‘Pumped up Kicks’ features dark undertones

Jamie Lescht

The song not only has a catchy beat, but also an unknown meaning.

By By: Jamie Lescht, Public Relations

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Every day the most popular radio stations blast Foster the People’s new song “Pumped Up Kicks. The song’s happy and catchy tune fills listener’s minds making it impossible to not sing along. Little do they know that they’re actually singing about a student being bullied to the point of bringing a gun to school and shooting his classmates.

“All the other kids with their pumped up kicks you’d better run, better run, outrun my gun.” These words blend in with the tune of “Pumped Up Kicks” so well that many listeners do not realize they are singing about a heated topic: bullying. Instead of singing the song from a shooting victim’s point of view, lead singer Mark Foster sings from the shooter’s point of view.

According to a June 7 report on CBS Minnesota affiliate WCCO, Foster wanted to convey what a bullied and disturbed child might be thinking. In addition, Foster wanted listeners to understand the isolation and abandonment that might cause a child to go on a shooting rampage.

These factors that contributed to the writing of the song sound similar to previous bullying incidents like the one at Virginia Tech in 2007 when 33 students died. Some people interpret “Pumped Up Kicks” as a way of mocking those students.

“It’s [putting] a positive light on school massacres like in Virginia Tech,” senior Marisa Bruno said. “In a way it’s disrespecting the students who died in them.”

Not only does the song belittle school shootings, but to have children sing about such a provocative issue is obscene.

According to Bruno, she realized how wrong the song was for little children to sing when she was babysitting and heard the kids sing lyrics like “he found a six-shooter gun” and “he’s coming for you, yeah, he’s coming for you.”

Most students still continue to listen to the song despite its topic though many aren’t aware of the message Foster the People are conveying.

Freshman Alissa Li didn’t even know what the song was about and was just overwhelmed with its interesting sound.

Students’ lack of knowledge about “Pumped Up Kicks” brings up a common question: if more students were informed of what the song was about, would its popularity decrease?

“Before I heard the lyrics I thought it was a happy song and liked it, but then I was creeped out,” Bruno said, “It’s kind of like a horror movie when you see a little child singing ring-around-the-rosie.”