Foster the People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ Joins YouTube’s Billion Views Club
The track hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2011.
Two years after Foster the People‘s 2010 hit “Pumped Up Kicks” hit a billion streams on Spotify, the track is adding yet another milestone. “Pumped Up Kicks” has officially joined YouTube’s Billion Views Club this week, more than 12 years after it was first shared to the platform.
The video features the original Foster the People lineup — ark Foster, Mark Pontious and Jacob Fink — performing the track live with a small audience in attendance. The video also features footage of the trio recording the song, hanging out with each other around town and surfing in full-body wetsuits on an overcast day.
“Pumped Up Kicks” was released as the first single from the group’s debut album, Torches, in 2010. The track, which goes into the mind of a homicidal youth named Robert, is the group’s most successful song to date. It spent a total of 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2011 and peaked at No. 3 on the chart, earning the group a Grammy nomination for best pop duo/group performance.
The track, however, wasn’t without its controversy. Due to the song’s intense lyrics, MTV censored the lines “outrun my gun” and “run faster than my bullet” in the track while playing its video on air, and the song later would be banned on certain radio stations throughout the United States following the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Speaking about the track’s ties to such a tragic event, Foster told Billboard in a 2021 interview for Torches‘ 10th-anniversary reissue that the song is “always going to mark an ugly truth about our society,” loosely comparing it to “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and its associations with the Vietnam War.
“A few years ago, I was seriously considering not playing it again because I never want to be a vessel that spreads pain, or reminds people of something traumatic. But the song made me realize… if artists stopped talking about ugly societal truths, then that means all those ideas are left to incubate inside people’s heads,” he explained, referring to when he told Billboard in 2019 he considered pulling the song from live shows. “It’s important that artist voices aren’t censored. Music, comedy, film, storytelling and dance are all forms of art that help relieve the pressures of society. If we close off pathways for people to be exposed to dark ideas, then we’re in danger of having real life consequences where people act out in a physical way.”
Revisit “Pumped Up Kicks” in the video below.