Just for Kicks: Getting Acquainted with Foster the People

By Erica Martin and Dominique Wong, January 10, 2018

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American band Foster the People embark on a China tour this month to promote their third album, Sacred Hearts Club. The album’s hip-hop and electronic influences mark a departure from the band’s previous indie pop records, Torches and Supermodel. Although best known for the viral hit, ‘Pumped Up Kicks,’ there’s more to the band than sinister lyrics juxtaposed with sunny beats. Like the following.


FACTS

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  • The band’s original name was ‘Foster & the People,’ referring to frontman Mark Foster and his touring band members, but was constantly misheard as ‘Foster the People.’ The name struck a chord due to its inference of “taking care” of people and stuck.

  • Mark Foster’s one-time roommate was Brad Renfro, the former child star of The Client, who subsequently died from a heroin overdose at the age of 25.

  • ‘Pumped up Kicks’ was written during Foster’s stint as a commercial jingle writer at Mophonics.

  • The lyrics of ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ describe the homicidal thoughts of a troubled teen. Foster has told music outlets he wanted to “get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid” and “bring awareness” to the issue of gun violence among youth.


PLAYLIST

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Though ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ remains their most viral hit, here are five other Foster the People songs worth a listen.


‘Sit Next to Me’

The single from Foster the People’s new album, Sacred Hearts Club, is an effervescent electropop track about instant chemistry upon a first meeting.


‘Houdini’

This bassy, quirky song about wanting to disappear like the famous musician become the second hit on Torches after the success of ‘Pumped Up Kicks.’


‘Lotus Eater’


Like ‘Pumped Up Kicks,’ this peppy guitar track has deceptively dark lyrics. It chronicles being on a bad date, including the relatable refrain: ‘I’m sorry I was late, I didn’t want to come.’ 


‘Best Friend’

   
The most popular track from Foster the People’s sophomore album, 2012’s Supermodel, is a jazzy, horn-based song about the perils of partying with friends.  


‘Pay the Man’


The opening track of Sacred Hearts Club kicks off the tone of the album with a catchy, electronic beat paired with surreal, sinister lyrics.



Beijing: Jan 14, 8.30pm, RMB480-680. Tango, see event listing.
Shanghai: Jan 16, 8.30pm, RMB480-680. Modern Sky Lab, see event listing.
Guangzhou: Jan 20, 8pm, RMB380-580. Central Station, see event listing.
Shenzhen: Jan 21, 7pm, RMB380-580. Club Sector, see event listing.

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