Pumped Up Kicks

Album: Foster the People EP (2011)
Charted: 18 3


  • Foster the People is a Los Angeles indie rock band that started off as a solo project for vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Mark Foster, who had been working as a jingle composer for commercials. As his songs became more grandiose, Foster enlisted bassist Cubbie Fink and drummer Mark Pontius. This is the band's debut single, which debuted on the Hot 100 chart dated May 7, 2011.
  • Mark Foster explained the song's meaning to Spinner UK: "'Pumped Up Kicks' is about a kid that basically is losing his mind and is plotting revenge. He's an outcast. I feel like the youth in our culture are becoming more and more isolated. It's kind of an epidemic. Instead of writing about victims and some tragedy, I wanted to get into the killer's mind, like Truman Capote did in In Cold Blood. I love to write about characters. That's my style. I really like to get inside the heads of other people and try to walk in their shoes."

    Foster says he considered writing the song from the perspective of the victim, but felt that would be a cop out. He also points out that there is no actual violence in the song, as the threats are all the kid's internal monologue.
  • About those "Pumped Up Kicks" the other kids in this song are wearing: In the late '80s and early '90s, the Reebok Pump basketball shoe enjoyed modest popularity. The sneaker had a pump shaped like a basketball on the tongue, and the idea was that if you needed a little extra lift, you could just give it a few pumps - keep in mind that Nike had Michael Jordan selling its kicks, so Reebok was pretty desperate. The greatest moment in Pumps history came when Dee Brown of the Boston Celtics won the 1991 Slam Dunk contest wearing the shoes. Just before his winning dunk, he reached down and inflated his Pumps, a moment that Reebok used in commercials for the shoes.

    The shoes were very expensive, and kids with that kind of money to spend on basketball sneakers who didn't opt for Air Jordans tended to be the privileged poseurs who annoyed the hell out of anyone wearing Converse or Keds. In this song, the kids with the pumped up kicks, or at least these type of kids, are threatened with grave violence.
  • Foster discussed the broad appeal of the song in an interview with Billboard magazine: "'Pumped Up Kicks' is one of those songs that blends something really familiar with something that's very modern," he said. "It's a song where you could lay on the couch and listen to it or you can get up and dance around the room to it."
  • Talking about writing this song in Rolling Stone, Foster said: "I was trying to get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid. It's a f--k you song to hipsters, in a way - but it's a song the hipsters are going to want to dance to."
  • The "gun" in this song is quite literal, but it didn't start out that way. Mark Foster wrote the chorus of the song first, and considered it a song about confidence, with "gun" being a metaphor. That changed when he came up with the first verse, which he freestyled during a recording session. This verse was clearly about a kid who finds his dad's gun, and it changed the complexion of the song, giving the "gun" a literal meaning.
  • The song manages to hide a dark message beneath its cheery tune. "I tend to do that with a lot of songs," Mark Foster told MTV News. "I like to tell a different type of story, lyrically, than what the music is expressing, because it brings another layer to the story itself. I wrote it a block away from the beach, and I was working at a music house — Mophonics, a place where I composed for ads and stuff — and I think that had some influence on the sound."
  • MTVU censored this song when they played the video, dropping the audio any time Foster sang "gun" or "bullets." The frontman told Rolling Stone: "I think MTV is scared of an alternative band that has a sound like this. I think the sound is deceiving. You've got reality shows which are all about teenagers getting pregnant and you've got Jersey Shore, where a girl gets punched in the face and they show the clip over and over and over as a teaser to watch the show. It's like, oh, OK, domestic violence is fine but, like, talking about something like family values and teen isolation and bullying is not."
  • The song's success is partly due to its multi-format appeal, and it was the first song to top both Billboard's Alternative Songs and Dance Airplay charts. (The latter has only been running since October 17, 2003).
  • The chorus shows up eight times in this song, including four times at the end of the song. Chorus repetition is a hallmark of hit songwriting, but this is a little much, and Mark Foster knows it. "If I had known that the song was going to be played everywhere, I would have taken those damn choruses out of the song and made it move faster," he told NME. "By the end of it, it's just chorus, chorus, chorus, chorus... it's driving me crazy to hear this stupid chorus again."
  • The song was never officially released. Foster the People bassist Cubbie Fink explained to Stuff.co.nz: "We were a brand-new band and that was the only song we had completed, and so we put it up on our website to download, and from that it had a life on its own. It was tossed around on the internet, and people would blog about and it ended up on [music blog aggregator] Hype Machine, and radio just naturally picked it up. First independent radio stations started playing it, and then mainstream radio stations started playing it, and it was just gradually growing."
  • Foster the People's debut album Torches was released on May 23, 2011 through Columbia Records and Startime. Mark Foster told CMU: "This album was really cathartic for me. A lot of the songs are about isolation and being the underdog. It was nice to get them out and take ownership over the things that I wanted to run away from."
  • This was the most streamed song on the US Spotify music service between when it launched on July 14, 2011 and the end of the year. Another Foster The People track, "Helena Beat," was the fifth most streamed song over the same period.
  • The song was yanked from the airwaves after the shooting of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. Mark Foster agreed with the decision to pull the track out of respect for the victims, adding that he wrote the song about the growing trend of mental illness among teenagers in a bid to create a conversation about the need for change. He said in a statement to CNN.com, "I wrote 'Pumped Up Kicks' when I began to read about the growing trend in teenage mental illness. I wanted to understand the psychology behind it because it was foreign to me. It was terrifying how mental illness among youth had skyrocketed in the last decade. I was scared to see where the pattern was headed if we didn't start changing the way we were bringing up the next generation... This song was written as a way to create ongoing dialogue for an issue that was being talked about, but when it came to government intervention, was largely being ignored...

