Skip to main content

The other night when I was driving back from Maryland, I heard a song on the radio with a great sound. The disc jockey never announces the titles of songs anymore, so I have to decode the titles myself. I deciphered a few words of the song, and wrote them down -- "all the other kids". When I got home I typed "lyrics" and "'all the other kids'" into google, and learned that the title of the song is Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People.

I opened another browser and went to youtube, and typed in "Pumped Up Kicks." The song has a great tune, an upbeat drum and a heavy bass. The lead singer has an eerie, compelling voice. A cheery whistle is interspersed between the verses. This is a song that everyone is going to want to dance to.

I went back to my first browser to read the words. The lyrics, in contrast to the upbeat tune, tell a dark story of a boy who found his father's gun in the closet and plans to take it to school to kill "all the other kids." The cheery lyrics tell the kids they "better run, better run, faster than my bullet."

I don't know how to process my feelings about this song. While the sound of the song is one of the best I've heard, the lyrics make me feel a little sick. Those kids in their "pumped up kicks" could have been my son when he was 12 years old, wearing his first pair of Nike Airs. I can't help thinking of how hearing this song will make the parents of the children who were killed or injured at Columbine or Virginia Tech feel.

I do think the song is true art because of the conflicting emotions it arouses. The song reminds me of A Clockwork Orange with the psychopathic Alex singing Singing in the Rain.

I just wish the artists had used their great talent to do some good in the world.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 08:44:35 PM PDT

  •  I understand your (8+ / 0-)

    point.  The song has a really catchy sound but as you've indicated, the lyrics and hook are a bit unnerving and disturbing.

    From Songfacts site, Mark Foster of Foster the People explained the meaning of the song here.

    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."

    Ancora Imparo. ("I am still learning.") - Michelangelo, Age 87

    by Dreaming of Better Days on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 09:02:05 PM PDT

  •  Not the first such song (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamieG from Md, zhimbo

  •  another "solve it with a gun" song... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    Dum, dum, dum, honey what have you done?
    Dum, dum, dum it's the sound of my gun.
    Dum, dum, dum, honey what have you done?
    Dum, dum, dum it's the sound

    Janie's got a gun
    Janie's got a gun
    Her whole world's come undone
    From lookin' straight at the sun
    What did her daddy do?
    What did he put you through?
    They said when Janie was arrested
    they found him underneath a train
    But man, he had it comin' Now that Janie's got a gun
    she ain't never gonna be the same.

    Janie's got a gun
    Janie's got a gun
    Her dog day's just begun
    Now everybody is on the run
    Tell me now it's untrue.
    What did her daddy do?
    He jacked a little bitty baby
    The man has got to be insane
    They say the spell that he was under the lightning and the
    thunder knew that someone had to stop the rain

    Run away, run away from the pain yeah, yeah yeah yeah
    Run away run away from the pain yeah yeah
    From:
    yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
    Run away, run away, run, run away

    Janie's got a gun
    Janie's got a gun
    Her dog day's just begun
    Now everybody is on the run
    What did her daddy do?
    It's Janie's last I.O.U.
    She had to take him down easy and put a bullet in his brain
    She said 'cause nobody believes me. The man was such a sleeze.
    He ain't never gonna be the same.

    Run away, run away from the pain yeah, yeah
    yeah yeah yeah
    Run away run away from the pain yeah yeah
    yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
    Run away, run away, run, run away

    Janie's got a gun
    Janie's got a gun
    Janie's got a gun
    Everybody is on the run

    Janie's got a gun
    Her dog day's just begun
    Now everybody is on the run
    Because Janie's got a gun
    Janie's got a gun
    Her dog day's just begun
    Now everybody is on the run
    Janie's got a gun

    "Calm down? Dude, I'm fucking shot, a ground beef patty attacked my face, and I'm going to break out now because you poured olive oil on me."

    by Ramdove on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 04:31:36 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site