ)" take the cake. The long song titles extend to their tours. Cobra Starship is noted as having taken a "Really Really Really Amazingly Beautiful People's Tour". They called it "The Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking Tour" to give a nod to Zoolander.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Did Gabe start a satirical dancepop band as a temper tantrum after Midtown's breakup, or did he really see an intergalactic cobra? The world may never know.
- One-Hit Wonder: Well, they were. For two years, "Good Girls Go Bad" was the band's only top 40 hit on the Hot 100. However, they came back with "You Make Me Feel" two years later.
- Only Sane Man: Alex, who spends an awful lot of time mouthing WTF on CobraCam.TV
- Stealth Parody: It's debateable that Cobra Starship is a stealth parody of commercial pop and dance music, since their lyrics almost directly poke fun at rich, post-fratboy life styles. They don't take themselves too seriously.
- Those Two Guys: Alex and Ryland. They also have their own two-person indie folk band, This Is Ivy League.
- Wild Hair: Nate grows a beard after going mad while living in a cabin with the band in one episode of Cobra Cam.tv.
Tropes applying to their music and videos:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Nice Guys Finish Last" and "Good Girls Go Bad".
- Audience Participation Song: In most live performances of "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)", Gabe will bring an audience member up on stage to do Travie McCoy's rap.
- Ballad of X: "Big Poppa and Diamond Girl"
- Brick Joke: The description for the "Guilty Pleasure" home video says that the label gave them $650,000 to make the video, which they blew on a sports car. Afterwards, the official video for "Guilty Pleasure" was released, and we get to see that the car the band blew all that money on was a DeLorean.
- Call-and-Response Song: The band is really fond of these between a guy and girl, including:
- "Good Girls Go Bad" with Leighton Meester
- "New Edition" with Victoria getting in a few lines, leading up to...
- "Disaster Boy", where Victoria is featured as the lead singer, with Gabe as the responder
- "What Happens on the Dancefloor", an Alexandra Burke song featuring Gabe Saporta
- "Nice Guys Finish Last" does this during the bridge.
- The Cover Changes The Meaning: While Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" is about Les Yay, Cobra Starship's "I Kissed A Boy" is about a guy and his friends trying to get Yaoi fangirls by invoking Ho Yay, and starting a fight for fun in the process.
- Ditto for "Hollaback Boy", their cover of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl". While the original features Gwen Stefani challenging the people gossiping about her, Cobra Starship's cover acts as a biting response calling out Gwen, directly replying to some of her lyrics.
- Edible Ammunition: The pies in the music video for "The City is At War".
- Everything Sounds Sexier in Spanish: Gabe's bilingual, as heard in "The Ballad of Big Poppa and Diamond Girl", the beginning of "Smile For the Paparazzi", and "Placer Culpable", the Spanish version of "Guilty Pleasure".
- Fight Fur Your Right To Party: The video for "The Church of Hot Addiction" has Gabe falling in love with the dude (well, girl) in a rabbit suit. They eventually get married and have little bunnies.
- Flipping the Bird: "Middle Finger" obviously. The music video comes with everyone sticking their middle fingers at least once.
- Long Title: "Prostitution is the World's Oldest Profession (And I, Dear Madame, Am A Professional) and "Send My Love to the Dancefloor, I'll See You in Hell (Hey, Mr. DJ)". Something of a label signature.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "The City is at War" and "Guilty Pleasure".
- Man in White: The video for "The City Is At War" features the entire band dressed in white, and Gabe, in a white suit. And then they kill everybody with pies.
- Mêlée à Trois: The entire band does one of these with hidden pies around a table piled with cash in the music video for "The City Is at War". This doesn't really constitute a pie fight, however, as they're meant to be basically gun/knife stand-ins, with being pied in the face being a cause of death.
- Nice Guys Finish Last: The eponymous song.
- Obsession Song: "It's Warmer In The Basement". in which the stalker has already kidnapped the object of their affections. In Gabe's words, "This is a song about when you love someone so much you have to tie them up in your basement".
- One Woman Song: "Angie".
- Pie in the Face: The video for "The City Is At War".
- Religion of Evil: "The Church of Hot Addiction"
- Shout-Out: Mostly through song titles, and quite a few are from The Eighties popular culture:
- The DeLorean from Back to the Future shows up in the "Guilty Pleasure" video.
- The title of "The Ballad of Big Poppa and Diamond Girl" is a reference to Biggie and Lil Kim.
- The entirety of "Living in the Sky with Diamonds" is a reference to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
- "It's Amateur Night at the Apollo Creed!"'s title is partly a reference to the eponymous Rocky character and the Apollo Theater, which was known for hosting an "Amateur Night".
- "The Kids Are All Fucked Up" is a play on The Who's "The Kids Are All Right".
- "Being From Jersey Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry" is a play on the quote, "Love means never having to say you're sorry" from Love Story.
- "Wet, Hot American Summer" and the eponymous film.
- Small Name, Big Ego: A common persona for Gabe in their songs, sometimes crossing over with The Casanova.
- Stalker with a Crush: "It's Warmer in the Basement"- You can't escape now/I've got you locked inside this room/You know I tip good/and soon, you will love me too. These lines launched Gabe's image as a Memetic Molester.