Podcast: Our Favorite Summer Soundtracks

Summer is almost over! What better way to hold onto the season than to reminisce on our favorite summer soundtracks. Kyle Schultz and Nadia Paiva join Kiel Hauck to break down some of their favorite albums to spin during summer and discuss what makes for great summer music. As follow-up on our Summer Soundtracks series, the trio chat about great releases from bands like Cobra Starship, Lydia, Jimmy Eat World, Paramore, and much more. Listen in!

Subscribe to our podcast here.

What are your favorite albums to listen to during the summer season? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Advertisements

Summer Soundtracks: Cobra Starship – ¡Viva la Cobra!

I’ve often said that autumn is my favorite season for music, with so many albums in my collection deeply associated with zip-up hoodies, campfire crackles, crunching leaves, and cigarette smoke inside gritty venues. Even so, every single summer, I find myself drawn to the albums that have defined the warmest of seasons in my life. Thus, I decided it was worth my time to start a series that highlights my favorite soundtracks to summer.

***

Like most people, I first heard Cobra Starship while inside a movie theater. Also like most, I assumed that the “Snakes on a Plane” post-credits music video for “Bring It” was a one-off joke track featuring a stacked lineup of scene stars. By the time While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets dropped later in 2006, I remember a flicker of curiosity, but my prevailing reaction was one of indifference.

You can buy ¡Viva la Cobra! on Apple Music.

With that in mind, it’s hard for me to remember how I came to fall in love with ¡Viva la Cobra!, the first full band release from Cobra Starship. To my memory, there wasn’t a standout track that pulled me in. Nevertheless, the album ruled the summer of 2008, rarely leaving my car’s CD player. The highlight of that summer came while standing near the front of the main stage at the Vans Warped Tour as Gabe Saporta strutted back and forth and Elisa Schwartz rocked out on keytar.

I vividly remember smiling wide and singing along with those around me before losing my mind when William Beckett came on stage to perform “Bring It” with the group that day in Cincinnati. I remember buying a purple, hot pink, and neon green Cobra Starship shirt at Hot Topic and wearing it at least once a week throughout the summer. I remember driving around Louisville at dusk, playing tracks like “Angie” and “Kiss My Sass” on repeat.

Oftentimes, these nostalgic memories are shared en masse as songs of summer impact millions of music listeners, creating a collective moment. However, ¡Viva la Cobra! was far from a smash, as Saporta would experience a greater fame with hit singles on later albums. To be honest, none of my friends listened to Cobra Starship in 2008, making this random sophomore effort all the more personal.

The album itself is sultry and danceable, but is a tongue-in-cheek end-of-the-world “party” built atop somewhat satirical electro pop songs pumped full of scene cred. It’s the kind of album only a select group of listeners could truly “get,” making it even more niche and peculiar. Saporta wouldn’t lean fully into cranked up club pop until Hot Mess and Night Shades, realizing the opportunity that this groundwork had provided him. At least for 2008, Saporta was still winking at the camera with the same smirk he flashed before the screen went black during “Snakes on a Plane”.

During a time when a younger version of myself was enraptured with metalcore, regularly blasting the likes of Underoath and The Devil Wears Prada, ¡Viva la Cobra! was a reprieve from the breakdowns and raging guitars. How can you not roll down the windows and belt the chorus to “Smile for the Paparazzi” or bounce to the beat of “My Moves are White (White Hot, That Is)”? ¡Viva la Cobra! is a crash landing of pop bliss and emo influence that still stands as an oddly satisfying experience.

My interest in Cobra Starship was fleeting – I never owned another album before the group disbanded, and I return only to ¡Viva la Cobra! when the temperatures rise and I’m in the mood to move. It reminds me of a time when I was willing to privately expand my musical palate and begin to explore my love of pop music, even if I was still holding some resistance. Most of all, it reminds me carefree summer nights – the ones I still chase even as they become rarer and rarer.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

10 Classic Music Videos Turning 10 in 2016

underoath-writing-on-the-walls1

Though some may say the art of the music video died with the demise of MTV, we know better. Just take a look at some of the view stats on your favorite videos on YouTube – the art form is alive and well, and with the continued success of online streaming, is still serving as an introduction to some of our favorite bands.

