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Foster The People “Supermodel” Album Review

As those in the music business say, the second album is always the hardest. Foster The People, a Californian indie-rock band, have experienced waves of success the past three years. The trios, made up of front man Mark Foster, Mark Pontius and Cubbie Fink, have made massive strides in the music industry, from pushing the boundaries of typical music genres to hosting free performances across the US. Their first album, Torches, was released in mid-2011—it would go on to debut as the number eight spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart and earn the guys a Grammy nom the following year. “Pumped Up Kicks”, the single that sparked the band’s success, was played on radio stations across the globe. It seemed that everything the band worked for had finally paid off, and so Foster The People released another album.

As of March 25, 2014, Supermodel’s official US chart number has not been released; however, it has barely graced the top 100 charts in Spanish, Dutch, and Belgian countries. Overall, the album has received reviews ranging from the good, to the bad, to the ugly. While they certainly built up hype by unveiling a mural of the album’s cover art in Los Angeles, California, it seems their success may be short-lived.

The album pushes many boundaries and sounds completely different when compared to Torches. While Torches featured heavy synth beats with catchy melodies and fun guitar riffs, Supermodel throws this all out the window. With certain songs like “Are You Where You Want To Be?”, “Pseudologia Fantastica” and “Goats in Trees”, Foster The People use psychedelic influences to mix with heavy guitar riffs. The indie-rock trio transformed their sound, adding grungier sounds on songs like “Nevermind” and “The Truth”—both which could have been featured on a Nirvana album.

Torches’ breakout hit “Pumped Up Kicks” was successful because of Foster’s commentary on school shootings, something that everyone had an opinion on at the time. The track “Best Friends” from Supermodel tries to recreate the highlighting of social issues, teen drug use, yet the message is lost between the changing melodies and distracting synths.

Overall, the album is definitely Foster The People’s way of expressing their confusion—each song is so different from the other, you can practically hear the band asking, “What even is this album?” The best song on Supermodel, by far, is the first single “Coming of Age”. This is the only song that’s remotely similar to the band’s sound on the first album; it’s catchy, well written and easy to dance to. The trio is performing at the Coachella Music Festival in California in April, so let’s cross our fingers that the live performances of Supermodel bring back the band’s enthusiasm that made them so great in the first place. 

Photo credit: fosterthepeople.com

Gabriella Salazar is a junior at American University studying Public Communication and Marketing. She hails from sunny, sunny Los Angeles, California and her proudest moment is meeting Ryan Gosling at the Gangster Squad Premier in January 2013. She's a lover of ballet, wheat thins, food, music and cats; a hater of all things dumb and annoying--like traffic.
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