In the wake of the Newtown, CT. shootings, three Atlanta stations have pulled Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” from rotation.
The song is written from the perspective of a troubled, isolated teen with homicidal thoughts. The lyrics warn people to “outrun my gun” and “you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”
Star 94 and Q100 both dropped the song immediately after the shooting. B98.5 last spun it once in the wee hours early Tuesday morning but has also taken the song off its playlist and it has not been heard in the daytime for a week.
The deceptively cheerful song was a huge hit in 2011, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Nationally, airplay of the song dropped by more than half after very steady airplay the previous few weeks.
Ke$ha’s No. 1 top 40 hit with the untimely title “Die Young” also saw sizable airplay drops after the shooting and has fallen to No. 3. As expected, drop offs were especially sharp in New York and New England. Locally, both Wild and Q100 stopped playing the song over the weekend but are now spinning it at a lower rate than it did last week. Power 96.1 continues to give “Die Young” high rotation airplay, 18 to 20 times a day.
Unlike “Pumped Up Kicks,” the song has nothing to do with actual murder. It’s simply a celebratory phrase of partying like you’re going to “die young.”
After 9/11, Clear Channel radio sent a list of 150 recommended songs not to play immediately after the disaster, including Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me” and Paul McCartney and Wings‘ “Live and Let Die.”