A Look Behind the Meaning of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People

Origin of the Song:  Foster wrote "Pumped Up Kicks" to explore the troubling trend of teenage mental illness and its implications.

Character of Robert:  The song's protagonist, Robert, symbolizes troubled youth and the potential for violence due to untreated mental illness.

Symbolism of Shoes: "Pumped up kicks" refers to expensive sneakers, symbolizing social status and triggering jealousy among youth.

Evolution of Meaning: Initially addressing gun violence, Foster considers retiring the song due to its painful associations with mass shootings.

Debate on Retirement: Foster wrestles with the decision to retire "Pumped Up Kicks" as its continued relevance sparks painful memories for listeners.