‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and ‘The Only Exception’…Haunted Songs? -Grace

These songs seem very light, correct? Well, as long as you didn’t look into the lyrics anyway! Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People is a very good song, but with dark lyrics. The Only Exception seems like an average song as well, but when the lyrics are interpreted, it doesn’t seem as nice.

In Pumped Up Kicks, when it says ‘Robert’s got a quick hand’, that’s referring to him being good at shooting a gun. He also says that he’s looking around the room. This is probably moments before his dad comes in, and then it goes on to say ‘he won’t tell you his plan’, referring to the fact he’s about to shoot his dad, or someone else, because when you’re looking around the room and not telling anyone your plan, you’ve obviously got something bad on your mind. Then the song says he’s got a rolled-up cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth, probably indicating that he’s getting high. Also, when it says he found a gun in a box of ‘fun’ things, most interpretations say that it’s referring to drugs. And then, the song goes on to say ‘he’s comin’ for you, yeah he’s comin’ for you,’ indicating that this crazy killer is going to come after you!

The chorus, when it says ‘all the other kids with the pumped up kicks’ is saying that all the ‘popular’ kids, you know, the ones with the expensive shoes and clothes better watch out, because he’s going to come and shoot them(better run, better run, outrun my gun…better run better run, faster than my bullet).

You may infer that the dad gets drunk after work when the song says that ‘Daddy works a long day, and he’s comin’ home late, yeah he’s comin’ home late.’ This refers to the dad, after  a long day of work, going out to a bar and getting drunk. You can get abuse out of the song when it says ‘and he’s bringin’ me a surprise’, referring to a beating, or some other type of abuse.  The dinner on ice part could refer to that dinner is made, but had to be put in the fridge so it didn’t spoil, or numerous other things. When it says ‘I’ve waited for a long time’, that could refer to he’s been waiting for the moment to kill these people for quite a while now. The part where it says that “the sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger” could refer to the fact that this Robert guy has been practicing shooting his gun. Then, it says that he reasons with his cigarette and says ‘your hair’s on fire, you must have lost your wits, yeah’, referring to the fact that this guy is most likely high.

The song then just repeats the chorus, telling the popular kids that they better run. So-the song. Haunted or not? Yes, it is haunted. Haunted by the fact that this kid is kind of an outcast, abused by his dad, and now he’s going  crazy, getting high, then going off to kill people. Definitely haunted.

Link to video with lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oLzX0RPquk

The Only Exception is about a girl who saw her parents get divorced, and it’s now changed her view on love. It says that ‘When I was younger, I saw my daddy cry and curse at the wind, he broke his own heart and I watched as he tried to reassemble it’, saying that he had caused many fights with his wife and it tore their marriage apart. It then goes on to say that her mother swore she’d never let herself forget what had happened that day and made her daughter promise to never fall in love if it doesn’t exist, which the girl did. So, this basically made the girl think that love doesn’t really exist

She then sings the chorus, repeating the saying ‘but you, are, the only exception’, saying that she found a guy that is helping her get past this. But then, she goes on to say that maybe love doesn’t exist, and that everyone has to find ways to make it through the rest of their lives completely alone, so she’s still haunted by her parents’ lost love, and feels that she can’t love anyone/love doesn’t exist, period. She then goes on to say that she’s always lived life without love, kept away from it, because she thought it didn’t exist and she was content with loneliness, up until that moment, because she thought that non-existent love wasn’t worth the risk.

The chorus then comes on again and says that this person, is, once again, the only exception to her feelings  about love not existing. She says that she has a tight grip on reality-probably referring to the fact that she ‘knows’ love doesn’t exist. Then the song goes ‘But I can’t let go of what’s in front of me here’, saying that she wants to believe love exists, that she’s trying to believe this. Then, she says ‘I know you’re leaving in the morning when you wake up/leave me with some kind of proof it’s not a dream, oh’ , this says that she believes that this guy, who’s the only exception for her, will leave her in the morning before she even wakes up, and she wants proof that she wasn’t dreaming this guy, that what she was feeling is real. It then repeats the chorus twice, and then adds on ‘And I’m on my way to believing/Oh, and I’m on my way to believing’, saying that she’s really close to finally believing that love does exist, that it’s not just some made-up thing. Now, is this song haunted or not? Yes, this song is haunted by her parents’ divorce, it’s made her believe that love doesn’t exist, and she’ll never truly experience it.

Link to video with lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwzM0Mghmlg

In conclusion, these songs are very similar. Yes, they’re about different things, but they both have dark pasts behind them. Pumped Up Kicks has an implied past of the protagonist in the song suffering abuse and bullying in his younger years and he just isn’t able to take it anymore. The Only Exception has a past of the girl seeing her parents go through a divorce and getting that image stuck in her head so much that she now believes love doesn’t, never has, and never will exist. So, although the pasts are very different in the songs, they both have sad pasts implied in the lyrics.



9 thoughts on “‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and ‘The Only Exception’…Haunted Songs? -Grace

  1. tamariglitters says:

    You make a lot of great points in this blog and I think you analyzed the songs really well. Pumped Up Kicks really IS a creepy song and you showed that so well! However, the formatting could be better. Separating your text blocks into at least two or three more paragraphs would make it much easier to read and enjoy. 🙂 Also, a conclusion to tie the two different songs together would be nice.

  2. You’ve got some fascinating material here, Grace! However, i do have a few suggestions. First off, large blocks of text are very difficult to focus on. This would be much more readable if it was separated into shorter paragraphs. Also, your writing seems a little unprofessional. You’re lacking a little Ethos here. This writing is very conversational, which, while not always a bad thing, doesn’t help in an informative piece. You seem to be more listing points as they come to you than anything. Other than that though, you’ve got some great content. Good job! 🙂

  3. feiwenli says:

    These are two of my favorite all time songs. You brought the deeper meanings of them to the surface and made them much easier to understand. – Edith

  4. Genevieve Fell says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post! You did a great job of looking into the meanings of the lyrics, and seeing things I missed when I listened to the song myself!
    –Genevieve Fell

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