Pumped Up Kicks: Cheerful Tune or Stark Warning?

For my found poem, I chose to analyze the song Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. The song seems like a fun, entertaining tune but it has a deeper stark meaning. Foster the People wanted to bring school shootings to attention through the lyrics and even though it was recorded in 2010, it is still unfortunately prevalent in society today. To convey this hidden message, I chose to emit every time “pumped up kicks” came up. I didn’t want readers to automatically know the poem was about the song and wanted to build a story about the shooter himself.

I followed a pattern of introducing a situation on the left side of the paper, transitioning it in the middle, then stating the chorus on the right. I introduced Robert, or the shooter, and how he was an odd kid who found a gun. Then stated how he was coming for you, which I liked because it brings the reader in personally like it is affecting them. The next section I introduced his dad and how he works hard and comes home late yet transition it with Robert having a fatal surprise for him. I also changed the chorus each time. To begin I kept more words in and started it with “All the other kids” but then changed it to “All the kids” and finally ended it with “All kids.” I did this to show the progression and how the violence at first affects only a select few but can grow and grow to injure kids and families from everywhere.

Creating this I learned a lot in how to convey a specific message. I was able to take a song that many people listen to in a joyful mood and show them what it is really about and how it was produced almost a decade ago yet is still rampant in our society. It also relates to how desensitized we are to lyrics like this which again shows how school shootings and violence are part of our every-day lives.

4 Replies to “Pumped Up Kicks: Cheerful Tune or Stark Warning?”

  1. Hey Nevin,
    I enjoyed your found poem and the fact that a song that I actually like can convey such a strong message through the power of lyrics. Seeing the decline through the song as you’ve shown with the lyrics slowly transitioning from “all the other kids” to just “all the kids” and then finally “all kids” really hits the tone of how mass shootings at schools are still prevalent and well alive in today’s society more than ever. It truly can affect any school, any kid and at any moment and reflecting on that can be scary to a lot of young kids who may not be in safer living areas then others around the country, and even with safer living areas, their really is no safe place for anyone. I think it also brings light to how kids especially grow up and are treated based on a number of different aspects like their appearance, their family upbringing and the way their treated by other kids at school. Being in high school especially, kids can be rude and demeaning to one another and that pain builds up inside of a lot of people who are victims to harassment and bullying. It drives people to the edge and isn’t fair because we don’t know everybody’s story because we don’t walk in their shoes.

  2. Hey Nevin,
    I like how you decide to omit the words “pumped up kicks” from your poem. This helps the reader to not automatically associate this poem with the song which allows the reader to see the true compacity of the other words. I have heard this song many times before and never realized that it is about shootings. I like how you end the poem with “all the kids better run faster than my bullet.” This emphasizes how when it comes to shootings, and in particular school shootings, you can not pick and choose how to shoot. It is something that can affect everyone from the school shooter to the victim. By you emphasizing all the kids it is expressing how everyone is affected.

  3. Hey Nevin,
    I like how you showed that songs in pop culture can show strong and even sometimes terrifying messages. I like the word placement on the page and the way you didn’t use the whole sentence and just the very strong parts that describe the school shootings. I like how in the three times you put the part with kids I it you went from “all the other kids,” to “all the kids” and then to “all kids.” I thought this was very strong and even could signify what is happening in our country with more and more school shootings happening everyday.

  4. Hey Nevin,
    Like most people. upon first listening to the song I didn’t know what it was about and mostly just focused on the tune of the song instead of the words. It was only years later that I learned what the song truly was about and how it had the deeper meaning. I like how you used the word “desensitized” since this specific topic is still very prevalent in our society today and it truly is a glaring issue. I used a similar strategy when choosing my song for my found poem because sometimes it is important to listen what the lyrics are saying and what they mean.

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