    "Now, this topic is finally at the forefront of major discussion and will hopefully lead to some big changes in policy that will prevent these acts of violence from happening in the future. That being said, I respect people's decision to press pause. And if that becomes a catalyst for a bigger conversation that could lead to positive change moving forward, then I absolutely support it."
  • Looking back on this song in 2014, Mark Foster told NME that he was proud of its cultural significance. "It forced the public to have a conversation," he said. "Not just about guns and gun regulations, but also about art itself - where the line is, and what should be edited. I feel that in terms of pushing the envelope in terms of culture and forcing people to have those conversations, it was a really healthy thing for the country."

Comments: 71

  • Jv from United StatesThis song expands my awareness. It expands my compassion and understanding. Instead of hating the violence I deplore, and deepening my divide of separation, it makes me relate to and feel unity with a mind I usually don't understand.

    I see some people are fearful that the song will inspire the horror it's expressing. I'm convinced It'll have the opposite effect. The thing that people in this state of mind and heart need is empathy and understanding. Letting someone feel connected and validated brings them a step closer to wholeness not farther from it.

    What the world needs less of is criticism and negativity, what it needs more of is compassion and connection. In the understandable disdain for the violence this expression conveys, it's important to add to the world's need for unity, compassion and understanding. Please refrain from denouncing, criticising, hating and fearing.

    This song is an expression of what exists, it's not promoting or creating it. Suppressing and repressing increases the pressure, expressing relieves it. The violence to minimize is not the needed artistic expression of it. Look to the widespread and normalized endless violence promoted by the fundamental basis of society and our highest authority figures. Go to the highest level and the biggest scale of violence, look to that. Look to the scale and violence of a government and people that maintain and support endless war on a global level. I see so much confusion about why we have this epidemic of violence from our children. How do we expect anything else when the core of our society promotes and justifies it. Not a day goes by that I don't agonize that my government and fellow citizens promote, normalize and justify endless global war. I'm confounded that it doesn't seem wrong on the deepest level, and that it perpetually goes unaddressed. If you want to eliminate our children's violence stop the worldwide violence promoted by society itself.
  • Siahara Shyne Carter from United StatesThis song is so cool I give it perfect 10.

    Its normal to get bullied I'm once a bully and get bullied too but When I grow up' I start working out and The bullies start to hide When they see me lol just how funny Sometimes I get into many trouble before "Kids Stuff". but 'without gun' just Physically lol

    I punch thier faces lol there it once I stab my classmate with Pencil thank God he's ok. lol Just "I'm that crazy"

    But When people grow up This stuffs are also trown. I rather shut up than make a fight Its useless you will only be HuRt It's NOT COOL

    Anyways! I love this song I keep playing it in 2020 and I re play it every time the song ends. I can play it in my room or in the living room Lol HEHEHE I also love thier song "Houdini" Great job Guys <,<

