“Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People
“Pumped Up Kicks” is a song by Foster the People that is very well known for its dark, yet meaningful, lyrics. The lyrics refer to an isolated, psychotic child who wants to shoot “all the other kids with the pumped up kicks” in his life. Mark Foster, lead singer of Foster the People, has written this song to bring attention to the increase in gun violence among youth, which is caused by, he claims, "lack of family, lack of love, and isolation". Nowadays, school shootings are becoming dangerously common and are affecting more people than ever. Not only is “Pumped Up Kicks” influenced by the increasing trend of gun violence, but it is also influenced by personal events in the band members’ lives. Mark Foster himself had been bullied a lot in high school and bassist Cubbie Fink has a cousin who survived the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Fink said the following when asked about his cousin’s experience: "She was actually in the library when everything went down, so I actually flew out to be with her the day after it happened and experienced the trauma surrounding it and saw how affected she was by it. She is as close as a sister, so obviously, it affected me deeply. So to be able to have a song to create a platform to talk about this stuff has been good for us." The song kicks off, no pun intended, by telling us that child the song is about, Robert, is a “cowboy kid” and that Robert has “found a six-shooter gun in his dad's closet, with the box of fun things.” By describing Robert as a cowboy kid, Mark Foster is bringing up the issues of lack of family and love. Robert is isolated and, thus, succumbs to things like smoking a “rolled cigarette”. The “box of fun things” in which Robert finds the “six-shooter gun” can be seen as all the things Robert’s father uses to beat him with, which brings up the growing issue of child abuse. The song then goes to tell us that Robert is after “all...
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