Foster The People frontman Mark Foster has said that the band is ready to retire “Pumped Up Kicks.”
After its release in 2010, “Pumped Up Kicks” has been criticized for allegedly glorifying school shootings. Following the accusations, Foster responded saying to KROQ that it was written from the perspective of a mentally ill teenager, and was intended to condemn gun violence. In a new interview with Billboard, Foster explains that the band has considered retiring the track because of the dialogue around it.
“I can’t ask other people not to play it live, but the public made the song what it is – and if the song has become another symbol for something, I can’t control that,” Foster explains. “But I can control my involvement in it.”
I wrote that song in eight hours, and for me it wasn’t necessarily more special than any other song,” Foster continued. “The thing that made that song special was the public, and the fact that people thought it was special, and it resonated and it created a conversation. And I’m proud of the conversation that it created. But now I’ve been very seriously thinking of retiring the song forever.”
Foster then went on to discuss the school shooters that have reportedly identified with “Pumped Up Kicks,” saying:
“…Shootings have continued to happen, and I feel like there are so many people that have been touched, either personally or by proxy, by a mass shooting in this country – and that song has become almost a trigger of something painful they might have experienced. And that’s not why I make music. At some points I do make music to bring awareness to something, but I make music to connect with people, and I feel like the awareness that that song brought and the conversation that that song brought, that’s been fulfilled. We’re still talking about it 10 years later. It still gets brought up.
And I’ll tell you, that kid… what was his name, the Florida shooter? Nikolas Cruz. I read his journals, and he was talking to some journalist and he said, ‘Listen to ‘Pumped Up Kicks.” And there was a shooting in Brazil where the shooter had made ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ their anthem.”
Check out the full interview here.