  • Kelsey from New YorkIn response to Veronica's comment, I'm sorry your son is being bullied, but if it weren't this song then it would have been something else. I don't think you can blame the song for the actions of some repulsive individuals that will always find a way to bully others.
  • Veronica L Northrop from Columbus, GaUnfortunately this song has become a way to bully the already vulnerable. My son, a quiet kid, socially awkward due to asperger syndrome and sports a military cut because well.... we're a military family and it just kinda happens!! A kid approached him at school last week and said he's shocked my son hasn't showed up at school with a gun and blasting this song. My son was devastated. He just wants to blend in and be left alone. But no, this made him understand what goes through a school shooter's mind. No, he didn't act on the feelings or do anything crazy, but he sympathized with every bullied kid that was fed up and took extreme actions. I know it's not the song writers fault, but I honestly wish this song was never created. This has become a running joke on campus now. It's disgusting and is not creating conversation, it's creating a new way to bully the already vulnerable.
  • Rylie from South DakotaSo I did interpret this and I think that it would be fine and it gets emotion out so I let my kids listen to this song and any other song out their that talks about killing I think these songs let them get out their anger and any other emotion.
  • Scott from OhioTo the woman from Cleveland a couple comments below -- the song was released in September of 2010. So...it was a WHILE before the Chardon High shooting. The song highlights the PROBLEM we have in the U.S. with school shootings...it DOES NOT glorify or encourage kids to be violent. I understand,though, that so many adults live in total fear of everything, and rather than blaming themselves (which they NEED to do), they blame the latest hit single to further sweep their responsibilities under the rug and keep stuffing their fat faces with processed foods and watching bulls--t on TV like "Criminal Minds" and "Law & Order". Bless your heart, I hope the blanket of fear is lifted from your consciousness.
  • Junsang from AsiaAlthough I'm Asian, this song is something which sems so genius and very understandable for me. You know, you never can escape from this f**king revolution thing which makes you cheat around, bully others, extort money from other's pocket legit or not. This starts at about the same age around the World, which is just around when girl starts menses. You need to prove your value to be accepted as one of mainstream person in school, and society if you are adult. This f**king competition makes us wanna have Benz, or maybe Bentley for people more affluent. It's when you acknowledge your position in the hierarchy of any group, you truly become cognizant of what's going on.
    Foster's effort to delineate the mind of unwanted child who is abused everywhere is something to be appreciated, I believe.
  • Susan from Cleveland, OhioI remember this song coming out and soon after on February 27, 2012 there was a mass shooting at Chardon High school in Chardon Ohio. I always thought this song had an effect on the kid who did the shooting. It's too much of a coincidence.
  • Xavier from St. Louis, MoI love this song, the contrast of dark content against the mellow dance beat is brilliant and just right kind of creepy at the same time. I hear all the ranting about being some kind of Christian, censorship, not letting your kids hear the song and general discomfort with subject matter you likely don't fully comprehend. You may understand what the lyrics are saying in a strictly logic based filter, then you pass it through more filters of what you believe to be solid family values and so on, however whether you get it and I mean have true empathy for kids in these situations then I'm sorry but your small minds and conventional moral programming won't let you take that leap. I knew kids like this in school and I made a point of being friends with them so they had at least some support and not let the isolation drive them crazy. The worst part of the situation though is that I hear the cries of why should I care about these kids that would hurt others for revenge. It's not even about revenge, rather that developing minds and personalities can only take so much isolation, so much abuse, and from the bullies at school and at home from the bully that was supposed to care for and love them. These kids are driven to these feeling by adults mostly and are a product of broken homes that don't nurture them into strong caring individuals. It's a tragedy and product of the modern world that could be completely avoided if we weren't so lazy that we couldn't give a s--t to support kids that we brought into this world. So rant and rant, censorship sucks by the way too. I want my kids to understand the world fully and unabridged by fairy tale belief systems. Let them see it and hear it and make sure you are there to explain and you will be surprised by the results. As a last dig from an atheist and a scientist because they kind of go hand in hand, I hope at least some people realize that there is no actual historical proof or context for any living individual known as Jesus from the new testament. We have the evidence for kings, emperors, philosophers, and so on but no Jesus; so sorry. His archetype is identical to saviors and prophets from earlier and much older religions though and has been used over and over for the last 5000 years. I hope someday we can all just let the silliness go and drop religion because it stands as a major impediment to the development of an advanced civilization. It served it's purpose but it's time to all evolve to the new place where we use our brains to understand the universe. Hope you enjoyed the insults because I mean every word of it and don't care if I'm in the minority or not. Fortunately my beliefs do not require any others comprehension or compliance to make it true, it's just a statement of facts so embrace the real.
