Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Mark Foster's ethereal falsetto fueled his alt-rock trio's dreamily disturbing 2011 hit " Pumped Up Kicks," a cheery-sounding song plumbing the dreary depths of a would-be school shooter's unbalanced mind. The song reached the upper echelons of Billboard's Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 3 and putting Foster the People on the map as a band willing to explore serious subject matter. (Maybe too serious since even the likes of MTVU censored the track.)

Three years later, Foster and his bandmates Cubbie Fink (who's married to CCM superstar Rebecca St. James) and Mark Pontius are back with another thought-provoking effort, Supermodel. This time around, Foster says trips to North Africa and the Middle East challenged him to reflect on the excesses of American culture.

"[Supermodel is] really about, I guess, the difference between the culture that we live in in L.A. and looking at the rest of the world and seeing how other people live with the focus on kind of just community, communication, real connections, social media and how social media is affecting our culture now," Foster recently told The Salt Lake City Tribune. "I think it's looking at isolation in the U.S. and that being something that's kind of growing, and comparing that to other cultures that are really very in tune with how people have been living for thousands of years."

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Wading into deep water pretty quickly, "Are You What You Want to Be?" touches on poverty, homelessness, prostitution, justice and war, all in the context of the titular question. Foster talks of his tortured response to a begging woman on the streets of Paris, singing, "A young one dripping make-up put her hands out to holla/And I gave her what I got, but couldn't handle her broken heart." A similar construction describes his conversation with a prostitute: "The young one dripping make-up lift her leg up to holla/Well, I told her what she's got should be protected in the arms of love." The song talks of longing for meaning and answers amid such tough situations even as Foster admits questions like these "make me want to duck for cover." Then he says, "These things ask the biggest question to me/And it's, Are you what you want to be?" He admits that others might not understand where he's coming from ("Well, I'm afraid of saying too much and ending a martyr"), then adds, "Be even more so I'm afraid to face God and say I was a coward."

"Ask Yourself" says material things aren't going to satisfy our internal hunger: "Well, I've found the more I want the less I've got/Is this the life you've been waiting for/Or are you hoping that you'll be where you want with a little more?" Then this somewhat graphic line seems obliquely connected to the song's critique of consumerism: "You're coughing blood again/I know because I clean up the mess every now and then."

"I will calm you in the storm," reads "Nevermind," a track suggesting that we can still flourish amid brokenness ("Life can bloom when something breaks"). The song also alludes to the struggle of holding absolute beliefs in a culture that rejects them ("Yeah, it's hard to know the truth/In this postmodernist view/Where absolutes are seen as relics/And laughed out of the room"). Lines that follow could be heard as a prayer: "And I'm scared to say your name/I've cried wolf so many times/'Cause I'm afraid of what you'd want from me/How will you find me through the gray?/'Cause my mind's a minefield of the wretched."

"Pseudologia Fantastica" includes severe (yet seemingly apropos) survival imagery ("Don't be afraid of the knife/Sometimes you have to cut the limb to survive") and a similar allusion to warfare ("Are you sharpening your sword? Well, you'll bleed out anyway) while grappling with broken promises. Then it affirms, "You got to get back up and face your demons/Don't ever be afraid of starting over." "Best Friend" finds a compassionate man trying to help a drug-addled friend kick his addiction. "A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon" plumbs disappointment and concludes that relinquishment (perhaps to God?) and serving others offer the only real path to personal wholeness. It also challenges those who live only for indulgence with, "And stop drinking the wine that's been dripping/From the lips of the gluttons, and envying their bloody teeth."

"Goats in Trees" is a complicated song that seems to be about internal spiritual struggle in the face of betrayal and confusion: "I buried all the guilt here with my youth/And I'm on the outside of this/And it's war on the inside/That's a lie." Lines taken in isolation sound somewhat ominous ("I feel the change in the rising tide, and blood is in the room"), but it ultimately rushes toward rescue ("No one can tell me they're not afraid/Of the freedom of deliverance").

Honesty, hope, integrity and absolutes infiltrate "The Truth," with Foster insisting, "There is a truth, there is a light if you'd follow me there/I've been searching for the directions and/I'm convinced the world doesn't know what it needs/There is a hope for the hopeless, I can promise you that." He observes, "The world is so broken/ … I never thought I'd be here/A blinding call to prayer/Has touched my feet/Like the call of the prophets/ … There is a truth, I can promise you that/ … The truth stands in the end/While you're deciding what to do."

"Fire Escape" concludes with another stirring call for change: "Sit out on Lexington and Vine/And all the pimps and prostitutes wave you down at stopping signs/Save yourself, save yourself, yourself/ … Los Angeles, I've been waiting for you/To pick yourself up and change/The city you've made, this ocean and sand/Is founded by liars and self-made men."

Objectionable Content

"Goats in Trees" references smoking ("I'll listen to you if you want me to/But you'll have to share a smoke") and includes the album's sole profanity ("I clawed and fought like h‑‑‑").

Summary Advisory

Prophetic isn't a word I trot out very often to describe a rock 'n' roll band's lyrical stance. But I think it's exactly the right word to describe what Foster the People is doing on Supermodel. Over and over, Foster bluntly and unapologetically insists that materialism isn't the answer to what ails us.

And though he never comes right out and articulates exactly what he believes, he does seem to subscribe to absolute truths that don't shift with the ever-changing cultural winds. And from those absolutes flow virtues such as honesty, integrity, humility and perseverance—as well as a plea for prayer.

So can a pop song be too serious for its own good? Absolutely. But while there's intensity and grit here, there's far more substance in this provocative and challenging album.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Debuted at No. 3.

Record Label





March 18, 2014

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!