Wednesday, December 16, 2020

FOSTER THE PEOPLE – Under The Moon Single Review

If you were anything like me as a teenager, you probably watched and subsequently became obsessed with the angsty 2001 cult classic, ‘Donnie Darko’. Anyone who has watched the film will likely remember its iconic opening sequence, which features a young Jake Gyllenhaal riding his bike through his small, suburban hometown to the haunting tune of Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon’.

To that end, if Director Richard Kelly ever did decide to create a sequel to this early noughties’ masterpiece, I have no doubt that Foster the People’s new single ‘Under the Moon’ would feature on that soundtrack. With his eerie, keening vocals and other-worldly use of synths and strings, Mark Foster has managed to create a song that sounds as astronomical as it does melancholic.

‘Under the Moon’ captures the sadness and longing of two lovers who are living far away from one another. Before they go to sleep, they look up at the moon and think of each other, and the song itself manages to encapsulate the mystical, cosmic feel of this shared moment.  

One thing that immediately jumps out is Mark Foster’s incredible vocal range, as he slides effortlessly between deep, bass in the verses to plaintive, falsetto choruses. Perhaps it is both Foster’s crooning vocals and depictions of a moonlit scene that reminds me so much of Ian McCulloch’s rendition of ‘The Killing Moon’. But, where the Echo and the Bunnymen focus on free will versus determinism, Foster the People’s single is all about love against the odds.

Given the poignancy of this song’s subject matter in the context of this year, you’d be forgiven if its emotional swells, rising chord sequences and wistful lyrics leave you feeling a bit weepy. “Pull the light in through your window, know that I am doing the same” sings Foster. This year, many people have been forced to isolate from loved ones, but that hasn’t stopped us from keeping them in our thoughts, which is what this track is really all about.

With the powerful lyric ‘we’re looking at the same sky’, the song ends on the hopeful note that, while its two lovers might have to live apart right now, they are never really alone.

Hannah McGreevy


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