Monday, October 14th, 2019

Foster The People – Pick U Up

More like Foster the Poople, right?


Kayla Beardslee: I don’t know much about Foster the People, so I have no barometer for whether this is a familiar or strange addition to their discography, but what I do know is that “Pick U Up” is fun and funky pop music in its purest form. I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that savvy pop songwriter Sarah Aarons (“The Middle,” “GIRL”) and producer Joel Little (Lorde, Taylor Swift, Broods) worked on it. Forgive me for sounding like I’m setting up a thesis statement, but it’s interesting to compare “Pick U Up” with “Beautiful People” by Ed Sheeran as a way to examine the trope of writing about the negative side of fame. Both songs bemoan the fakeness of fame and LA, but neither really offer examples of what the singers want to do instead of clawing their way up the social ladder. Sheeran falls flat by devoting his chorus to the nebulous, cliche concept of “famous people,” but Foster the People sidestep this shortcoming by focusing on the specifics of the narrator’s relationship. Celebrities singing about how fame kinda sucks is a dangerous tightrope to walk, but FTP only use the Hollywood setting to contextualize the narrator’s doubts about his partner’s interest (“Do you love me? / Or you just trying me on?”). Either ironically or appropriately, the superficial sheen of Los Angeles becomes just glitzy window dressing for familiar questions about the strength of a relationship.

Alfred Soto: I won’t dispel the notion that FTP have discovered a clutch of 2009 The-Dream singles but added Xmas ornaments like “cocktail of charm.”

Kylo Nocom: Nerdy white boy funk a la Vulfpeck, but Vulfpeck are too busy trying to impress theory nerds to ever bother offering a simple pleasure as delectable as this.

Joshua Lu: Funk fits Foster The People, whose indiepop styles have always sounded better when leaning into the poppier side. But “Pick U Up” runs out of ways to funk at times, made apparent in those bits of white space in the chorus where, devoid of lyrics, you realize how lifeless the churning instrumental really sounds.

Will Adams: Foster the People collaborate with The Knocks for a single (and pretty good!) song one time and all of a sudden they want to turn into Chromeo. You hate to see it.

Ian Mathers: Did… did Foster the People think “Pumped Up Kicks” was popular because of the lyrics?

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