You would have to be living under a rock to have not heard of Foster the people or their debut single Pumped up kicks, considering the crossover hit has taken over the radio and billboard charts in recent months, not to mention appearances in movies like Friends with Benefits and shows like Gossip Girl. And just as with any other popular single, even an alternative hit like Pumped up kicks, there are plenty of people who want to sing their own version. Join Red Karaoke as we take a look at this sleeper success and its many covers, and help us decide… who sang it best?
Though Pumped up kicks is currently riding the radio to the top of the charts, Foster the people actually wrote the single as a demo intended for their EP, with frontman Mark Foster imagining the first recording to be nothing more than a practice version, not the final version that would appear on their first studio album Torches.
Foster explained in an interview that the song, describing the thoughts of a homicidal youth with an upbeat bassline and electronic beat, that he “was trying to get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid” and that the lyrics were written to “bring awareness to the issue of gun violence amongst youth, which he feels is an epidemic perpetuated by lack of family, lack of love, and isolation.” Whatever the message is, Pumped up kicks certainly is getting stuck in people’s head.
But whose heads exactly? Well, lead singer of Weezer, Rivers Cuomo is among fans. Having met Foster nine years before Pumped up kicks, Cuomos happened to have a guitar at the chance meeting and tought Foster to play Say it ain’t so. Now, nearly a decade later, Cuomo has covered Foster’s hit during Weezer’s 2011 US tour, a “wild” experience for Foster.
Weezer wasn’t the only big name to put their spin on the radio hit. The Kooks, not straying too far from their own genre, performed their own version of Pumped up kicks for BBC back in September, and we have to say, it was pretty darn good. Almost as good as Jimmy Fallon’s late night rendition of the single, while impersonating David Bowie. Weird, but amazing.
All of these crazy versions of Pumped up kicks“>Pumped up kicks have our ears reeling, but which is the best? Tell us who you think sang Pumped up kicks better in the forum, or share your own rendition and see if you can give Foster the people a run for their money.