Foster the People branch out with new EP

Many Foster the People fans have waited a long time for new music since their last album ‘Supermodel’ came out in early 2014, and their last single “The Unforeseeable Fate of Mr. Jones,” came out in 2015. On April 27, they finally released a new EP entitled “III.” This included three songs, titled “Doing It for the Money,” “Pay the Man,” and “S.H.C.” ‘III’ is the group’s first recording after the departure of original bassist Cubbie Fink in 2016. These three songs are drawn from the full-length studio album the band is currently in the process of creating, which is set to be released sometime this year.

Established in LA, Foster the People began as an alternative band, and were virtually an overnight success with their first album ‘Torches.’ In this new EP, they both draw from these indie roots, as well as incorporate pop and hip hop influences. This is most likely due to the reception of ‘Supermodel,’ which had not done as well as what was hoped or expected. Although I am fond of their typical alternative rock sound, I can both enjoy it and understand the band’s desire to broaden their audiences.

The first track “Pay the Man,” instantly got me excited about Foster the People’s new music. It is notably different from their other albums, but something drew me to it despite my apprehension towards the dub step beat and sparse rapping. It had an air of happiness and positivity that was really uplifting. Lines similar to that of the chorus, “Say what you love, it’s alright, don’t be afraid to find your light, embrace the day, like night, we hear the fire, we all go wild again, and you have the name, of someone I love, you said, just keep it true, lift up your name, seasons change, you know it’ll never be the same, we’ll see the sun again, before it fades, I just wanna say that I love you,” made me like the song even more. Many speculate the song is about navigating the uncertainty of the world with those you love.

“Doing It for the Money” was not the work of Foster the People alone. OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder co-wrote the song along with band member Mark Foster. This song is very evident of a hip hop and rap influence, as it features a bass-heavy beat and rhythmic spoken word. The lyrics refer to living life to the fullest and being driven by experiences, whether positive or negative, as opposed to money. Foster sings: “We live our lives, yeah, we’re not wasting time, baby, we lost our minds, we’re gonna get, gonna get, get what we can, we’re not doing it for the money.” The song also sends a message that encourages confidence in oneself: “I am never going to change who I am, I won’t bend under the pressure.”

It was hard to pick favorites, but I’m quite partial towards “S.H.C,” which supposedly stands for “Sacred Hearts Club.” This was perhaps because it most reminiscent of their earlier work, which I adore. The lyrics made me think of breaking free from something holding you back, especially with the recurring line “I want to live my life again,” and “I’ve been counting all the minutes, and the days have been counting me.” Lines like “Sometimes I’m reckless, sometimes misdirected” also had a great appeal to me. They song, in reality was about Mark Foster’s relationships with both loved ones and God through lines like: “I’ve been numbing my thoughts for hours, I know you wanted to save me from myself, we’ve been wilting and young for seeds, and I can’t compete, until I’m strung to the field.”

After the release of this EP, it’s safe to say that I’ll be looking forward to the release Foster the People’s full album. I the meantime, I will continue to enjoy ‘III.’ The band pretty much summed it up when they took to Twitter to say: “One of my favorite things about music is that it’s unifying. We wrote these songs to reflect joy…” “…in a time where people have needed it more than ever and we thought it was a good time to share them with you.”