  • Katie from Chicago IllinoisI personally think that this song sounds a lot like the events that happened at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.
  • Kelsi from New York City, NyI really enjoy this song because it shows the life and story behind someone (most likely to be a teen) and how hard their life probably is. After I had heard the lyrics, it sort of touched me. Knowing that teens go through this all the time. Other than the lyrics, the beat is slow and something you can dance or just relax to. I hope they make other songs like this soon.
  • K.c. from Nh@Lyssa - Sacto, Ca - I can't help but notice that almost every single "I" is capitalized. It lets us see where your actual focus is...on yourself. If you were a Christian, you would know that, although we are not OF the world, we are IN it. You would be better off teaching your children discernment. My daughters know this song, and know the story behind it. Things like the story in the song happens, even in our neighborhoods. We have to shine our light, not turn our children into mushrooms.
  • San from TexasSo sneaky. So impressive. Foster dude with those kinda lyrics ain't about to take responsibility for them in any legit way. Just wants the lime light spot light attention... Kinda like those demented disturbed shooter kids. Foster prob won't realize it tho. Encouragement for bad and deceitful taboot. Grab on tight ppl.
  • Jo from So Tx, Tx"Dad coming home late with a dark surprise" The dark surprise is Dad's abuse, violence, and negativity in this young mans life, on top of his physical and emotional neglect. Abused at home and in school.
  • Jo from So Tx, Tx"Dinners in the kitchen and it's packed in ice" is a reference to his being a latch key kid, at times neglected. No one home to greet him from school, he has to warm up a TV dinner. He mentions having a dad but not a mom.
  • Irish from Boston, MaSounds like a modern day Billy the Kid to me.
  • Zach from Minooka, Il, IlGreat song.
  • Johan from Louis Trichardt, South AfricaWe really loved the song before we even knew the lyrics, now we really LOVE it. It is really relevant to the people in our township schools where they deal with these issues on a daily basis.
  • Tim from Melbourne, AustraliaThis song was written by Usain Bolt's mother, saying that no matter what drugs or assets Usains competitors harness, no one can beat Usain (the bullet) Bolt! :P
  • Pual from San Francisco, Cathroughout history songs have been about gunslingers and fights and you didn't have people running around acting out the songs in real life situations but rather maybe as play at a party or hanging out alone or with friends. I think in a real world situation it's an effed up situation but the song is amusing as hell to listen to. off topic (sort of) but Lias from Ks wrote "My children are Baptist, and I'd prefer them listening to a song to which they can possibly relate, rather than a 1500-2000 year old Book of Fairytale Nonsense! " <<-- If this is a troll statement it made me laugh if not I'm laughing harder. what a weird planet this is.
  • Allen from Concord, NhThis song reminds me of "I Don't Like Mondays" by The Boomtown Rats. This one is about a girl going into school and shooting the students and her excuse is that she doesn't like mondays. They are both catchy songs with darker meanings hidden beneath them.
  • Aymbar from Riverview, FlI love this song. I knew the lyrics before I ever even heard the song. I have a talk about it with a friend while taking a part a project.. After hearing it, I love it. It's incredible. It never talks about him killing the kids, just the fact he wants to.
    & it's cute to watch my daughter dance around to it. (She's one.)
    (I do believe in God, I am a Christian. I just don't believe it's our place to determine what is right and wrong. The bible talks about whores and prostitution, murder and stealing. And those people are forgiven. Yet you feel it's alright to judge someone because they like a catchy beat with some lyrics? Shame.)
    Great song, was even greater after realizing the music genius this man is and that fact he was truly trying to capture the inside of a lost teenagers mind.
    Love it!
  • Liz from Kemah, TxThe song is really dark and made darker by the pop style rhythm. I think that is what makes it really quite brilliant. I wish that Christians sounded smarter when ranting about stuff. It would make it easier for me to defend everyone's right to an opinion.
  • Lisa from Miami County, KsYes, this song is definitely ironic...as someone else commented "hipsters ironically dancing to the beat of their own death" (or something like that). Anyhoo...my children (12 & 9 years) and I love this song (Mark Foster, you're a musical GENIUS); I have explained the meaning of the lyrics/song to my kids in a successful attempt to FOSTER sympathy, empathy, and anything else my children can derihipsters this song and ALL MUSIC...and guess what????... it worked!!!! As for all of the comments from our overtly religious 'friends'...well, here's a little advice---RELAX!!!! I do believe that this song, along with most music, is meant to send a message and make people really think. C'mon people...it's just a song...a GREAT song...nevertheless , it's also a work of fiction...much like the Bible! My children are Baptist, and I'd prefer them listening to a song to which they can possibly relate, rather than a 1500-2000 year old Book of Fairytale Nonsense!
    L.B.---small town KS mom :)
    P.S.- If I have offended anyone, I won't apologize...you'll just have to suck it up and drive on! This is MY opinion, my Freedom of Speech, as afforded to each person in this wonderful country of ours...thanks for reading my rant! Peace!!!!!!
  • Wayne from Midvale, UtOK, don't allow your kids to listen to songs about killing. But be consistent, don't allow them to see TV shows or movies about killing either. And what about books? Whatever you do, don't allow them to read the bible.....it's filled with killing.
  • Terence from Penang, Malaysia@ Lyssa

