Supermodel Review

artist: Foster the People date: 03/31/2014 category: compact discs
Foster the People: Supermodel
Released: Mar 18, 2014
Genre: Indie Pop, Alternative Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
Label: Columbia
Number Of Tracks: 11
A concept album based around consumerism and capitalism at its darkest, it also shows the band taking a step back from electronic music trying to find a more organic sound.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (2) pictures (1) 4 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7
Supermodel Featured review by: UG Team, on march 19, 2014
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: At this point, probably a large majority of everybody in the world has heard the track "Pumped Up Kicks," and if not the full song, then a clip for a commercial. When Foster The People released their single "Pumped Up Kicks" or their debut album shortly after, "Torches," they pretty much had instant international success. The main creative force behind Foster The People, Mark Foster, originally worked writing commercial jingles before breaking through with Foster The People, making it no surprise that almost every song from his debut album was commercially licensed for commercials and TV shows. Regardless of the very commercial nature of the music, "Pumped Up Kicks" is a seriously catchy tune. Now, just a few short years later, Mark Foster is bringing us a concept album about how jacked up commercialism, consumerism, and capitalism are. There are 11 tracks on the album with a runtime of just under 48 minutes. There have been 3 singles released from the album: "Coming of Age" in January, "Pseudologia Fantastica" in February, and "Best Friend" in early March. Mark Foster has stated in interviews that he has made an attempt to make a more organic album, using less electronic elements and more real instrumentation. 

The album opens with the track "Are You What You Want to Be?," which begs the question is Mark Foster having some type of identity crisis? The vocals, percussion, and bassline have an almost Caribbean vibe to them. Next up is "Ask Yourself," which is an acoustic driven track, uses handclaps as one of the primary percussion instruments on the track and has a laidback feel to it. Next up is "Coming of Age," which is also the first single from the album. It is definitely a finely crafted pop song. "Nevermind" is another acoustic guitar driven song, with a vocal chorus performing the actual song hook, and containing a very sing-able guitar solo melody. The second single, "Pseudologia Fantastica," is up next and it is all about vibe. "The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones" is a very short track that is just a choir singing a melody for roughly 30 seconds. "Best Friend" is next, which was the third single from the album, and is a heavily funk-influenced track. "A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon," which is one of the most "electronic" songs on the album with some heavy processing being a key part of the track's overall sound. "Goats in Trees" is essentially an acoustic guitar and a voice, but with some sneaky processing to create some interesting effects for the track, and a lot of wordless hum-singing going on. "The Truth" is another of the more "electronic" sounding tracks from the album, but it somehow still comes out sounding like one of the "cleanest" tracks on the album to my ears. The album closes out with the track "Fire Escape," which is a much more "laid back"' track than the rest of the album, with a very relaxed and slightly melancholy vibe. // 7

Lyrics: Mark Foster is a sufficient vocalist, though his main strength seems to lie more in crafting really solid pop songs than the actual vocal performances. Paul Epworth, Rich Costey, and Greg Kurstin - who had helped produce Foster The People's debut, also helped with the writing and production on "Supermodel." Backing vocals were provided by Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius, who are essentially the other 2/3rds of Foster The People. As a sample of the lyrics from the album, here are some lyrics from the single, "Best Friend": "When your best friends are strung out/ you'll do everything you can/ cause you're never gonna let it get em down/ when you find it all around/ yeah it comes in waves/ but it's hardest from the start/ feeling sleeping in the field again/ oh I can feel, I can feel/ I can feel, it's beginning to end/ Yeah, premonition smiling in the dark/ oh, I can see, I can see/ I can see the story starting to arc." // 7

