L.A. natives Foster the People are back with their stellar sophomore effort, aptly titled Supermodel. Over the course of an astounding 45 minutes, front man Mark Foster provides an insightful look at not only his opinion of society, but also himself.
Much different from their debut
album, Torches, the band
toys with darker lyrics and strays from using the happy, poppy synthetic sound
that was extremely prevalent in Torches.
Foster also experiments with his voice on quite a few tracks, such as
"Goats in Trees", where he risks exploring his lower register rather
than using his impressive falsetto as a crutch.
The band could not have chosen a
better song to open the album up with than "Are You What You Want To
Be?". The track provides almost a Moroccan feel from beginning to end.
Listeners can definitely hear how influenced Foster was by other cultures.
"Are You What You Want To Be?" sets the tone for the rest of the
album, and it is most definitely one of the more interesting, dynamic tracks on
Supermodel. It hooks listeners in
as soon as they hear the epic instrumental breakdown that occurs within the
first 30 seconds of the song. This track flows effortlessly right into the
second thought-provoking track, "Ask Yourself", which may inspire
listeners to reconsider their life choices (it certainly did that to me).
The first single off of Supermodel, "Coming of
Age", is almost a Torches throwback: it provides the same sort
of groovy, dance-y feel that fans grew so accustomed to from FTP's debut, which
is perhaps why this track became the album's first single. On its fourth track,
'Nevermind", the album seems to take a chilled-out breather in which Mark
Foster assures you that "you'll always find what you're looking for".
Thanks, Mark. "Nevermind" has a dreamy guitar riff that just makes
the listener feel cool.
Ah yes. "Pseudologia
Fantastica". This track might quite possibly be the highlight of Supermodel. The instrumentation
on this track is absolutely stellar: from every drumbeat to the beautiful piano
breakdown to the gripping guitar riffs, the listener is engaged for every
second of the song. To top it all off, Foster brings his A-game with his lyrics
on this track. The song has a very psychedelic feel that carries on for the
entirety of the song, leading the listener to the haunting 30-second "The
Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones", a track used as a bridge that connects one
half of the album to the next.
Right from its snappy bass line,
"Best Friend" shows itself to be a potential smash hit. Foster the
People goes back to its Torches
roots on this track as it is more synth-focused. The track sounds undeniably
happy, yet the lyrics might hold a darker meaning that may go unnoticed at
first. Could "Best Friend" be as big as "Pumped Up Kicks"?
Quite possibly. It definitely deserves to be.
Following "Best Friend"
is "A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon". This dynamic track
seems to be where Foster releases all of his rage at society, as he
progressively gets more aggressive as the song goes on. Towards the end of the
track, the song trades in its angry feel for a more whimsical, wistful one. Due
to its drastic change partway through the song, "A Beginner's Guide"
is one of the more dynamic songs on the album that will keep bringing listeners
back for more.
Supermodel seems to run out of energy for
its last three tracks, though that is not necessarily a negative thing. Foster
completely strips himself down, so to speak, and lets listeners understand who
he truly is. Foster's voice is beautiful yet almost delicately vulnerable in
these last three tracks as he completely exposes himself to his fans. He sings
about his troubling drug addiction in "Goats in Trees", a moody song
that accents just how impressive his vocal range is. The track almost takes on
a Radiohead-esque feel as Foster hauntingly sings " the numbness was
getting closer, the feverish days upon you".
The next track, appropriately
titled "The Truth", provides a personal insight into Foster's
character. It takes a lot of guts to write a song about yourself and put it on
an album that hundreds of thousands of people are going to listen to, and
thankfully for Foster the People's fans, Foster was brave enough to put
"The Truth" on the album. If he did not, fans would have been missing
out on a truly phenomenal song.
The album comes to a slow,
acoustic finish with "Fire Escape", a song about Foster's life in Los
Angeles. In this track, Foster's melodic voice takes centre-stage, and it is
the main focus of the song.
Though it might have been better
if Supermodel had spread out its
three slowest, saddest tracks throughout the album instead of putting them one
after the other, Supermodel is an
amazing sophomore album that deserves all the attention that is coming its way.
Supermodel shows off Foster the
People's coming of age as a band, and it shows off just how mature they have
gotten within the past few years.
"But I think it is one of
those moments that I feel like a second record is defining for a band, because
that's when your fans decide whether they trust you or not", admits Mark
Foster on his second album jitters. Oh Mark. You have nothing to worry about.
After this stunning effort, how can any of your fans lose trust in you?