Foster the People
Supermodel


2.5
average

Review

by Scott M. Baldwin USER (90 Reviews)
March 24th, 2014 | 22 replies | 3,661 views


Release Date: 03/18/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Maturity Album Syndrome" claims yet another victim.

11 of 14 thought this review was well written

A big issue I have with bands like Foster the People is that despite the sheer infectiousness and catchiness of their music, it's very easy for a band like them to become a one trick pony. Exactly why was Torches such a hit? Because it had what it took to get people listening. Catchy beats, infectious choruses, songwriting that isn't particularly deep, and yet it worked for a band like them. Sure, it wasn't quite deep like some would expect, but it showed that the band had what it took to win our hearts. Unfortunately, only two tracks into Supermodel, we've got the gut feeling that this might be the death blow to their credibility. Although. "Ask Yourself" isn't a particularly bad song, and is quite fast-paced and catchy, at the same time, it feels so... weirdly unnatural for a band like them. It sounds like what Flaming Lips would sound like if they lost their sense of direction, and sacrificed their spark for a chance at being in the spotlight. While it's admirable that Foster the People didn't want to make Torches II, much of the last sentence is pretty much what the most accurate way of describing Supermodel is. It seems as if they're sacrificing their spark for a chance to be "big" and what not, by trying to adapt into a "stronger" and more "perfect" sound. And I guess that technically this album might be better than the last, but at the same time, that's exactly what is wrong with it. It's too "perfect" sounding. While the flaws may have been glaringly obvious on their previous album, that is partly what gave the music such character. And while none of the tracks here are particularly terrible, and might be "good" sounding, it strangely simultaneously leaves a lot to be desired.

The reason this is so strange is because Supermodel is something of a loose concept album based around the theme of the perils of capitalism. While the album doesn't have a story connecting the songs, much of the songs are all about how capitalism is driving our generation to corporate cannibalism. And this is pretty much ironic considering that most of the songs reek of "capitalizing on what seems to be 'in' nowadays". The album sees Foster and his group of minions going in several different directions, and the majority of them don't work. And that's sad, because the best moments on the album are when the band dabble in Torches style shanties. Easily one of the best songs on the album is "Best Friend", which could practically be described as "Call It What You Want" on steroids. It sports a pretty funky style and is pretty danceable. In fact, if Foster wanted to trick people into thinking that this would be a sequel to Torches, this would be right up their ally. Funny enough, lead single "Coming of Age" would seem like the song that would have done it, even all the way down to the "oooooooh"so sprinkled throughout the song. It's pretty much sounds like "Helena Beat", but a bit brighter and more upbeat. Sadly, when the band tries to expand their horizons, this is where the album comes up short. The MGMT-esque "Pseudologica Fantastica" is a clear example of this- trying to be original means cashing in on what's the "in" thing nowadays, and while the song isn't particularly bad, it reeks so mightily of try-hard. It even goes so far as to have MGMT's "synthesizer splooging" at full blast present throughout the song. And the sad thing is also that the highlight of the record is the last track- the slow, acoustic "Fire Escape" is what could be considered the real "highlight" of the album, and considering there where numerous other chances the album had a chance to prove itself, it face plants on every one of those attempts. Case in point, "The Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon" which shows the band trying to showcase a more angry side with more "grungy" riffs and angsty lyrics. Problem is, it's as profound as a Paramore tune- which is to say, hardly.

In all honesty, I would like to see where the band goes from here, but the sad thing is, all I can see happening is a potential identity crisis, and a possible breakup. The band branching out to other genres and styles throughout the album is indeed admirable and shows the band maturing in a way none would think possible, but the result of this experimentation is what really drags the album down- with the ideas either trying too hard or coming off as half-baked, it's not quite clear what the band are trying to do here, and the songs lack the sense of energy or vibrancy that the previous album sported. Sure, while Torches relied a bit on formula, the energy and tongue-in-cheekness was still there, and sadly it appears to be gone with this album. While I do want so badly for Foster the People to succeed, it looks as if by the next time they release a record, it will be hard to care about them anymore. Either way, they'll sadly most likely be doomed. Let's hope they manage to prove me wrong.



