Year of the Album — #078
Foster The People – “Torches” (2011, Columbia)
Foster The People’s Torches is a pop album for lovers of in-your-face pop cheese, the kind of unabashed super-singable anthems which build their emphasis through repetition. And since repetition breeds memory, once these songs make it onto a radio station near you, said songs become ubiquitous. Then familiarity breeds contempt; the songs which initially earn your listens due to their initial sense of fun soon wear out their welcome as you hear them played infinitely. It doesn’t take many repetitions of “all the other kids with the pumped up kicks / better run better run faster than my bullet” to wring anything interesting from the song. One dubstep remix too many and you’re left with a pop carcass.
That said, though 2012 is unlikely to remember Mark Foster’s namesake album as much more than an odd novelty, the songs are at least catchy. And the concept of launching what is essentially a “first person shooter” ode almost all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 does lead to some head turning. But as an album Torches comes up short, a fun diversion headlined by disposable pop songs which simply lack a distinct sound the band can call its own. Songs like “Color On The Walls” will live on via advertisements for years to come, outlasting any name recognition Foster may have earned. But the album as a whole will soon be little more than a brief footnote in the “2011 Pop Hits” column.