Pumped Up Kicks Lyrics Meaning - Foster the People



Pumped Up Kicks Lyrics Meaning - Foster the People - 

[Verse 1]
Robert's got a quick hand
He'll look around the room, he won't tell you his plan
He's got a rolled cigarette
Hanging out his mouth, he's a cowboy kid
Yeah, he found a six-shooter gun
In his dad's closet, in the box of fun things
I don't even know what
But he's coming for you, yeah, he's coming for you

[Hook]
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
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

[Verse 2]
Daddy works a long day
He be coming home late, and he's coming home late
And he's bringing me a surprise
'Cause dinner's in the kitchen and it's packed in ice
I've waited for a long time
Yeah, the sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger
I reason with my cigarette
And say, "Your hair's on fire, you must've lost your wits", yeah

[Hook]
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
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

[Bridge]
Run, run, run, run
Run, run, run – run, run, run
Run, run, run – run, run, run
Run, run – run, run
Run, run, run, run, run!

[Hook]
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
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
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


Robert is an allusion to a mass murderer, but doesn’t refer to any specific Robert. The name is a metaphor for any kid about to explode with anger.

His dad is neglectful and probably violent and abusive (comes home late, frozen dinner, gun left at hand). Mom is not mentioned and probably gone – or dead.

Robert has disassociated himself from his peers and society in general. He’s the lone cowboy whistling as he rides along. As he tokes his “rolled cigarette” he notices the head of the joint is all fired up – just like his own mind. He realizes he has lost his reason.

The kids with the pumped up kicks are those whose lives are all together. He is extremely envious of them and has directed his anger toward his dad upon them.

They better run cause he’s got a gun.

The tone of the song juxtaposed against the dark lyrics mirrors what often occurs in this type of individual. Everything on the outside is fine, but within something is about to erupt.

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