I’m so glad Foster the People finally came out with their second album. So glad because I can finally be one of those editorial writers who sits on a comfy velvet chair in an ivory tower and yell down, “Sell-outs! Your music was so much better before!” and then twist my metaphorical handlebar mustache scathingly.
Even from the title— Supermodel —you can tell that the band has drunk a little too freely from the dangerous cup of pomp and circumstance. It’s as if they’ve dedicated their album to the beautiful succubae that they have allowed to drain the soul from their music.
Maybe the situation wouldn’t be so bad if their first album hadn’t been so gosh-darn fantastic. When “Pumped-Up Kicks” came out it was everywhere. You couldn’t not escape that song even if you locked yourself in a bulletproof safe thousands of miles from any Gap store. But that wasn’t the cool thing about the song wasn’t it’s ubiquity—unlike almost any pop song in recent memory people were interested in the actual content. It was a macabre disjointed song about the shootings in schools. Foster himself said, “I wrote ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ when I began to read about the growing trend in teenage mental illness. I wanted to understand the psychology behind it because it was foreign to me. It was terrifying how mental illness among youth had skyrocketed in the last decade.” The song actually got people thinking.
Compared with that Foster the People’s latest attempt at a hit—“Coming of Age”– is a pathetic pop whine about how Mark Foster struggles with his own ego in the face of success. Self involved much Foster? As far as the actual music for the song goes the instrumentation is so ridiculously generic as to make me sick with boredom. Heavy bass, dancy synth during the chorus a little fake snare—yadda yadda yadda. What happened to the unexpected noises like the kid laughing in “Helena Beat” or the handclaps or the radio-like voices in “Pumped up Kicks”?
I wish Foster the People hadn’t gotten so doughy. Almost every song on their last album was hit-worthy, some were mournful yet upbeat, but almost every one put images in your head. The only image worthy of mention is the one in the very last song—of prostitutes and pimps at a bus stop. Don’t save the beauty for the last song.
I expect more from you Foster the People. Shape up and give me a hard punch. And don’t take 3 years to give it to me.
Ben Dorfman — formerly known as Mr. Stitcher, Northwestern University’s premier male fashion blogger–was born in Berkeley, CA., but still managed to escape the sixties with only a slight “grass” addiction. He once made a music video about pirates in under three days and wrote a song about lozenges. He also used to run a twitter consisting of only puns, but luckily no one will ever find out about that other than his grandma, his father, and his cat, two of which enjoy puns, two of which enjoy randomly poking at a keyboard and acting like they know what they are doing, and one of which needs to be belly rubbed before nap-time. ( Answers: grandma+dad, grandma+cat, grandma).