Top 30 Songs for February 28-March 6, 2021

  1. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (2)
  2. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (1)
  3. DIRTY – grandson (3)
  4. COLD – Chris Stapleton (5)
  5. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (6)
  6. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (8)
  7. 1ST TIME – Bakar (9)
  8. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby(10)
  9. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (12)
  10. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (11)
  11. FIRE – Two Feet (15)
  12. SOFIA – Clairo (14)
  13. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (4)
  14. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (7)
  15. SLEEP – The Frontier (17)
  16. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (18)
  17. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (13) 20th week on list
  18. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (16)
  19. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (21)
  20. LET DOWN – Michigander (27)
  21. SHAME – Saboteurs (23)
  22. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (25)
  23. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (26)
  24. GOOD DAYS – SZA (24)
  25. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (29)
  26. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (30)
  27. SATISFIED – Skar de Line (22)
  28. LEAVE ME ALONE – I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (19)
  29. BROKEN PEOPLE – almost monday (20)
  30. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 21-27, 2021

  1. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (1) 3rd week #1
  2. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (2)
  3. DIRTY – grandson (3)
  4. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (4)
  5. COLD – Chris Stapleton (12)
  6. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (6)
  7. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (5)
  8. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (8)
  9. 1ST TIME – Bakar (9)
  10. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (10)
  11. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (11)
  12. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (15)
  13. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (7)
  14. SOFIA – Clairo (16)
  15. FIRE – Two Feet (17)
  16. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (13)
  17. SLEEP – The Frontier (19)
  18. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (20)
  19. LEAVE ME ALONE – I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (14)
  20. BROKEN PEOPLE – almost monday (18)
  21. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (25)
  22. SATISFIED – Skar de Line (23)
  23. SHAME – Saboteurs (24)
  24. GOOD DAYS – SZA (27)
  25. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (28)
  26. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (29)
  27. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (21)
  28. LET DOWN – Michigander (N)
  29. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (N)
  30. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 14-20, 2021

  1. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (1)
  2. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (23)
  3. DIRTY – grandson (6)
  4. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (5)
  5. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (2)
  6. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (8)
  7. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (3)
  8. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (10)
  9. 1ST TIME – Bakar (11)
  10. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (13)
  11. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (14)
  12. COLD – Chris Stapleton (15)
  13. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (4)
  14. LEAVE ME ALONE – I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (7)
  15. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (17)
  16. SOFIA – Clairo (16)
  17. FIRE – Two Feet (22)
  18. BROKEN PEOPLE – almost monday (18)
  19. SLEEP – The Frontier (20)
  20. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (21)
  21. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (9)
  22. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (12)
  23. SATISFIED – Skar de Line (19)
  24. SHAME – Saboteurs (25)
  25. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (27)
  26. HEADSTART – Jade Bird (24)
  27. GOOD DAYS – SZA (28)
  28. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (29)
  29. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (30)
  30. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (26) 22nd week on list

Top 30 Songs for February 7-13, 2021

  1. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (3)
  2. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (2)
  3. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (1)
  4. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (6)
  5. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (7)
  6. DIRTY – grandson (8)
  7. LEAVE ME ALONE – I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (9)
  8. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (10)
  9. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (4)
  10. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (11)
  11. 1ST TIME – Bakar (12)
  12. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (5)
  13. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (14)
  14. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (13)
  15. COLD – Chris Stapleton (16)
  16. SOFIA – Clairo (15)
  17. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (23)
  18. BROKEN PEOPLE – almost monday (19)
  19. SATISFIED – Skar de Line (20)
  20. SLEEP – The Frontier (21)
  21. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (22)
  22. FIRE – Two Feet (25)
  23. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (27)
  24. HEADSTART – Jade Bird (18)
  25. SHAME – Saboteurs (26)
  26. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (17) 21st week on list
  27. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (29)
  28. GOOD DAYS – SZA (30)
  29. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (N)
  30. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (N)

Top 30 Songs for Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, 2021

  1. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (1)
  2. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (3)
  3. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (4)
  4. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (2)
  5. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (5)
  6. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (6)
  7. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (7)
  8. DIRTY – grandson (8)
  9. LEAVE ME ALONE – I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (9)
  10. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (11)
  11. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (12)
  12. 1ST TIME – Bakar (13)
  13. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (15)
  14. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuing DaBaby (18)
  15. SOFIA – Clairo (16)
  16. COLD – Chris Stapleton (17)
  17. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (10) 20th week on list
  18. HEADSTART – Jade Bird (19)
  19. BROKEN PEOPLE – almost monday (21)
  20. SATISFIED – Skar de Line (22)
  21. SLEEP – The Frontier (23)
  22. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (24)
  23. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (29)
  24. SHAME SHAME – Foo Fighters (14)
  25. FIRE – Two Feet (30)
  26. SHAME – Saboteurs (28)
  27. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (N)
  28. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (20)
  29. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (N)
  30. GOOD DAYS – SZA (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 24-30, 2021

