There are two types of people in the world. One: those who say they have rocked out to Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” in their cars with the windows down at one point or another. Two: liars. The explosive track, that came out of nowhere about two years ago, took the charts by storm, claimed a Grammy award, and skyrocketed the indie pop group to stardom. Suffice it to say, their breakout success created some pretty enormous shoes (or kicks?) to fill. Cheap jokes aside, Foster The People’s debut album Torches left fans eagerly awaiting a sophomore album that would get them cranking up the volume on their car radios. The wait is over. Foster the People proves, once more, they have the creative ingenuity to craft an album worth paying attention to.
The up-tempo synthesized beats of Torches successfully masked the trick that most of America was singing the story of a murderous child ready to let bullets fly. Supermodel follows suit, demonstrating a worry for the modern world of pop culture, and the corruption that has become a near-certainty with the acquisition of fame and wealth that top-chart musicians are offered. But on this album, the controversial lyrics are harder to ignore than in Foster’s “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Houdini” days.
Many were charmed by the hit’s of Torches because their catchy choruses made it easy to be fooled into happiness and identification with the songs to delve very far into lyrical analysis. Supermodel blurs the lines between musical genres. Pop and electronica influences remain prevalent, but with a step or two in the indie direction. Less synthesizer, more natural sounds of guitar and even some brass give the mainstream group a more alternative feel. While I applaud the slight style shift, the natural sound makes it harder to ignore the underlying stories. This may displease those looking for the feel-good hits FTP offered in 2011. The anger behind the new lyrics isn’t shrouded as well as Foster fans are currently used to.
The 11-track album showcases a shockingly diverse array of genres. Indie fans will be pleased by more quirky and simplified songs like “Goats in Trees”. Electronica supporters will enjoy the gem towards the end of the album, “The Truth” that features outer-space-esque sound effects. Fortunately, not all of the old FTP sound has disappeared. Tracks like “Best Friend” and “Are You What You Want To Be?” feature the same glossy, car-singing sound that Foster fans hunger for. Most of all, Supermodel proves that Foster’s breakout fame was no fluke. They have the musical chops and creative drive to deem this second album a success. Perhaps not Grammy-winning success, but certainly deserving of a few spots on your Spotify playlist.