    So did Jesus teach you to swear and type in horrible grammar? As a matter of fact, did you even READ the lyrics and try to INTERPRET them? I don't even like this song, but you, are an idiot.
  • Lyssa from Sacto, Cai first heard my 13yr old singing it i thought the beat was tight...until i found out what the song was talking about. ive read everyones thought n what ever but really It made me sIck to my stomach to hear It. I love all types of musIc but here we are talkIng about a generatIon that Is goIn Into schools for no reason n killing kids n themself! i get the hole bullin thing but theres no way im gonna let my sons sing a song about outruning his gun. i feel it disrespetful for the famIlys that have lost there chIldren to such vIolence.I her ppl sayIn Its to stop n make them kno there not by themselfs no..ur puttIn In there heads that If that happend I can n u gonna out run my bullets! commIng from a person thats been bullyed n beat up bullys for f--kIn wItt kIds that ca t stIck up for themselfs to beIng shot wItha bauge! I dnt wIsh that on my worst enemy. so the ones that love thIs song pIcture ur son or daughter or loved ones beIng kIlled by someone just because they where bullyed I teach my kIds ppl are gonna be mean but u start at home to left ur kIds up. pray over thsm every nIght causs the devIl Is tryIn to take out our youth. I bInd all of It...suIcIde..murder..chIld abuse In the name of JESUS! lord I pray for thIs generatIon that all ur chIldren be coverd by the blood of the lamb.
  • Darvey from Mexicali, Mexicoat the end Robert kills his dad too, he says to him that he lost his wits, meaning that the father just lacked enough common sense at that moment (according to Robert thoughts) and couldn't figure out the evil plans that Robert had for him by killing the father with the gun and burning him with gas (maybe) and the cigarette
  • Glenn from San Jose, CaRE: Dancing in the Moonlight
    Both songs are recorded in E-flat.

