Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Pumped Up Kicks" Kicks

The radio stations have been playing the song "Pumped Up Kicks"  by a group called Foster the People ad nauseum lately.

Overplayed, yes, but it's just the type of song (or any art, for that matter) that I like.

The song's melody has a breezy, frothy pink bubblegum, summer singalong type of vibe. You don't notice the lyrics at first.

Then it hits you:

"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.”

The song is about some kid who feels put upon, and decides to massacre a lot of people with a gun.

No, I don't advocate violence. But I do love how contradictory the package is. Dark, grim lyrics set to a happy, mellow soundtrack.

So much of life is straightforward. Which is good. Who wants to be confused? But in entertainment and art, there's nothing better than starkly conflicting emotions.

One of my favorite songs is "Every Breath You Take" by The Police from way back in '83. A lot of people mistake the tune for a nice love song. And the melody suggests that. But it's from the perspective of a stalker, really. "Every breath you take/I'll be watching you."

And of course, many stalkers think they're creepy actions are love, or something but they're scary. A brillant song.

There's another song, by Elvis Costello, called "Watching the Detectives" It's got one of the best, contradictory lines in pop music: "She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake."

So, readers, do you have any other songs, or other types of art that fit this genre. Send in a comment. We'll dish.

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