Song/video of the day: Foster the People’s “Houdini”

Yes, I’m late to the party, as evidenced by the fact that my decade-younger-than-me girlfriend just introduced this song (and this band) to me on a mixtape last weekend, though the song and video have been around for a couple of years. But it’s the best pure pop song I’ve heard since Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”–full of hot beats, layered instrumentation that builds and builds, a damn-near gospel breakdown near the end, and lyrics that get more mysterious and fascinating the more you sing ’em at top volume. And, as the video shows, Foster the People has a sense of humor about pop, performance, and PR that’s exhilarating, alarming, incisive, and that sends up the whole industry even as the band participates in it. Wonderful, wonderful. I must have listened to this track ten times in a row yesterday, as I reluctantly roamed home from Atlanta back to Athens, missing my baby rolling in my arms and reveling in the dance music she gave to me. I’m a fogey but at least my taste is still killer–which is just what all we old, boring hipsters say, right?

RELATED: My piece on Feist’s “1,2,3,4,” which remains the best essay I’ve written on the music video.

*With thanks to a certain blogger/longtime friend for the concept.

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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