    Meanwhile, I've heard instrumental parts of this song used as a bumper on talk shows, .eg., Michael Medved's national program and a local station in Sacramento featuring an investment advisor. (It's either the bass line or the whistling.)

    Speaking of whistling, more known whistling songs include Young Folks, Colonel Bogey March and (Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay.
  • Joani from Aurora, CoOkay, I think I get it, except for--what does "dinner's in the kitchen and it's packed on ice" mean? That sounds like a whole different situation, a serial killer who collects trophies, as opposed to a spree killer like the typical bullied kid gone over the edge, like at Columbine. Anybody got ideas?
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzThis is the most requested item on Songfacts? OK, I heard it once, never again.
  • Kataya from Banning, CaYou guys act like kids won't get any crazy ideas anywhere else. There is much worse stuff in childrens nursery rymes for fuc_s sake. Grow up. You can't hide the violent stuff in the world from kids forever. At least their not singing about screwing every girl in sight and drinking and getting high. they actually have a good meaning to it. I never knew about subliminal messages or watched violent movies or listened to radio when I was in 4th grade yet I even came up with ideas like getting revenge its natural and kids do get these thoughts without songs saying things about guns. Just because it talks about taboo stuff doesn't make it bad. I'm at least they are facing the problem. When I was little and listened to music like this it helped me realize I wasn't alone and that everyone has defense mechanisms and taboo thoughts but that you don't have to act on them. Don't automatically assume that they will shoot everyone because of this song. Think outside the box. Take this from someone who went throught what this kid went throught. I went to a catholic school where kids would beat me up and teachers would watch. Be aware of that and that is what causes ppl to lose it. Not a song. Just like if somebody has a dirty thought about sex and doesn't get laid it doesn't mean they'll go rape somebody if they hear a stripper song with the guy disrespecting her. At least its not another s--tty sexual song. Disney's movies are worse then this in his sublliminal messages. There is violence in the world. Don't take away songs relating to ppl. Take away bullying so this s--t actually stops.gr
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlDamn, wish this website had a like button! Because I would definitely like Chelsea's comment! People get so tore up because it's not politically correct or they think it goes over the line...really?! It's just a song, and an AMAZING one at that! These guys should get an award for their musicianship!
  • Desiree from Sanantonio, Txwhats does the bible say...my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge so it not the things that we do know,its the things we dont know...another words it also says in order to have friendds you must show yourself friendly!show study the precious word of god and he will bless you with all of his gifts to be an overcomer through the pewer of your testimony...its akk in the word!so if you think this song is about what ever yes its a good beat and melody if your into music and expressing yourself but theirs different ways into expressing yourself like going to school for art or sports or just education!
  • Bobby from New York, NyI agree with David Northglenn , CO. People just want to listen to the innocent stuff these days. personally, i WANT to hear about these issues being put into the mainstream. i have been bullied soooooooo many times in the past, and it sucked. it pushed me so far that i thought about suicide once!!!! i don't want to do it anymore, and i am soooo glad that someone is showing people that bullying can cause horrible things to happen.
  • Chelsea from Pickens, ScPersonally I think the song is brilliant. Art is a direct reflection of the human condition in one way or another and being human isn't always unicorns and rainbows. If you censor out things you find dark or things that make you feel uncomfortable your only cheating yourself by choosing to be tunnel visioned.
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaI agree with Susan Airdrie...I thought this was a cute little song until I saw what the lyrics are. BOY it is one hell of a dark piece of work. The world is messed up enough as it is. This song has too strong of a suggestion for those who are not quite right and or looking for some kind of that 15 minutes of fame...that could put them away for 20 years or worse. Not a cute song at all. I am reading a post as I type this from someone in scottsdale AZ whot thinks this song it great.....how sad. It is a dangerous song folks. Too bad cos its music is really uplifting. Too bad the words aren't as positive.
  • David from Northglenn , CoI like the song and its message isn't "dark" its a subject that should be talked about. raising awareness of bullying and its result is no dark matter. That's why bullying happens because its a subject people don't want to hear... some people are just too ignorant and think we like in fairy tales.
  • Bobby from New York, NyHonestly, I like the irony of having dark lyrics with a happy tune. This song is way more meaningful than the sugary pop crap that other "artists" put out today. the lyrics are dark and deep and those are my favorite kind! listen to songs like "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam, "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, or "Polly" by Nirvana. All three have dark lyrics, and all three are incredible, timeless songs. So please, appreciate this artistic genius. I absolutely love it!
  • Music Fan from Falls Town, TxAnyone who thinks this song is horrible hasn't experienced the joys of being bullied or tormented in school. If you don't like the lyrics- don't listen to it. I don't think the writer wrote the song just to please "you". Learn to keep your comments to yourself. That's probably the reason the kid in the song is the way he is. I really enjoy this song because I remember being tortured by the kids with the "pumped up" kicks being a teenager in the 90's and can relate to this song.
  • Kody from Seattle, WaHow Could This Song Be About The High School Columbine Shooting? I Mean That Occurred Along Time Ago, In 1999. BTW: Both Of Shooters Name Weren't Robert, Obviously... Duhh. Their Names Were Dylan Klebold And Eric Harris. Can You Explain To Me Why You Thought This Song Was About The Columbine Shooting? O_O (well i didn't mean it in a mean way) Just Blurting It Out. :|
  • Cindy from Evansville, InI have been told that this song was about Columbine.....anyone else hear that?
  • Kody from Seattle, WaI Thought The Song Meanings Meant Like A Kid Named Robert Was Being Bullied By The Popular Kids At School And He Wanted Revenge, So He Brought That Six-Shooter Gun And He Was Gonna Shoot Everyone Out And Telling Kids To Run Faster Than His Bullet And His Gun. And So You Better Run With Your Pumped Up Kicks Or Else He's Coming For YOU. Also I Think The Song Has Some Violence. But Its Still A Good Song.
  • Malisa from Philadelphia, PaI really like the song and usually crank it in the car...I read the lyrics because I couldn't understand what they were saying. Wow! The interpretation that I got was that the kid was waiting for his dad to get home--the kid was going to shoot him. I don't know--I still listen to it, but now I just try to ignore the lyrics. Hopefully the kids out there just appreciate it for the tune playing in the background and not worry with the lyrics, just as I first did. I was really disappointed.
  • Lin from Houston, TxI find it comical that people are getting so worked up over the lyrics. Doesn't anyone remember "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen? It came out in 1980. It had violent lyrics, and obviously we survived. So ... chill out.
  • Max from Jersyville, Ili agree withyou people that think its dark but freely i just want to say that the lyrics are talking about the killing not to do it and yea it bothers me a little that little kids are able to take it the wrong way but think about it for a minute guys hes only singing about something that touched his soul.

