Foster the People's 'Supermodel': What the Critics Are Saying
Foster the People was mostly absent from the music scene after touring to support their 2011 debut album, Torches, and taking over radio waves with the dark earworm, "Pumped Up Kicks." But the trio is back on the scene with Supermodel, complete with nods to The Clash, David Bowie and even West African music.
Read what top critics are saying about Supermodel below:
Billboard's Kenneth Partridge noted that Mark Foster "has neither gone punk nor embarked on a world music odyssey, and while there are touches of righteous anger and non-Western beats, Supermodel is mostly an introspective rock album -- a dimmed-down Torches told from the perspective of a guy who's toured himself ragged and emerged with newfound perspective." In his track-by-track review, he pointed out that "Best Friend" feels the most familiar -- "had Foster wanted to trick people into thinking he'd created Torches II, this would have been a great lead single," he writes -- while "A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon" is the trio at their grungiest and "The Truth" has them wiped out and then revived. Altogether, "with Supermodel, [Foster's] goal is not to make you like him, but rather to give you a sense of what it's like to be him. He pulls it off, and he throws in plenty of hooks along the way."
New York Daily News' Jim Farber said that once again, "the new songs from the trio deal with frustrated characters unsure of how to express guilt, defeat and rage," as "Foster isn’t interested in easy songs about love, thwarted or otherwise. He prefers complicated musings on identity, politics and duty." Therefore, "the band’s songs are as dense to listen to as they are to contemplate ... Supermodel lards the sound with more instruments, extra vocal chorales and enough echo to make Phil Spector cry uncle. It’s a cramped sound, embodying the confused notions that crowd the characters’ minds."
Newsday's Glenn Gamboa made it clear that musically, Supermodel is nowhere near "Pumped Up Kicks," but "that's not a failure on Foster the People's part, just their statement of purpose." Because of all the different influences, "they sound more like Vampire Weekend than that band that had everyone singing about outrunning bullets," as "Foster and friends incorporate Afro-pop, new wave and '90s alternative in a variety of combinations through most of the album, maintaining an upbeat but edgy vibe."
SPIN's Garrett Kamps bluntly stated that "the songs suck, which is odd, because the formula has not dramatically changed ... his band's sophomore album feels more like a Girl Talk mix than an original album, mashing up the last few years of chart-friendly alt to wan effect." He continued that the band is simply behind the times," as "commercial alternative rock has changed radically in the last three years."