I decided to do a track by track review of Foster the People’s new album “Supermodel”. I am typing all of these as I listen, so if I say a song is my favorite off the album so far, then just read on. I don’t know what else is on it. I will prelude this with that I loved the first album for what it was.
1. “Are You What You Want to Be?” (B)
2. “Ask Yourself” (B+)
The beginning of this track was a surprise. Instead of hearing a strong synth beat, the song his introduced with an acoustic guitar and I actually really liked it. It’s closer to a rock song, complete with an electric guitar break, than anything on Torches. It’s very catchy and is a departure from the traditional pop song structure that many of their songs follow.
3. “Coming of Age” (A-)
This was their lead single off the album and instantly made me worried for this outing by them. It’s an odd mix of their electronic sound mixed with a strong percussions and and electric guitar. Listening to it a second time after listening to the first two songs gave me a different perspective. I actually really like it. It’s a low key song that you can move to (kind of how “Pumped up Kicks” was subdued, but danceable). The point I fell in love with the song is the piano break, it’s just a really catchy melody.
Again with the guitar. This is something that I would have never expected from Foster. It’s a slower really solidly written rock song with something that most of their songs on Vessel were lacking, meaningful lyrics. It’s soulful, slightly psychedelic, and so far my favorite song off the album.
5. “Pseudologia Fantastica” (B+)
Another surprising song. It sounds nothing like anything they have done before. It’s a synth rock song, that’s trippy with its lo-fi recording and odd mixing. The song itself is nothing to marvel at, but it was carefully produced. It kind of makes me want to roll a joint and just chill.
6. “The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones” (A-)
I think I’m slowly falling in love with this album. This song started off with a choral interlude that matched the title, but then broke into this disco song with a funk bass line. It’s just so damn good and infectious, that’s really all.
7. “Best Friend” (B-)
This is the first song of the album that I didn’t really like. It’s an odd mix of rock and electronic that didn’t really work. Foster kept on switching between his usual falsetto voice and this odd deep register that just came off as creepy. Wasn’t a fan. I liked that they are trying to be a little darker, not to say that “Pumped Up Kids” wasn’t dark”, but this has a darker sound. It pulled together in the final verse, but it’s a little too far of a deviation for me.
8. “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon” (A+)
Hands down favorite song of the album, so far. It’s a folk like song, that’s mixed with a dark rock tone. Foster sounds great on the track, it’s so stripped down compared to the rest of their songs. Lyrically it’s so deep and just such a wonderfully melancholy song.
9. “Goats in Trees” (A)
It’s a slow psych pop sound that is done so well and Foster has been killing it with his lower range. I can’t really say much other than it’s a great song. It has such a great beat, but it’s melody really drives the song. Again, it is so lyrically dark, but poetic. They have really matured and found this great refined sound.
10. “Fire Escape” (A+)
Another stripped down acoustic guitar dark song. It’s so dark and beautiful. It reminds me a lot of Death Cab for Cutie, particularly their earlier albums. It’s absolutely haunting and is so well-produced and performed. It sounds like a singer-songwriter sitting on a stool in a dark and smokey cafe. Absolutely beautiful.
11. “Tabloid Super Junkie” (A-)
After that brief interlude of awesome melancholia, they come pack to a really great pop song that sounds so familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it. Either way it’s a great end to the album.
At first, I was impressed, but also unimpressed with the first half. That second half though, was just singularly an amazing feat by the band. It was such a far departure from their original sound, but it’s so refined, pure, and mature. Overall I’d give it an A-. Without that second half it probably would have ended up with a B/B+, but I can’t ignore the craftsmanship of tracks 8-11. For once a band actually improved in its sophomore outing.