Foster the People – “Are You What You Want to Be?”

I can hear you now: “Oh, Foster the People? Those guys who did ‘Pumped Up Kicks?’ I loved that song!”

Yeah, that Foster the People, the L.A. indie pop group headed up by Mark Foster who blew up with their incredibly catchy, surprisingly dark 2010 single, “Pumped Up Kicks,” second to only 3rd Eye Blind‘s classic “Semi-Charmed Life” as the best and most catchiest song that will make you feel bad once you discover what the lyrics are actually about. That’s them. Anyhow, yeah, that song was good, but you DO know they have others, right?

Right. Well, while many wrote Foster the People off as something of a one-hit-wonder after that aforementioned track off their pretty solid 2011 debut, Torches, the band kept on, and delivered their sophomore album, Supermodel, in early 2014.

A concept record about the perils of consumerism and the crushing lows of modern pop culture, Supermodel caught my ear on release, and made me look at the group as more than just a flash in the pan. The songs are catchy, energetic, and even little a bit thoughtful (well, as thoughtful as a mainstream pop listen can be), and listening to the album in a first time in a while I’m amazed at just how consistent the record is. There’s more than a few headnodders here. Despite being hyped up by Foster for its grandiose concept and aim, it’s not the deepest record, but it damn sure is an enjoyable one, and deserved a bit more shine than the mixed reviews and middling sales it got on release.

The opener, “Are You What You Want to Be?” absolutely shines, and convinced me to write this post. It’s an anthemic listen, a wild rush of an experience. I love the song’s hurried pace, the chanting background vocals, and rising and falling of the beat. It’s bold and adventurous, and that explosive climax towards the end legit gets me hyped. It’s a really fun listen, all told.