Album Review: Foster The People
Ever since their first anthem “Pumped up Kicks” went viral in 2010, Foster the People blew up and have taken everyone by surprise. I am not trying to be biased, but they are and have always been one of my all time favorite bands. I saw them live a few summers ago on my sister’s birthday and we literally danced around and sang every single one of their songs the whole show through, and I am not exaggerating when I say they were amazing live! Since the release of ‘Torches’, myself as well as thousands of other Foster the People fans have been patiently awaiting a second album.
‘Supermodel’, released March 14, 2014 is nothing close to an album about the glamorous Hollywood limelight as the title suggests, but that is what makes it even more powerful. Mark Foster was trying to send a message with this one. It is clear that the band has developed their sound since ‘Torches’. ‘Supermodel’ takes on more of an indie rock sound, even a little grungy at times, and feels extremely personal.
The band first released the album single “Coming of Age”, which is a feel good car cruising type track that is about just that. The whole album is a bit of a “growing up” album as Mark Foster has explained in interviews. The band stated that they found a lot of their inspiration while touring the world and wrote most of the album on tour. The interesting thing about this album that makes it different from its ‘Torches’ ancestor is that its tracks have quite a range in terms of musical style. They range from pop heavy and trendy songs such as “Best Friend” (the song on the album that in my opinion is closest to ‘Torches’) to almost psychedelic synth and 90’s grunge (check out “Pseudologia Fantasica” and “Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon”, my personal favorite.) “Nevermind” serves as a catchy relaxed feel good harmonic song about finding yourself, and “Ask Yourself” does the same in a similar fashion.
When I first listened to 'Supermodel', I was thrown off by the change in the sound of the band, but that is to be expected with a second album. I can’t say I was thrown off in a bad or disappointed manner, though. I was more so intrigued and curious about the message of this album which I found to be very compelling and beautiful overall. The first track on the album “Are you What You Want to Be?” has a classic “na na na na” hook that is addicting to say the least, and Mark Foster’s chameleon-like vocals made me think I was listening to Vampire Weekend at first. The album gets even more diverse with the slow emotional ballads “Goats in Trees” and “Firescape” where the lyrics and worn out feeling of the songs make you think and question the meaning of the album. Mark Foster's versatile voice demonstrates not only his falsetto but his deeper range on many of the songs, which was distinct and really cool to hear.
Overall I found this album to be unexpected, but it is a good surprise. It's versatile and different enough to keep you hanging, pleased and curious about what’s in store for Foster the People. Basically, I’m just happy to have my favorite band back.
For Fans Of: Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, MGMT, Capital Cities