    p.s. im sorry for you people who have shooters that come into your shcool on a random day and shoot at people.
  • Alberto from Quezon City, Philippines Whoever hates this song must be shot by his six shooter gun. I really love this song... i like everything about this song... it's intriguing due to its lyrics to me. I can't really live my day without listen on it. Perhaps, I've hanged out with this song 15 or more times a day. 'Pumped Up Kicks' is not the only song of Foster the People that makes me so gleeful, there are too many songs you could treat also as mysterious but nice-to-hear song. (i'd suggest Houdini... so motivating)
  • Matt from Richmond, VaYou guys are missing the deeper meaning behind this song. To say that the lyrics are stupid is an ignorant statement. You haven't taken the time to reflect on the message Foster the People is actually trying to get across. If you read BETWEEN the lines, you will see that the shooter is portrayed as an ordinary kid with personal struggles that, although may be pushed to the extreme, are identical to many that millions of American teens must deal with. You clearly don't have a sincere appreciation for music because you would see that this song has more meaning behind it than the majority of mainstream music does. The beauty of it is that it can be interpreted in more than one way, and if you are at all interested in why young adults resort to murdering their classmates and themselves, you will realize it is because of the moral depravity in our society. The shooter is a victim of society and society is a victim of itself.
  • Linda from Oakland, CaNo wonder why this song made it to mainstream radio. The chorus has one heck of a catchy melody. It's an otherwise oddly recorded song that I had to come here to look up the lyrics to because I couldn't hear a word they were singing.
  • Vicky from Howell, NjI don't get it! I hear people saying his lyrics are from the point of view of the outcast, bullied kid. Okaaaaaaayyyyyyy, so WHAT'S THE POINT? How are these lyrics HELPING those outcast kids? You say he's giving them a voice? What.. a threatening little chant to all the bully hipsters to watch their backs? Have we come so far in this country that we can't see anything wrong with this? Are we that desensitized? Don't you think that this song will facilitate thoughts and fantasies of revenge in the mind of a problem kid? But hey, who cares! It's a catchy tune right?
  • Wade from Katy, TxThis is a breath of fresh air in a smog of crappy, cliched pop music.

    But seriously, lol at all of the freak-outs and exaggerated interpretations.
  • Dixie from Kalamazoo, MiSo i know people are surprised by the lyrics, due to the upbeat melody- but that is exactly why this is beautiful. such a morbid thought with such an upbeat feeling. Like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind [points for who gets that reference]. Frankly, I cant stop listening.
  • Annie from Medford, OrFor all of you people who are trashing on this song just because of the lyrics, HAVE YOU EVEN READ THE STORY? I mean, sure. It's dark. It's scary. But do you really have to put down "the lyrics are f--king stupid". or "they made these bulls--t lyrics''. IT'S MUSIC. BE HAPPY YOU HAVE IT. It's a great song and it gets the point across to people that kids can hurt other kids! A kid SHOT another kid! THAT'S what this song is about. So if your going to trash on this BEAUTIFUL song, then go bit*h about Rebecca Black's songs then you'll have something better to do.
  • Jenny from La, CaI enjoy whistling along, this is a great song with a catchy tune.
  • Rich from Huntingdon, Payou people are missing the point. yes..it is a dark song. yes the lyrics are a little crazy. he is just trying to get in the head of what those kids are feeling before going on one of these rampages. their acts, none the less, are horrible and their is no excuse for violence...but can you imagine what these kids have been through to make them so angry? can you imagine what it could possibly be like to be tortured and ridiculed so bad to the point where all you want to do is kill everyone who caused problems for you? thats what foster the people is trying to do...not condone shootings and violence..but understand the way these kids are feeling before the shooting. this song, to me, has two meanings. yes, the shootings that have occured over the years is a horrible problem...but this song also touches on another major problem in our school systems..bullying. i personally LOVE this song and dont think they could of done it any better.
  • Israel from Laredo, TxThis song is amazing and such great lyric play as well! :D Its about time we get someone new who can actually write a song! :D I'm surprised no one has heard lyrics similar to this before? :P I mean chill. Lol listen to more music people.
  • Donna from San Diego, CaAnyone else hear a similarity between this song and "Dancing in the Moonlight" by King Harvest?
  • Elaine from Washington, Dc, DcI think it's sad....because I knew nothing about this song and I saw a little girl write a message to a friend on Facebook and ended it with "pumped up kicks" and for the longest time I thought that was a cute and happy way of expressing herself. Now, I'm sad and disturbed that there is such a sinister meaning to those words. I thought she was talking about making high kicks....you know....like gymnastics or cheerleading or just being a happy, little girl, you know? This band should realize the magnitude of their message and do they really want innocent little girls, or any children, quoting such dark, horrific messages? Now that I know, I ma haunted by her words and what she really meant by them. Does she know? Or is it just a "fun" song to her? That's messed up. :'(
  • Lisa from Bellevue, NeThe name of the shooter in the song is Robert, which is the name of the boy who went on a shooting spree at the Westroads in Omaha, NE. The only difference in the story is they say 6 shooter and he used an AK. He targeted the "selfish people who thought better of them selves'. People who had nice things. I love fairly close to the store where the shooting happened which was a high end clothing store. They were just people Christmas shopping. Every time I hear the song, it reminds me of those who were injured or died. Not something to write a happy sounding song about. He was a depressed boy who wanted revenge and fame.

