Forgetting the Lyrics

As I get older (32 now) it is harder to keep up with new bands because I’m busy with other stuff.  When I look at iTunes a part of me is going who are these people?

This weekend, I made an intentional effort to keep up with music culture by watching some videos and performances by popular bands.  The number 2 song on iTunes is by a band called “Foster The People”.  Their song, “Pumped Up Kicks” has been popular for a while now and is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and randomly comes up throughout your day.  I’ve heard the song several times before, but never seen the band perform.  Jen and I watched a performance they were doing on TV this past week.  A pretty unique band – kinda seemed like the cast of Napoleon Dynamite if they were in a band.

The hook is extremely catchy.  I said to Jennifer I know they are talking about running from something because the lyric is “all the other kids in the pumped up kicks better run”, but from what?  Finally we caught that these kids were running from a gun or a bullet!  Not what I had expected from a song with this tempo.

The band talks about the meaning behind the song here.  You can find the lyrics – here.  I think the best way to understand the song is this quote from the band – “The song is about a teenage kid that is trapped, isolated, and basically hates his life. So he’s pretty much fantasizing going on a killing spree.”

Double Standard – After figuring out what the song was about Jen said, “A student that writes a song like that and sings it at school would be suspended.”  That kid would be the talk of the school and parents would be scared of them, but how many schools have allowed this song to be played by a DJ at homecoming dances?

Disconnect – If your teenager copied the lyrics from this song into their diary, you’d probably have a talk with them.  I think most parents would be concerned and this would begin a process of talking to counselors, pastors, school officials, etc.  However, this song is #2 on iTunes which means many have allowed their kids to buy the song and put it on their iPod.

I don’t know the band or what they stand for.  I was just surprised that this song was about a teen going on a killing spree at his school.  Certainly it’s not the first song like that considering Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” was a huge hit almost 20 years ago.  We live in a great country that allows them the freedom to make this type of music, but it doesn’t mean that its healthy for a minor to listen to especially without parental knowledge.   It was just a reminder to me that we need to pay attention to the lyrics of songs.  If my child was feeling isolated at school – I wouldn’t want them listening to this song.  If my student was being bullied, I don’t think this song would help the situation.

I know many parents have bigger battles to face than the lyrics that teens are listening to, but this is something that parents should be aware of in their teens life.

What are you doing to monitor the music your kids listen to?

Do you know whats on their iPod?


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