By Taylyn Washington-Harmon
In light of the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, CT, one radio station pulled the Foster the People hit from the airwaves.
Believe it or not, Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” holds within its seemingly upbeat lyrics copious references to a school shooting. The controversial lyrics read: “He found a six-shooter gun in his dad’s closet, with the box of fun things/I don’t even know what, but he’s coming for you/Yeah, He’s coming for you!” The chorus continues with the theme: “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks/You better run, better run, outrun my gun/ All the other kids with the pumped up kicks/You better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”
Wow, Foster the People, who knew your catchy indie pop jingles could be so dark! And we thought Mark Foster was simply wailing about kids with shoes cooler than his. According to what Foster has said in past interviews, the singer/songwriter wanted to mimic the style of artists from the ’60s and ’70s by writing about issues of the day. Foster feels school shootings are an important and sensitive cultural issue, and he wanted to raise awareness about them through his music. “Pumped Up Kicks” was written well before Newtown, and Foster has confirmed the hit was influenced by past school shootings like those at Columbine and Virginia Tech.
I disagree with the song being pulled from the air for such reasons, but it’s important that we take a stand to prevent future gun violence of this nature. And it shouldn’t take it happening in our own backyard for us to talk about it. Kudos to you, Mark Foster.