  1. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (2)
  2. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (1)
  3. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (4)
  4. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (5)
  5. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (3)
  6. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (8)
  7. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (9)
  8. DIRTY – grandson (10)
  9. LEAVE ME ALONE – I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (11)
  10. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (6)
  11. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (12)
  12. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (13)
  13. 1ST TIME – Bakar (14)
  14. SHAME SHAME – Foo Fighters (7)
  15. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (16)
  16. SOFIA – Clairo (17)
  17. COLD – Chris Stapleton (18)
  18. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (N)
  19. HEADSTART – Jade Bird (23)
  20. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (15)
  21. BROKEN PEOPLE – almost monday (24)
  22. SATISFIED – Skar de Line (25)
  23. SLEEP – The Frontier (28)
  24. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (29)
  25. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (20) 22nd week on list
  26. SURVIVIN’ – Bastille (22)
  27. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (19)
  28. SHAME – Saboteurs (30)
  29. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (N)
  30. FIRE – Two Feet (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 17-23, 2021

  1. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (1) 3rd week #1
  2. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (3)
  3. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (4)
  4. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (5)
  5. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (6)
  6. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (2)
  7. SHAME SHAME – Foo Fighters (7)
  8. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (9)
  9. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (10)
  10. DIRTY – grandson (11)
  11. LEAVE ME ALONE – I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (12)
  12. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (13)
  13. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (14)
  14. 1ST TIME – Bakar (15)
  15. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (8)
  16. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (19)
  17. SOFIA – Clairo (20)
  18. COLD – Chris Stapleton (22)
  19. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (16)
  20. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (17) 21st week on list
  21. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (18)
  22. SURVIVIN’ – Bastille (21)
  23. HEADSTART – Jade Bird (23)
  24. BROKEN PEOPLE – almost monday (24)
  25. SATISFIED – Skar de Line (27)
  26. MY WAY, SOON – Greta Van Fleet (26)
  27. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring iann dior (25)
  28. SLEEP – The Frontier (30)
  29. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (N)
  30. SHAME – Saboteurs (N)

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #16: “Sit Next to Me” by Foster the People

The song at #16 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is the beautiful “Sit Next to Me” by Los Angeles-based alternative pop-rock band Foster the People. Their third song on this list – “Coming of Age” appears at #65, and “Pumped Up Kicks” at #23 – it’s my favorite of their many wonderful songs. The third single from their third album Sacred Hearts Club, “Sit Next to Me” was released in July 2017 and was a sleeper hit. It debuted on the Billboard Alternative chart that September, and slowly climbed until peaking at #3 in early 2018, then remained on the chart until September 2018! It peaked at only #42 on the Hot 100 in the spring of 2018, but was ranked as the #2 song of 2018 on the Alternative chart. It reached #1 on my Weekly Top 30 at the end of 2017, but remained on my chart for many weeks well into 2018 too. I never tired of hearing it, and my Spotify Wrapped report for 2018 showed that it was my most-streamed song that year.

Isom Innis, Mark Foster, Mark Pontius & Sean Cimino

Song intros are important in setting the tone for a song, and “Sit Next to Me” has one of the most enthralling openings of any song I’ve ever heard, immediately hooking me in. It starts with a delicate shimmery synth and Mark Foster’s ethereal vocal, then opens into a breezy ballad loaded with gorgeous sweeping synths, subtle guitar and Mark Pontius’ perfect drumbeats. I love Foster’s vulnerable vocal style that includes lots of soaring falsettos and beautiful harmonic choruses.

The song was inspired by his time spent in the L.A. bar scene. Foster explained in an interview with Rolling Stone: “Everyone was trying to look cool, say the right thing and be at the center of the universe. It was like a fashion show. In that environment, I felt alone in a room packed with people. I kept waiting for someone authentic to come walk through the door and sit next to me.” About the song’s slow rise and longevity, he stated: “I’m just kinda shocked. It’s kind of crazy to me that it’s been on the radio for so long and it keeps continuing to grow. I guess it’s a sleeper.”

