What does Pumped Up Kicks mean?

Search Login

Foster the People: Pumped Up Kicks Meaning

Song Released: 2010

Get "Pumped Up Kicks" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon

Pumped Up Kicks Lyrics

Robert's got a quick hand
He'll look around the room
He won't tell you his plan
He's got a rolled cigarette
Hanging out of his mouth he's a cowboy kid
Yeah found a six-shooter gun
In his dad's closet hidden in a box of fun things, I don't...

  1. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 6th 2011 report

    My interpretation of this song is this little boy gets bullied and the pumped up kicks are the kids that made fun of and bullied him.

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 5th 2011 report

    This song is about the Shooting at a Highschool in Omaha Nebraska that happened not long ago. The boys name was Robert and did everything the song says he did.

  3. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 5th 2011 report

    Its about a killing that happened in 2007.
    There was a kid and he was abused at home and was sick of it. They hit him and beat him and stuff.
    So he got a gun and went to the mall and shot 9 people, including his stepdad (who abused him)
    So hes like telling the other kids "better run better run, faster than my gun"
    So just put 2007 mall shooting like ohio or something its somewhat based on that.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 4th 2011 report

    This song is about one or more outcast teenage boys who are at least thinking about shooting other teenagers, probably at school. (The fact that the lyrics switch from 3d person to 1st person suggests that more than one is involved.) "Pumped up kicks" is a radio-friendly euphemism for "fucked up shit," which shows the speaker's distain for those he/they are shooting or at least thinking about shooting. Probably because of the way the speaker perceieves the treatment he's received from the other kids.

    The verse about the speaker's father reflects the general lack of parental supervision (and attention) that the speaker gets. No mother is mentioned. The allusion to the father's dinner being packed in ice may be to dinner consisting only of beer, or may be to something more sinister. "Daddy's bringing me a surprise" may speak to the father's unpredictable temper, or may reflect the father's attempt to make up for not spending time with his son by bringing him gifts instead.

    The disconnect between the upbeat music and the dark lyrics reflects the speaker's disconnection with reality, which is leading him to at least contemplate shooting up "all you other kids with your fucked up shit."

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 3rd 2011 report

    I think the kid is rebelious and looks through his drunkards dad box of personal items and finds pot or something and he goes dllosional . He is mad at the cool kids and,heck, hes got a gun now! He thinks hes gonna shoot em all and is really high at the moment. He calms down and fiddles with the joint thinking man, my head feels like the tip of the joint, burning! I m going insane.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 1st 2011 report

    "pumped up kicks" are expensive sneakers that kids wear. so when it says "All the kids with the pumped upkicks better run better run, out run my gun." It is really just saying "All the popular kids better run from the kid that is jelous, and brought a gun."

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 1st 2011 report

    It kinda sounds like the columbine shootings.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 1st 2011 report


    It's about a guy named robert who shot 9 people in a luxurious mall.

  9. candylover99
    click a star to vote
    Oct 1st 2011 report

    Yeah I think pumped up kicks is a kind of expensive, really popular shoes (atleast in the late 80s-early 90s.) so the rich kids probably wore them and discluded "Robert." meanwhile they mention how the dad is often gone, even somewhat abusive (mom not mentioned.) "Robet's" got nothing to do but let his imagination run wild. He's got a rolled cigarette and he's imagining he's a cowboy. Next he finds daddy's six-shooter gun. This "Robet", whos disturbed other wise, plus scarred from his dads abuse, now has a source of power... A gun. so typically, he goes after the rich kids who teased him; the ones with the pumped up kicks. This what I think, not sure if it's true or not but I do know the song has to do with shoes and shooting lol ;)

  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 29th 2011 report

    It is about a kid going into a school that had better shoes than him so he shot them. A couple people told me about how it happened somewhere.

  11. candylover99
    click a star to vote
    Sep 29th 2011 report

    Well so when I first heard this song I thought it was really catchy. I couldn't really understand exactly what they were saying in the song so I looked up the lyrics. At first that really creeped me out, I found it really disturbing, especialy when they put creepy words to a catchy beat. But I also understand it kind of...
    It starts off saying: "Robert's got a quick hand, he'll look around the room he won't tell you his plans"
    this is basicly saying he's shifty, not to be trusted, even. His name's also Robert, does this ring a bell?!?
    (Robert was the name of someone who shot lots of people, by the way)
    The song continues to say "he's got a rolled cigarette" and "he found a six-shooter gun."
    you can pretty much infer at this point, someone's gonna get shot.
    It mentions: "all the other kids with the pumped up kicks, better run, better run, outrun my gun, all the other kids with the pumped up kicks, better run, better run, faster than my bullet,"
    signifies that he'd like to shoot the popular kids.
    the song also hints that his dad was some what abusive, and that he's thinking about shooting him, too. a dark, sad song about a disturbed boy, put to a catchy beat. A little odd? I thought so, but you can't deny the catchyness. The song also has meaning, it explains the killer's point of view, and it makes you think. Creepy, but a good song.

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 26th 2011 report

    Robert is an allusion to a mass murderer, but doesn’t refer to any specific Robert. The name is a metaphor for any kid about to explode with anger.

    His dad is neglectful and probably violent and abusive (comes home late, frozen dinner, gun left at hand). Mom is not mentioned and probably gone – or dead.

    Robert has disassociated himself from his peers and society in general. He’s the lone cowboy whistling as he rides along. As he tokes his “rolled cigarette” he notices the head of the joint is all fired up – just like his own mind. He realizes he has lost his reason.

    The kids with the pumped up kicks are those whose lives are all together. He is extremely envious of them and has directed his anger toward his dad upon them.

    They better run cause he’s got a gun.

    The tone of the song juxtaposed against the dark lyrics mirrors what often occurs in this type of individual. Everything on the outside is fine, but within something is about to erupt.

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 22nd 2011 report


    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 22nd 2011 report

    It could be a specific robert, but It directly involves a confused young man on a shooting rampage mad at all of the other kids and their cool air pump Nikes.

  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 21st 2011 report

    I think this is about a boy whos momma died and all hes got is his dad. But his dad is a failure whos a drunk. All hes got is his friend the little cigarette. He takes out his sadness by shooting with the gun his dad left to kids who have loving families. I feel bad for " Robert" I LOVE this song.


More Foster the People song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Jolene anonymous
1 Night anonymous
Hide Away anonymous
How to Love anonymous
Twilight Zone anonymous
Careful with That Axe, Eugene anonymous
Ain't It Fun anonymous
Mad Hatter anonymous
Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks anonymous
London Beckoned Songs about Money Written by Machines anonymous
Yellow Flicker Beat anonymous
Lemon Tree anonymous
Carry on Wayward Son anonymous
Immigrant Song anonymous
Different world anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

We Wouldn't Be Us
Alexandra Kay
Better Than You’re Used To
Tyler Rich
I Can't
Caitlyn Smith
Best Parts Of Me
Will Dempsey
Nathaniel Rateliff
To Be Loved By You
Parker McCollum
Cover Me In Sunshine
Charlotte Cardin