Overall Impression: Essentially, Mark Foster is a pop musician who seems to wish he was making something a little more edgy, but isn't actually willing or able to cross the line into making something that is actually anti-pop, or truly rebellious. This isn't a bad thing, as he does craft some of the most finely crafted pop songs being released today but he will have to find some peace with what he does being commercially driven, or he will have to make some substantial changes to what he's doing. My favorite tracks from the album are probably "Best Friend," "The Truth" and "Nevermind." I didn't really dislike any songs on the album, but pop music will never be my favorite genre. For what it is, Foster The People seem to be very good at what they do. // 7

- Brandon East (c) 2014

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overall: 10
Supermodel Reviewed by: jfxion92, on march 31, 2014
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Following up the critically-acclaimed and much beloved "Torches" seemed an almost insurmountable task for the incredibly talented Mark Foster and his partners in crime. When I listened to "Torches" all the way through for the first time, I was absolutely in love and waited with bated breath to hear something new come from this breath of fresh air in the music industry. When I first heard news of Foster the People's newest album being "more organic" I wondered, both worried and excited, what the result would turn out to be. I was not disappointed when I listened to "Supermodel." From slinky, fast-paced funk songs like "Best Friend" to the supercharged, angst-fueled track "A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon" all the way down to the catchy and beautifully crafted "Coming of Age" and the mellow, sweet tones, invoking both pain and hope, of "Nevermind," this album, through and through, was one of the most solid works of art I have heard all year. Foster the People knocks it out of the ballpark with this album, ranging from all emotions and genres, and tearing through them with the grace of razor-sharp scissors through paper. The album was wonderfully produced where you can hear, recognize, and appreciate every single subtle undertone in each track, and all of the instruments hit you with their own individual force, yet meld together in complete united synchronicity. A masterpiece of an album, best of 2014 to date. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics for this album are catchy and well sung by lead singer and creative mind hive Mark Foster. The lyrics range in depth from song to song, some being somewhat absurd, but memorable, and some just being downright emotionally heart-wrenching. Mark Foster reportedly stated that the album was a concept based on modern-day consumerism and the ugly-underbelly of conglomerate Hollywood, and does a good job accentuating his views on what Beverly Hills projects as successful and how the public responds to this, thus the album name "Supermodel" derives itself from, Foster saying that people live their lives based on "likes" and "retweets" and how everyone poses as a "supermodel" to impress people they don't even know. Mark Foster himself shows a much wider range of his vocal finesse throughout the album, from his trademark upper-middle register, to falsetto, and on some very melodic and beautifully sung songs, you'll be able to catch a low register that is very unlike Foster, but suits him well in the strangest, but best of ways. Kudos to Foster for being one of my personal vocal Gods, with this album only standing to reinforce my point. // 10

Overall Impression: Foster the People have always been commercially driven, we all know we've heard a slew of their songs from "Torches" played relentlessly on a wide array of different radio stations. With this album, they've taken one foot out of the box of creativity and left one foot in, saying not that they're trying to play it safe, but that they've grown into such a powerful force in the music industry of today, that they're allowing themselves to branch out and explore while still keeping their pop roots, and the product is a masterpiece deluxe, with no track to find lacking. My favorite songs personally are "Ask Yourself," "Nevermind," "Coming of Age," "Best Friend," "A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon," and "Goats in Trees," definitely the high points of the whole thing, although, there are no low points to find, so there's no troubles there. I love this album and am absolutely obsessed with it, it playing in my car everytime I drive and playing on my laptop everytime I'm home, the only thing I hate is that I'll have to wait for another Foster the People album to come out probably sometime in the next two years. But for now, I have "Torches" and now "Supermodel" to remind me why these guys are one of my favorite bands of all time, and God forbid I ever somehow lose this album, because I guarantee you, I would lose my mind if I couldn't get it back. This album is a definite for your respective playlists, and if you were worried like I was that just because the songs aren't all electronic and super-poppy, shove-it-in-your-face catchy, don't be. Where this album lacks the commercially-driven SUPER radio hits that "Torches" held, it makes up for it and more with the level of depth and attention paid to each track. // 10

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