    The melody is very catchy. Too bad they ruined it with the lyrics. There are enough kids like Robert in the world, they don't need a song to give them any ideas.
  • Rich from Brooklyn, NyI'm seeing them on Tuesday at Terminal so now I know what I'll be hearing...
  • Camille from Toronto, OhI agree with Susan from Airdrie: once I knew the lyrics I just couldn't get in to the song. Too bad. It has an 'other-worldly' sound but the words are off kilter. I also don't think the spoken part, which reminds me of Paula Cole's 'Where Have All the Cowboys Gone' and the Buggles 'Video Killed the Radio Star', well, it just doesn't blend with the chorus. They're like two separate songs. Only thing, if you hear this tune just once, it'll be playing a continuous loop in your head for a day or two.
  • Steve from Manhattan, NyAfter watching the video I think this song is about killing hipsers. This is ironic because the song is aimed at hipsters to listen to, and results in a song where the target can dance to their own death. The ultimate irony.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlI freakin' love this damn song! Listen to this on a daily basis. Love his voice and the bass in this. Lyrics are crazy but deep. Cant believe VH1 bleeps out "gun" and "bullet"! Really?! Just lyrics!!!
  • Allison from Omaha, NeI love this song simply for the music and meaning to it. There was a lot of rumors going around my school, Millard South, saying that it was about our school shooting. His name was Robert but Robert was also the name of the killer from Westroad Mall Shooting. I guess we might never know. I still live this song even though it has a really deep and somewhat scary meaning but I think we need to realize that this is what some teenagers are thinking and possibly doing....
  • Destiny from Henrico, VaDude i love this song the lyrics a sketch but the song is just so freaking good
  • Jennifer from Gilbert, AzOk so as of yesterday i finally know who sings this song and thanks to az lyrics i know the lyrics, and wow oh wow was i so surprised by them. And i agree with Susan A. they are very dark lyrics. The music is so wonderful it makes you want to get up and dance and have fun so kowtows to Mr mark Foster for coming up with such a ketch y tune, but my fear is that some kid might take this the wrong way. We don't want to per mote gun violence we want to stop it to bad he couldn't come up with bettor lyrics for such GREAT music.
  • Jeremy from Scottsdale, AzGreat song, yet not even their best song on the album. It's about a kid that has problems a lot of kids have, but finds his dad's gun and uses it... It is told from the kid's perspective as they've stated in many interviews, so idiots need to realize this before judging the lyrics. This story is told from an effed up teenager's perspective. I read elsewhere online that the specific event that inspired this song was the Westroads Mall Shooting in 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westroads_Mall_shooting
  • Casey from Glendale, AzI noticed when the video is played on TV that "Gun" and "Bullet" are edited out.
  • Ben from Rohnert Park, Cai really liked the song too till i listened closely and the lyrics are f--king stupid, "i dont even know what, but he's comin for you yea hes comin for you" i just think the song sounds like they had a good chorus but that was it then they made these bulls--t lyrics to fill up the rest of the space
  • Christina from Sacramento, Cai think hes talkin about me
  • Susan from Airdrie, -I liked this song 'til I listened closely to the lyrics. I just can't get into it now. It's too dark.
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