It’s funny how the visuals from a great music video can stick with you years after the fact, popping into your head each time the song comes on. Just as we did last year, we wanted to take a look back at some of our favorite music videos that came out a decade ago. We remember the videos below playing seemingly on the hour on Fuse and waiting 30 minutes to watch a pixelated stream of the videos online. Ten years have passed, but the nostalgia of these clips lives on…

Underoath – “Writing on the Walls”

Directed by Swedish film company Popcore, “Writing on the Walls” immediately became an MTV2 staple and helped launch the band’s powerful Define the Great Line into the stratosphere. The video is a wild murder mystery set in a life-size doll house and would eventually be nominated for a Grammy award. Spencer Chamberlain’s literal in-your-face screams during the song’s crushing conclusion will still send chills down your spine.

Taking Back Sunday – “MakeDamnSure”

Speaking of songs that launched band’s to crossover stardom, “MakeDamnSure” served as Taking Back Sunday’s massive breakthrough, thanks in part to this incredible video. Trapped in a wind tunnel, the band sings atop artistic glimpses of tragic scenes turned beautiful with plenty of Adam Lazzara mic swings thrown in for good measure.

Cute is What We Aim For – “The Curse of Curves”

“The Curse of Curves” serves as a poignant reminder of what could have been. Cute is What We Aim For appeared destined to follow in the shoes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco with their emo-drenched debut single, coupled with this video of a dishonest dinner party. Though the band may have not achieved the breakthrough everyone expected, lead singer Shaant Hacikyan’s haircut lives on in infamy.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – “Face Down”

Another breakout single, “Face Down” introduced the world to The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. “Face Down” tells the story of an abusive relationship and the battle to walk away. We’re still not totally sure how they got all of that furniture to fly through the air. Ah, the magic of cinema…

Gym Class Heroes – “Cupid’s Chokehold”

Another year, another Fueled By Ramen breakout. Gym Class Heroes made waves on the radio and television alike with “Cupid’s Chokehold”, featuring Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump. The video is as amusing as it is visually pleasing, telling the story of Travie McCoy’s search for that perfect girl, which turns out to be…Katy Perry. Too bad things didn’t work out.

Saosin – “Voices”

Would Saosin lose their edge with their debut full length and a new lead singer? Not after hearing the opening riffs of “Voices”. The song’s chaos is matched with inter-relationship and family fights and struggles, but there is peace to be found. As the song comes to its powerful close, the parties involved all make a decision to fight for peace.

Boys Like Girls – “The Great Escape”

Try to watch this video and not time travel back to 2006. The video for Boys Like Girls’ breakout single finds the story of the band on tour juxtaposed with some dedicated fans’ road trip to witness the performance. It’s the perfect summer anthem and the video captures the mood with brilliance.

Yellowcard – “Rough Landing, Holly”

There’s a good chance that “Rough Landing, Holly” is the most underappreciated pop punk video of all time. A spiritual successor to “Ocean Avenue”, director Marc Webb shows Ryan Key on the run. From what, we’re not sure, but in this universe, windows open into manholes and people can climb out of sinks. Pretty weird. And cool.

Cobra Starship – “Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)”

What a way for Gabe Saporta to make his first splash into the pop rock world. “Bring It” was attached to the end of the movie from which it was inspired, offering a laugh to movie-goers who stayed past the credits. For all of the silliness to be found in this song and video, it’s still exciting to see Saporta, Travie McCoy, William Beckett and Maja Ivarsson share the screen together.

Evanescence – “Call Me When You’re Sober”

After a prolonged absence following their breakthrough debut album, Fallen, Evanescence returned with the explosive “Call Me When You’re Sober”. It’s an over the top arena rock number highlighted by this video, featuring Amy Lee acting as a scorned Red Riding Hood, complete with wolves and levitational powers. Stay out of her way.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.