Helena Beat

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"Helena Beat"
Helena Beat - Foster the People.jpg
Single by Foster the People
from the album Torches
ReleasedJuly 26, 2011 (2011-07-26)
  • 4:36 (album version)
  • 3:52 (radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Mark Foster
Producer(s)Greg Kurstin
Foster the People singles chronology
"Pumped Up Kicks"
"Helena Beat"
"Call It What You Want"

"Helena Beat" is a song by American indie pop band Foster the People. It is the opening track from their debut studio album Torches and was released as the record's second single. It was solicited to radio on July 26, 2011,[1] and solicited to radio in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2011.[2] On August 10, 2011, BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James selected the song as his Record of the Week.

It was announced in January 2012 that "Helena Beat" was the most-played track on Australian radio station Triple J in 2011. The song appeared at number 15 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2011 poll, and it ranked as music streaming service Spotify's fifth-most streamed song of the year.[3]

Inspiration and composition[edit]

"Helena Beat" was written by the group's lead songwriter Mark Foster to embody the attitude of the drug culture within Hollywood. Foster says the lyrics—particularly the line "Yeah yeah and it's okay, I tie my hands up to a chair so I don't fall that way"—are meant to express the nonchalant attitude that people had to their destructive tendencies. He said, "They're the young, hot, up and coming, powerful people that are gonna run the world. But they're just going out and doing drugs every night. They're saying it with this big smile of their face like 'I'm great, everything's great,' 'but don't you see that you're completely out of your mind on drugs right now that you can't even stand?'. Foster composed the song using the Logic Pro software; the original project file for "Helena Beat" is included in new copies of the application.[4] Helena Beat is written in C minor with a tempo of 127 beats per minute.

Music video[edit]

A music video, directed by Ace Norton, to accompany the release of "Helena Beat" was released onto YouTube on July 18, 2011.[5] The video debuted on the MuchMusic Countdown in Canada on August 11 at No. 30, and peaked at No. 18.

The video begins with singer Mark Foster fleeing from a destroyed Los Angeles in a dystopian future along with his dog – inspired by the film Mad Max. On the road out of the city, he finds a baby carriage and goes to investigate. When he gets out of the van, a gang of violent, rebellious children attacks him and takes him hostage while his dog flees. The other members of the band are taken hostage as well. They are then taken to the children's headquarters, where they are tortured, beaten, and abused. Foster is then seated and restrained, he's joined to a strange machine that's also attached to an older man seated opposite him. When the machine powers on, bright bolts of electricity arc back and forth, and the machine looks as if it is going to transform the older man into someone young again by stealing Foster's youth. Instead, it works quite the opposite and when the device is turned off, alternately most of the life is drained from the man (now very old) and Foster is turned into a young boy. After being turned into a child, he is now accepted as one of them.

Track listing[edit]

Album version
1."Helena Beat"4:36


  • Mark Foster – vocals, guitar, synthesizer, percussion, programming
  • Mark Pontius – drums and extra percussion
  • Cubbie Fink – bass
  • Greg Kurstin – synthesizer, programming



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[15] Gold 40,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
United States[1] July 26, 2011 Alternative radio
United Kingdom[16] August 24, 2011 Contemporary hit radio


  1. ^ a b "Future Releases on Alternative Radio Stations, Independent Artist Song Releases (July 26, 2011)". Allaccess.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) Archived by Wayback Machine from the original on July 23, 2011.
  2. ^ BackstagePass.biz (August 23, 2011). "FOSTER THE PEOPLE To Release Second Single 'Helena Beat' on Monday 5th September". Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  3. ^ Murphy, Samantha (2011-12-29). "Spotify Names Top 10 Songs Streamed in 2011". Mashable. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  4. ^ "Foster the People: Pumped Up Hits". Apple Inc. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  5. ^ "Foster the People - Helena Beat". YouTube. July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  6. ^ "The ARIA Report, Week Commencing ~ 28 February 2011 ~ Issue #1096. See p. 4" (PDF). ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Archives Australia. February 28, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  7. ^ "Foster the People Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "Foster the People Chart History (Canada Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Mexico Ingles Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  10. ^ "Foster the People Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  11. ^ "Foster the People Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  12. ^ "Foster the People Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  13. ^ "Best of 2011 - Alternative Songs 31-40". Billboard.com. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  14. ^ "Best of 2012 - Hot Rock Songs". Billboard.com. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  15. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Foster the People – Call It What You Want". Music Canada.
  16. ^ "BBC Radio 1 Playlist – 24 August 2011". BBC Radio 1. BBC. Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2013.

External links[edit]