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user ratings (130)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Green Baron (2.5)
Foster the People's coming of age is both their greatest strength and weakness....

Jared a.k.a Arse a.k.a Shut the fuck up Arse (4.5)
Compared to Torches, Supermodel is more mature, more instrumental, more engaging, and stronger altog...

ajhenreich (4)
Floating on cloud nine, only a few steps away from complete maturity....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheMoonchild
March 23rd 2014



487 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Now I must immediately apologize for the scatterbrained nature of this review- problem is, that's exactly what the experience of listening to this album is like.

slimdaddy
March 23rd 2014



428 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I liked the review, Pos.

" all I can see happening is a potential identity crisis, and a possible breakup."

I saw Foster the People the day they released this album. They played the entire album for the crowd, and played a few of the hits from Torches. I think that this album toned down the vocal performances by Mark Foster, and made them more fun to watch on stage. I don't agree with this approach, but they definitely were able to be more appealing to the crowd while playing these songs. Unfortunately since this generation wants to have a show put on at every concert, I think the music suffered.

Killerhit
March 23rd 2014



5249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

didn't expect this to be front-paged

excellently done

TheMoonchild
March 23rd 2014



487 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I nearly had a heart attack upon seeing the featured!

ArsMoriendi
March 23rd 2014



4244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This review focuses too much on comparisons in my opinion. "Coming of Age" is like "Helena Beat" ? I'm not so sure about that. Also calling "The Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon" grungy just because its heavier is kind of silly.


Other than that, the review is pretty good even If I don't agree with it.

Digging: PJ Harvey - White Chalk

TheMoonchild
March 23rd 2014



487 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Problem is, the tracks on this album are all to easy to compare to others. That's been a flaw that was present in their music since Torches, but at least that album had enough charm to make you overlook it.

Green Baron
March 23rd 2014



20000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There's only been this album since Torches

Digging: Royal Blood - Royal Blood

ArsMoriendi
March 23rd 2014



4244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@TheMoonchild: I saw it more as a complete breakaway from Torches, but okay. A lot of indietronica roots were abandoned for a more alternative rock-like indie.

Though you're right, "Best Friend" is kind of like "Call It What You Want" on steroids.
But that's okay because "Call It What You Want" is the best song from Torches.

Green Baron
March 23rd 2014



20000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I hated Best Friend, my least fav from this

TheMoonchild
March 23rd 2014



487 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ars I share that opinion as well, though Miss You comes close

ArsMoriendi
March 23rd 2014



4244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not going to lie, I loved every single song on the album except "The Truth", "The Truth" was just generic and ruined the flow. That's why I gave it a 4.5 I guess.

skoopy48
March 23rd 2014



1490 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I kinda agree with this

Digging: Let It Happen - Cause Effect

KriegdemKriege
March 23rd 2014



1034 Comments


"Now I must immediately apologize for the scatterbrained nature of this review- problem is, that's exactly what the experience of listening to this album is like."

Stop apologizing for your writing.

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2014



2359 Comments


I find it funny that the negative reviews of this both have 2 negs

Digging: Slash - World On Fire

omnipanzer
March 24th 2014



21446 Comments


"songwriting that isn't particularly deep, and yet it worked for a band like them. Sure, it wasn't quite deep like some would expect,"

A little repetitive.

ZackSh33
March 24th 2014



294 Comments


I liked the review. Pos. Congrats on the front page feature

I've been going back and forth about whether I should listen to this - considering I only liked the radio singles from Torches, I probably won't listen to this one.

unaMUSEd
March 24th 2014



1066 Comments


feels like
feels like it's coming

Digging: Of Mice and Men - The Flood

tmagistrelli
March 24th 2014



718 Comments


I actually have highly enjoyed this. Almost as much as torches. Good review though.

jefflebowski
March 24th 2014



8241 Comments


does it count as second album syndrome if the first one was rubbish too?

Digging: Brian Eno and Karl Hyde - High Life

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2014



15949 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is frustratingly mediocre. Has some brilliant moments but for the most part it isn't nearly as fun, memorable, catchy, or purposeful as the debut.

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth



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