Make no mistake, I’m a huge fan of Foster the People. So when I found out their sophomore album, Supermodel, was on the horizon, I was pretty excited. This admittance might make my words hold no value, but let me finish what I have to say, and then make a decision on whether what I’m saying is of importance.
“Coming of Age,” the lead single off the album, was great. It felt like they picked up right where they left off with their debut album, Torches. Then, “Pseudologia Fantastica” was released, followed shortly after by “Best Friend.” I wasn’t really too impressed with the former, but I could tell the latter would be one of the best songs on the album already.
Fast-forward to the entire album release.
I’ll be the first to admit I was a little disappointed. By holding Supermodel up to Torches standards, I set myself up for disaster. Their debut album was a masterpiece, and it would have been pretty much impossible to top.
That being said, I love the new album.
I should point out that one of the reasons I’m writing this is sort of in response to the Rolling Stone review of the album, and how the author used 100 big words that nobody cares to read or understand to poorly compare the entire album to the one song, “Pumped Up Kicks.” I’m not even going to link the article, to deter the author from getting his page hit goal.
First of all, you cannot compare an entire album to one song IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. You would never normally do it, so why here? It makes no sense.
Second of all, Foster the People really have something going here. The songs they released as singles, in addition to “Are You What You Want to Be?” and “Ask Yourself” are all signature Foster the People. “Nevermind,” “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon,” and “The Truth” are all also notable mentions.
But, as a whole, the band has seemed to stray away from the strange synth and sounds felt so heavily on Torches. You can especially notice a difference with the last three or four songs. The songs aren’t really conventional, but they aren’t totally bizarre either, unlike some of the other sounds you hear on Torches.
As well, the album does seem to tail off from what I expected towards the end. These songs feel like filler to me.
But, how fitting is the title of Supermodel? Well, it really isn’t, but I started to think about it a bit more. Turns out, it makes a lot more sense to me (and I’m sure they didn’t intend it this way, but here it goes).
Torches was an absolutely beautiful collection of songs. Dropping anything but a masterpiece seemed unacceptable for a lot of fans. I think the members of the band realized this, naming their new album Supermodel. A supermodel is often looked to as an unattainable dream; people look at supermodels with desire and envy, but some realize their limitations and accept that they may never live up to what’s expected of them.
Just like a supermodel, Foster the People were held to an impossible standard that even they couldn’t live up to. Supermodel deserves a whole bunch of credit for having a bounty of great songs spread throughout, but in the end they knew the album couldn’t live up to the hype Torches had surrounding it. They named their newest record Supermodel to represent the impossible standard they were asked to live up to, and how despite their attempts, seems rather difficult to achieve.
Or, they could have just liked the name and I’m just making stuff up. Who knows.
In any case, this album deserves a pickup. Despite its criticisms, it’s one of the best sophomore albums I’ve heard in a long time, and there’s a lot of really great stuff worth listening to on there. And for the last time, please don’t listen to Rolling Stone, even though it’s damn near impossible with all of the abnormally large words they use to make themselves sound sophisticated.
ADVICE: Go back and listen to Torches straight through, and let the song “Warrant” lead right into the first track of Supermodel. It’s seamless.