More To Hear
About Foster the People
Before he founded Foster the People in 2009, Mark Foster paid the bills by writing commercial jingles for a Los Angeles production house. Beyond giving him an invaluable education in the science of songwriting, the gig also gave him a crash course in the sleight-of-hand psychology of advertising—like how to package a song about a troubled teen shooting up his school into one of the most indelible indie-pop anthems of the 2010s. That song, “Pumped Up Kicks,” was perfectly timed for a moment when bands like MGMT and Phoenix were giving the Hot 100 a quirky hipster makeover, and its viral success online would lead to a Top 5 slot on the Billboard charts and a major-label deal. (Though perhaps the truest measure of the song’s cross-generational appeal—and Foster’s effortless way with melody—is that it yielded both a Weezer cover and an invitation for the band to perform at the Grammys alongside The Beach Boys and Maroon 5.) The subsequent debut album, Torches, proved Foster to be a multi-hit wonder, able to finesse elements of EDM (“Helena Beat”) and loopy alt-rock (“Don’t Stop [Color on the Walls]”) into instant earworms. Foster spent the next decade fusing classic pop songcraft and unsavory subjects into club-friendly cuts like 2017’s “Sit Next to Me,” a tale of pained romantic longing and shaky sobriety rendered as seductive disco-soul. As he explained to Apple Music, “Something I’ve always loved to do is make music as an escape, as a friend, as a comforter,” affirming Foster the People’s commitment to spinning dark thoughts into feel-good jams.
- Los Angeles, CA, United States
- October 2009