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Foster the People’s ‘Supermodel’ – Super Album

| Monday, March 24, 2014

Supermodel_Banner_WebErin Rice

“It feels like, feels like I’m coming of age.”

These lyrics ring true in one of Foster the People’s latest songs, “Coming of Age.”  The band’s newest album, “Supermodel,” was released March 18 to high anticipation, and it is an impressive sophomore album.

Foster the People, headed by musician Mark Foster, released their first single, “Pumped Up Kicks,” in 2010. After the song went viral on YouTube, their debut album, “Torches,” was released in May of 2011.  With solid dance-pop beats, “Torches” quickly became an indie-crowd favorite. From there, the popularity of the band skyrocketed, as they racked up Grammy nominations and sold out their tour. Their initial single could still be heard on the radio constantly, and by the time it was just sizzling down, Foster the People was like a ticking bomb ⎯ it was a matter of time before new material and sound would come from them.

Generally speaking, the newest record, as a whole, came at just the right time. The album’s fiery opener, “Are You What You Want To Be?” rockets “Supermodel” right out of the gate, with energetic guitars, drums and a strong vocal backbeat. This track is slightly reminiscent of reggae, but the element is not overpowering. The repetition makes this track one that definitely has the potential to get stuck in your head.

Another unique aspect of this album is the way Foster the People integrates other musical elements into their songs to create freshness in their music. “Pseudologica Fantastica” takes on a dreamlike quality, taking listeners through a ride reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”

Just like their first album, Foster the People propels “Supermodel” along with truly memorable lyrics. This, in my opinion, is one of the band’s greatest strengths: producing a record that is danceable and lighthearted, but not sloppily so. The lyrics have meaning, which takes Foster the People’s experience as a band a step further. “Ask Yourself” questions the path of the dreamer and questions the human existence in general. “And you say that dreamers always get what they desire / Well I’ve found, the more I get, the less I want / Is this the life you’ve been waiting for / Or are you hoping that you’ll be where you want with just a little more?”

The similarity between the two albums from Foster the People is apparent, but the second distinguishes itself in its own way. The sound on this record is mature, but at the same time stays true to Foster the People’s overall essence: Fun, fresh beats collide with lyrics to remember.

There are few tracks on this record that are not exactly weak but are certainly lesser than the others. Granted, “The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones” is the shortest song on the album, and maybe that is why it did not distinguish itself for me among the other songs. “Best Friend” was another that did not resonate with me long enough to stick.

Throughout this album, the spectrum of songs is wide, but not wide enough to be confusing or unnecessary. All of them fit with one another in a way that is both vocally and emotionally pleasing. With “Supermodel,” older fans of Foster the People will hearken back to memories of their first album, while new fans will have plenty of material to hold onto and build upon. I am excited to see what this new album brings to the band overall, and I see this quickly becoming a favorite on my “Top Rated” playlist.  “Supermodel” is a record that I will certainly be keeping around for a while at least until their next single comes out.

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