Foster The People’s recent promotion campaign was quite a thing, to put it lightly. It took several graffiti art groups 16 days of 12 hours working per day to make the mural that would reveal the artwork of the new album. The album release was preceded by three singles within three months and a number of YouTube mini-documentaries on the production process of Supermodel. Now that it has finally arrived, it is time for a good old-fashioned track-by-track analysis.
Are You What You Want To Be? - No matter how hard they try to make every song sound different, every song is a Foster The People-song instantly. This one is no exception. Are You What You Want To Be kicks off with a grand, repetitive na-na-na-na-na and then gets a thick layer of salsa music over it. This is that song that will make the festival crowds jump in ecstasy.
Ask Yourself - A not so special indie pop tune. Never does it get truly exciting, yet never does it get overly superfluous. A typical album track.
Coming Of Age - This must be the Pumped Up Kicks of Supermodel. It breathes the spring, it’s catchy as hell and it’s a great one for the charts. A very cleverly constructed pop song.
Nevermind - This is the best thing so far on the album. It introduces the promised guitar to the work of Foster The People and it’s an acoustic one. Nevermind starts off as a bit of a misfit, calm and bluesy as it is, but as soon as the reverb comes in, it’s undoubtedly a Foster The People-song.
Pseudologia Fantastica - And again we are overwhelmed by synthesizers, keys and sound effects. Delicious. Pseudologia Fantastica is distinctive for the theme of Supermodel: the ugly side of consumerism and capitalism combined with the personal issues of singer Mark Foster.
The Angelic Welcome Of Mr. Jones - A heavenly interlude which has several layers of backing vocals, lead by Mark Foster, singing peacefully. C’est tout.
Best Friend - This song and especially the chorus must have been made as an alternative party anthem, but even now, Foster The People just doesn’t give in on quality and originality. Best Friend distinguishes itself from the other songs on the album by its heavy bass and prominent percussion. I just noticed.
A Beginner’s Guide To Destroying The Moon - A little playing with computer sounds is fluently followed by a heavy guitar. So this is what it sounds like when Foster The People flirts with hard rock. It even has an epic guitar solo. Wouldn’t be misplaced in a stadium. And still. There is that Foster The People-sound.
Goats In Trees - Admit it, this is the song you’ve been looking most forward to: Goats In Trees. This feeling is completely justified, though this track is probably not completely what you expected after having heard the title. Of all these instant Foster The People-songs, this one is the least recognizable. It is a bare, acoustic ballad with sporadic sound effects and few unexpected turns. But that is probably the intensity of the song.
The Truth - Unlike many big releases nowadays, Supermodel only gets better when nearing the end. The Truth is another ‘different’ song. It is more serious in tone and alternates minimal rhythm with top-notch soundscapes.
Fire Escape - Wow, wait, what? Another guitar ballad? And this one barely has any decorations of any kind at all. Yet, not in any way is this a dull track. We now know what makes a Foster The People-song a Foster The People-song. It is that oh-so recognizable, phenomenal voice of Mark Foster. Magnificent.
And that’s it for Foster The People’s second album. The band has made and still makes a lot of radio-friendly songs that are equally effective on their own. Still, and that really applies for Supermodel, you should play the entire record from beginning to end to hear the originality and integrity these guys from California have put in the last four or five tracks.
Note: This track-by-track analysis was written during a first listen. It is therefore completely objective and not always as coherent as I like my articles to be. Thanks!