Hello, and welcome back to Radio Rants. Hit me!
I’ve never really known what to make of Starship Cobra. On one hand, they’re a member of Fueled by Ramen records and have been a fairly successful band over the past five years. On the other hand, their song “Pete Wentz Is the Only Reason We’re Famous” is more telling than the band would like to admit, and their smug jackass dance pop-punk is only slightly removed from 3Oh!3. Although from what I understand, frontman Gabe Saporta (former member of pop-punk group Midtown) is working on closing that gap: with each album, Cobra Starship has gotten a little less Warped Tour and a little moreBillboard. And just wait until we get to “You Make Me Feel…”
Even with “Good Girls Go Bad”, you could at make the argument that the band knew they were bullshitting. I’m not saying it’s a strong one, Cobra Starship has a dorky enough personality, and the song was over the top enough to give it a “wink, nudge, we’re kidding” undertone. You could take it at face value, but the song wasn’t without some “well, this is just silly” humor to it as well.
And that any sign of that humor is gone on “The Way You Make Me Feel”. I mean, “You Make Me Feel…”. Actually, which way is that feeling, Cobra Starship?
“You make me feel [noise]” Say again? The vocals are so digitized that they degenerate to noise there at the end. “You make me feel so/La la la la la” Sorry, what? Let me consult a few lyrics sites…and we have…
“You make me feel that/La la la la la/You make me feel so/La la la la la”
…really? That’s actually the chorus we’re going with here? What am I supposed to do with that? There are no insights in those lyrics, no commentary; this is literally a chorus filled with nothing. Since I dragged it in earlier, let’s look at the chorus for “The Way You Make Me Feel”: “The way you make me feel/You really turn me on/You knock me off of my feet/My lonely days are gone”. See? Starts in the exact same place, but actually says something. Maybe there’s some meaning I’ll only get if I check the verses.
“I’m known for taking what I think I deserve/And you’re overdue” That’s a bad line, but let’s be honest, if a song can turn “I like you” into selfishness, that’s kind of impressive. See, it’s not about her, it’s about how cool he is, and how he deserves her, all while offering her fuckall in return.
“And if you listen you can hear me through the radio/In that bright white noise” “Noise” certainly comes to mind when I think of this song…
“What I been missing in my life/What I been dreaming of” Like what? No, really, I mean that: like what? Did Gabe Saporta forget to fill in his own lyrical Mad Libs before recording this song? For there to be any substance, fun, or likability to a song, there has to be at least one detail that people can relate to. Hell, Jeremih’s horrific “Down on Me” had more of a narrative than this. Ok, what’s Sabi got to say?
“I’m the baddest baby in the atmosphere” Again, a bad line, but since it had actual nouns in it, I’ll let that slide.
“You know I like it loud” Holy shit, a detail. Kind of odd, but I guess it works. Come on, give me something else…
“Tell me what you want so we can do just what you like” See, he’s not even telling her anything!
I should mention that I’m having to get all of these lyrics off websites because both voices are so processed that I can barely make out what they’re saying. Saporta’s choice to use Auto-Tune is confusing; dude’s been singing in a band since 1998, and wasn’t using A-Tune even in “Good Girls Go Bad”. Sabi, meanwhile, is so processed that she might as well be a synth set to words. And I guess I should talk about “You Make Me Feel”‘s production, even though it’s barely necessary. Dance synths here, electrobeat there, overproduced guitar because oh right, this is a band, a quietish bridge, and we’re done. The “La la la la la” hook is kind of catchy, but purely in a sterilized “Made for radio” way.
And there’s my three word summary for “You Make Me Feel…”: “made for radio”. I know I’m talking about it like it’s one of the worst songs I’ve come across recently, but as a listen, “You Make Me Feel…” is pretty inoffensive. I suspect that the song was made as a ruthless top of the charts follow-up to Cobra Starship’s other hit, but “You Make Me Feel…” is also pedestrian to the point of boredom; it goes in one ear, and out with other without leaving any impact in-between. I didn’t like Hot Chell Rae’s “Tonight Tonight” because of how it seemed to be gleeful in how bad it was, but “You Make Me Feel…” puts a much worse taste in my mouth. It’s the bitterness that comes from hearing an artist give up entirely. And being rewarded for it.