From the Flock of Seagulls-like chiming guitars to the neon geometric shapes and dramatic motorcycle- ride-on-the-coast shots, Foster The People’s video for “Coming of Age” looks and feels like a lost 1980s teen romance.
Which makes sense, since that’s exactly what the “Pumped Up Kicks” hitmakers had in mind.
“We talked about on this record working with film more and working with classic photography and using California as a backdrop to everything that we were doing,” singer Mark Foster explained in a making-of video when describing the imagery for the first single from their upcoming second album, Supermodel. Los Angeles and California were both big inspirations for the themes on the record, so the band was determined to film a lot of the imagery in the city and state.
The “Age” video intercuts images of the motorcycle escape with those of a young boxer getting his clock cleaned, some angsty teens at a party and on the high school basketball court confronting the cool kids. And, of course, there’s the obligatory sequence of a boy running away from a bumbling cop.
“And when my fear pulls me out to sea/And the stars are hidden by my pride and my enemies,” Foster sings in a plaintive voice as we catch glimpses of a sad-eyed high schooler taking off the head of his ridiculous duck mascot costume and getting bullied by some jocks. It’s those kinds of classic scenarios from 1970s and 1980s movies that Foster said he and the clip’s directors, BRTHR, were after in “Age.”
Like so many awesome 80s videos, the action on the screen often mirrors the lyrics, such as the lines about being “too bruised to fight” that match quick cuts of the boxer jumping rope and getting punched in the face.
“The emotional arcs of the characters were pretty empowering,” Foster said, calling out the boxer substory as his favorite because it reminds him of “Rocky.”
The band recently unveiled a seven-story mural in downtown Los Angeles inspired by the album’s cover art and played a secret show at the foot of the mural following its unveiling.
Also, spoiler alert: Just like “Sixteen Candles,” it all works out in the end for the “Coming of Age” kids.