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #23: “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People

The song at #23 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Pumped Up Kicks” by Los Angeles-based alternative pop-rock band Foster the People. The second song by them on this list (“Coming of Age” ranks at #65), “Pumped Up Kicks” was their debut single, and became their breakthrough hit and one of the most popular songs of 2011. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, spending eight weeks at that spot, and was the #1 song of 2011 on the Alternative chart. The track was later included on both their self-titled EP and their marvelous debut album Torches

“Pumped Up Kicks” has a breezy and upbeat synth-driven melody accompanied by cheerful whistling, in sharp contrast to the dark lyrics describing the thoughts of a troubled and delusional youth who’s contemplating shooting up his high school. Mark Foster wrote and recorded the song in about five hours, playing all the instruments himself and arranging and editing it using music software. He also electronically altered his vocals, giving them a menacing, almost creepy vibe. The demo he recorded was ultimately the version of the song the band released. He posted the song on his website as a free download in early 2010, and after Nylon magazine used it in an online advertising campaign, and an influential German music blogger shared it on his website, the song grew in popularity.

Foster later told CNN.comI wrote ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ when I began to read about the growing trend in teenage mental illness. I wanted to understand the psychology behind it because it was foreign to me. It was terrifying how mental illness among youth had skyrocketed in the last decade. I was scared to see where the pattern was headed if we didn’t start changing the way we were bringing up the next generation.” He wanted to raise awareness of gun violence among disaffected youth. The subject also hit close to home for the band. Foster was bullied in high school, while then-bassist Cubbie Fink has a cousin who survived the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. The song was temporarily pulled from several radio stations after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. And in a recent interview with Billboard, Foster stated he continues to wrestle with the song’s legacy in light of the ongoing epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S., and is considering retiring the song and no longer performing it in their shows.

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 his mouth
He’s a cowboy kid

Yeah he found a six-shooter gun
In his dad’s closet, boy, in a box of fun things
I don’t even know what
But he’s coming for you, yeah he’s coming for you

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet

Daddy works a long day
He be coming home late, he’s coming home late
And he’s bringing me a surprise
‘Cause dinner’s in the kitchen and it’s packed in ice

I’ve waited for a long time
Yeah the sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger
I reason with my cigarette
Then say, “Your hair’s on fire, you must’ve lost your wits, yeah?”

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet

The lighthearted video does not make reference to the dark subject, instead showing scenes of the band performing the song and having fun and socializing.

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #65: “Coming of Age” by Foster the People

The song at #65 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Coming of Age” by Los Angeles-based alternative pop-rock band Foster the People. Though I really liked their debut single “Pumped Up Kicks” a lot (it appears later on this list), it was their beautiful, introspective song “Coming of Age” that made me fall in love with them, and they’ve been one of my favorite bands ever since. I saw them in concert at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium in November 2014, and a photo I took of them has remained as my Twitter header pic since I created my account in August 2015. A few months after creating my account, I was pleasantly shocked when Foster the People followed me back, most likely because band front man Mark Foster saw his band pictured on my Twitter page.

Hard as it is to believe, prior to hearing “Coming of Age” upon its release in January 2014, I was unaware of any of their other songs besides “Pumped Up Kicks”. I’ve previously mentioned my musical awakening when I discovered the Billboard Alternative Chart in late summer of 2013, and when I saw “Coming of Age” appear on that chart, I naturally had to check it out, and instantly loved it. I then searched for more of their music and discovered their fantastic debut album Torches, which in addition to “Pumped Up Kicks” was filled with great songs like “Helena Beat”, Houdini”, “Call it What You Want” and “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)”. When Foster the People released their second album Supermodel that March, I purchased it along with Torches, and had both on repeat for the rest of 2014.

“Coming of Age” was inspired by Foster’s experience and introspection after two years of touring with the band, and was actually the last song to be written and recorded for Supermodel. He told XFM London: “Lyrically it is almost a confession. It’s about having a moment of clarity…after the storm of touring for two years and my life drastically changing. It was kind of the first breath I had to really look around and see that there were some things that happened during that period with my friends and with my loved ones, with the people that are close to me and with myself as well. It’s about growing up.

Musically, the song is melodically complex and stunning, with swirling synths, haunting piano and gnarly guitars layered over Cubbie Fink’s thumping bass line and Mark Pontius’ aggressive percussion. I love the piano movement in the bridge, as well as Foster’s soaring heartfelt vocals that at times seem to channel his idol Brian Wilson.

The song was a hit on the Billboard Alternative and Adult Alternative charts, but unbelievably, did not chart on the Hot 100.

And here’s a cool time-lapse video showing the artwork for Supermodel, designed by Dutch artist and musician Young & Sick, being painted on the side of a building in downtown Los Angeles. With assistance from artist Daniel Lahoda, street artist Leba, and American graffiti art groups LA Freewalls and Vyal, the mural was painted over a period of 12 days, beginning the night of December 29, 2013 to the morning of January 9, 2014. Measuring 148 ft. by 126 ft., it was one of the largest murals ever created. Unfortunately, due to legal issues with both the building owners and the City of Los Angeles, the mural was later painted over.