Foster the People were in danger of becoming a one hit wonder following their hit single Pumped Up Kicks which was the soundtrack to the summer of 2011. The pressure was on them to deliver on their next album.
For Supermodel, the trio of Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius decided to leave their feel-good, bubbly pop hits behind and go for something a bit stronger and more raucous. The album delivers the same surprisingly dark messages that their first album Torches did (Pumped Up Kicks was about a school shooting, despite its peppy appearance), and this time the music may suit those themes a bit more.
The album’s lead single ‘Coming of Age’ has the vibe of a generational anthem, and an appropriate title too. Its chorus is as catchy as anything they’ve written before, but it lacks the adhesive quality you wish it had. Foster said when writing this album that he wasn’t looking to write hits, and I’m afraid that he succeeded.
That’s not to say Supermodel isn’t a good album though. It features some great work on songs like ‘Best Friend’, ‘Are You What You Want To Be’ and ‘Fire Escape’, but the ethereal groove of their debut LP isn’t there.
Supermodel is an album trying to make a statement. Foster the People are artists, not just hit makers. That will be pleasing to themselves and their fans.
Rolling Stone called the album Imagine Dragons without the imagination and Passion Pit without the passion. I can only disagree. There is clearly passion in Foster the People’s work and the step away from their pop foundations gives Supermodel a pedestal of its own, though it might be on its own for a while.