Throwback Thursday: “Cobrastyle” by Teddybears

If there’s one song that was used in seemingly every mid-’00s movie and TV montage, it would be this one. It’s just so damn catchy, what with the beat that encourages you to clap along and the nonsensical lyrics (what is a “bomdigi” anyway?). “Cobrastyle” is just this side of instrumental, so it’s handy for montages that don’t really need lyrics.

The song features Mad Cobra, a Jamaican dancehall musician. He quasi-raps over that distinctive, sliding-scale beat that kicks up at the chorus. The song is engineered by Teddybears, a Swedish group. I always thought that the Teddybears’ masks were really creepy: they’re exaggerated bears with prominent teeth. It’s in the same vein as Daft Punk or Deadmau5 where the singer or performer is concealed, so all the focus is on the music itself. The contrast between the soft, even cuddly name and the aggressive costuming is intentional; the group started out as a punk and metal band and wanted to stand out from others on the scene.

“Cobrastyle” was covered by fellow Swede Robyn, who deserves a Throwback Thursday all to herself. I listened to her version briefly, but it just doesn’t hit the same way as the Teddybears original: it’s a bit too clean. Part of the appeal of “Cobrastyle” is that it’s rough-edged. The song isn’t muffled, but Mad Cobra’s verses blend into the drum machine, which is at a lower register than most Scandinavian pop songs.

See for yourself: