Forgotten Gems of the Scene: Cobra Starship

Written by Julieta Vega

Photo by Jimmy Fontaine

With the recent rise of TikTok in Gen-Z culture, songs from the early 2010s have made a comeback, from “Shake It” by Metro Station to “Chelsea Smile” by Bring Me The Horizon to “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship. Despite not having released new material in a while, Cobra Starship's unique pop style is still just as fun as we remember it, and had an undeniable influence on today's music.

Before Cobra Starship, lead vocalist Gabe Saporta was in a pop-punk band called Midtown, known for their emotive and hardcore influenced sound. The group released three albums and one EP within their six-year run.

Thanks to this band, Saporta was able to dip his toes into the music industry and begin to understand the ins and outs of this new world. He quickly started to manage Armor For Sleep, an alternative band on the rise, and found an interest in the music business.

After the disbandment of Midtown, Saporta wanted to shift away from sorrowful and gloomy lyrics. Thus, Cobra Starship was born, with Gabe Saporta as the vocalist, Nate Navarro as the drummer, Alex Suarez as the bassist, Ryland Blackinton as the guitarist, and Elisa Schwartz as the keytarist.

The band's first single was an instant hit. Written for the movie by the same name, "Snakes on a Plane" was used for promotional material but made its way to the mainstream as well.

Shortly after, Cobra Starship released their first album “While The City Sleeps, We Rule The Streets”, described as a “collection of dance-punk workouts and plaintive electro-pop ballads” by Spin magazine. Despite receiving mixed reviews, the band still continued to take off, signing to Fall Out Boy member Pete Wentz’s label Decaydance Records.

The band's next record “¡Viva La Cobra!” still didn't impress critics, many saying that the group's sound had not evolved enough from their debut. Little did the world know, Cobra Starship was about to change the game completely.

“Good Girls Go Bad” featuring Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl was one of the first singles off of their next album, "Hot Mess." The track blew up in the charts, along with the LP's title track, and both are still somewhat popular today.

This momentum helped power them towards the extreme popularity of "You Make Me Feel...", a single off of their final album. "Night Shades" received many more positive reviews, with the group’s ability to take on a more serious sound and dive deeper into personal experiences becoming evident.

Cobra Starship announced their break up in 2015, but you can still support the band as many of them still work in the music industry. Saporta works as a talent manager for The Artist Group, while Navarro continues to drum in The Summer Set's Brian Dales' band DALES, and Schwartz became a podcast host, which led her to star in the reality show "Vanderpump Rules."

Despite the members parting ways, Cobra Starship will always hold a special place in our hearts. If you're mourning this band or another artist that you believe left the scene too soon, tweet us @lgndsoftmrw; we're always looking for more hidden gems to write about!