The Runner (song)

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"The Runner"
Single by Foals
from the album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2
Released5 September 2019[1]
Studio123 (London)
  • Jack Bevan
  • Edwin Congreave
  • Yannis Philippakis
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Brett Shaw
Foals singles chronology
"Black Bull"
"The Runner"
"Into the Surf"
Audio sample
  • file
  • help
Music video
"The Runner" on YouTube

"The Runner" is the second single by English indie rock band, Foals, off their sixth studio album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2. The single premiered on 5 September 2019 via Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show, and a 9:29 version, remixed by Australia's RÜFÜS DU SOL, was released on 27 November 2019.

Critical reception[]

Lisa Wright, writing for DIY praised the track for its musical aesthetic, "Swaggering straight in with guitars that prowl" and notes "Though there's a cockiness to the verses, there's something more fallible, more grandiose that sweeps in as the chorus arrives."

Comparing the track's cohesion to the band's previous single, "Black Bull", Wright continues saying "If the monstrous riffs of 'Black Bull', came good on the band's promise to deliver a heavier, dirtier follow up to its predecessor, then with 'The Runner' the message is well and truly cemented: Foals aren't fucking about."[2]

Mark Beaumont, writing for The Guardian describes the track as "A wasteland ruled over by a funky android Royal Blood." Beaumont continues with a peculiar comparison saying "Relentless orders to 'keep on running' suggest less Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, more Paula Radcliffe beyond lavatory, but it's Foals, it's massive."[3]


Philippakis describes "The Runner" as lyrically set in the aftermath of what's described in the last songs on Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1. "It's a call to find a sense of purpose and perseverance despite the odds and despite the troubles we may find inside or outside ourselves."[4]

Music video[]

Released 30 September 2019, the video directed by Quentin Deronzier,[5] is centered around lead singer, Yannis Philippakis being pursued by a doppelgänger via cytokinesis (played by Vincent Heneine) on a surreal, disorienting odyssey through a set of natural environments, symbolic of the five natural elements.

Initially, beginning in a void (aether) of A.R, Yannis and his double get into a series of physical altercations throughout the narrative, which progresses the journey during his attempts at escaping. From the void transforming into a wading pool leading out to the Ocean (water) to an open meadow (earth) and a literal collapsing sky (air) via an art gallery of paintings that act as portals to their displayed subject.

Eventually ending up back in the void where an illuminated painting of a forest is showcased, instead of retreating, Yannis fully confronts his other half after a brief parley over a bottle of whiskey. Using the bottle to set the painting on fire (by way of smashing the display lights), the two continue their conflict into the now fully engulfed canvas. With no doppelgänger in sight, Yannis comes out the other side alone walking through the burning woods till reaching a hillside to truly see the full scope. With the entire forest devastated by flames, he's only left to observe the massive inferno and destruction created by his actions, as he ultimately was fighting with himself the whole time.[6]

Track listing[]

1."The Runner"4:21
2."Black Bull"3:07


Chart (2019–2020) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[7] 35
Scotland (OCC)[8] 79
UK Singles (OCC)[9] 87
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[10] 27
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[11] 32


  1. ^ Jones, Damien (5 September 2019). "Foals tease new track 'The Runner' from 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2'". NME. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Tracks: Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals, Grimes and more". DIY Mag. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  3. ^ Mark Beaumont (13 September 2019). "Tracks of the week reviewed: Metronomy, Grimes, Foals". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  4. ^ Damien Jones (5 September 2019). "Listen to Foals' monstrous new track 'The Runner' from 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2'". NME. T1 Media Limited.
  5. ^ "FOALS - The Runner [Official Music Video]". Retrieved 24 November 2019 – via
  6. ^ "Foals release the music video for single, 'The Runner'". HotPress. 30 September 2019.
  7. ^ " – Foals – The Runner" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Foals Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Foals Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
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