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Best Songs Of 2010 #1

Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks

“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run faster than my bullet.”

My favourite song of the year was, surprisingly, a no-brainer. LA band Foster The People’s debut single, Pumped Up Kicks, is miles ahead of anything else I have heard this year both in terms of the lasting impact I can imagine it having on my playlists, and the number of times I have played, and loved, it this year alone. Truth is that from the moment I heard it, quite early on in the year, I knew it would most likely be sitting atop of this list.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed with the popular success the song has found in the last few months (everyone likes having that one hidden gem of a song), but I would be a fool for letting that stop me picking this as my favourite song.

Anyway, there are quite a few reasons why I think this song is kind of the best thing ever. Firstly, it’s the mixture between the breezy summer music and the very dark subject matter of the lyrics. While the style of the song is definitely your typical summer anthem, the lyrics are anything but, considering that they detail the story of teenage homicide. This contrast, while certainly nothing new, is pretty fascinating. Especially when happy whistling punctuates the whole murder story thing.

Also, I feel Foster The People have nailed the whole ‘lo-fi’ sound where so very many other bands have failed miserably (in my opinion) this year. They demonstrate that lo-fi doesn’t necessarily mean arbitrary noise and out of tune singing, it can just mean a lessened focus on sounding polished and letting the musicians do the talking. While there are certainly many elements and layers to this song, it sounds extremely raw and natural, which gives it a lot of charm.

It is summer in music form, but yet it is also so much more. I still remember the first time I heard this song, and it’s one of those tracks I can imagine listening to for a long, long time to come. For me this is pretty much musical perfection.

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