Some say the sophomore slump is an uphill battle; for Mark Foster of Foster the People, the making of their new album Supermodel definitely was. The pressure is not undue–“Pumped Up Kicks” virtually launched the band into the mainstream and their debut album, Torches was chalk full of Californian, synth-pop tunes that helped the trio’s album sell over one million copies.

Though Supermodel takes a slight departure from what fans came to love about the Californian band,  a few of the standout tracks prove why Foster The People were successful in the first place. Heavily inspired by his stint in Morocco (where he began producing the album), Foster describes their sophomore effort as a “vulnerable record.” Naturally, Foster The People chose “Coming of Age” to be their first single off the record, and rightfully so; it is the song that is the most reminiscent of the Foster sound.

Overall, the album is experimental and not a cookie cutter copy of  Torches, but it’s hooks and Mark Foster’s distinctive voice still lends itself to be loved by indie music fans. Starting with “Are You What You Want To Be” and ending with “Fire Escape,” Supermodel takes the listener through an introspective journey. To liken this record to a literary gem (Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird), “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

1. Are You What You Want To Be -The album starts off with this heavy banger, which also happens to be a instrospective existential crisis.
2. Ask Yourself – This guitar driven track is a total departure from songs like “Houdini” from Torches, but Foster’s voice and lyrics help you remember that this is Foster the People.
3. Coming Of Age – Catchy hooks make this song a standout in the record; unsurprisingly, Foster The People chose this to be their first radio single off the record.

4. Nevermind – This track starts and ends with the same guitar riff with lots of percussive elements; it almost sounds like a track that would be playing in the back of your head if you were walking across the desert. (Moroccan inspiration perhaps?)
5. Pseudologia Fantastica – This psychedelic track showcases Foster’s trademark falsetto voice and also incorporates cosmic sounds that make this track sound like it’s from another dimension.
6. The Angelic Welcome Of Mr. Jones – The token interlude track…
7. Best Friend – This tune is another standout among the Supermodel pack, like “Coming of Age,” it is also reminiscent of Torches, and would be a great second single off the album. The song is filled with dark but intricate lyrics about “best friends” being hooked on drugs.
8. A Beginners Guide To Destroying The Moon – Perhaps the most grungy Foster has ever gone; probably my least favorite track off the record.
9. Goats In Trees – One of the most acoustic tracks on the album, Foster yearns “I don’t want to fall apart” and continues on this existential journey of his.
10. The Truth – This track is the most like what you’d expect from Foster’s sophomore record – it’s like a wiser older brother of Torches‘ signature synth-pop sound.
11. Fire Escape – Minimalism is the focus of this slow jam; with a few guitar chords here and there, Foster repeats “save yourself” over and over. After this journey (metaphorically, the album), Foster seems older and wiser,  he personifies fire escape pumping old red paint, and he’s reflecting on old times. Perhaps the track simulates the journey he’s been through over the course of the album, if the tracks were to simulate different stages in his life.
12. Tabloid Super Junkie – I get why it’s the bonus track – while it’s fun, it’s not life changing. It’s also very much like “The Truth” in the sense that it’s what you’d expect from the band that made Torches. Being so incredibly fond of “Fire Escape,” though, that this song kinda detracts from the album for us – it should be “Fire Escape” then nothing more.

– L & J