A tough garage-pop number with a seething Mark Lindsay vocal, "Kicks" was an unusually stern anti-drug song, almost scolding a girl's dependence on kicks to face the world. The real-life subject on whom the song was based was actually a male friend of writers Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. "We wrote it for a friend of ours who flipped out," Mann revealed in Rolling Stone. "It's not a complete anti-drug song; we're not anti-drugs. But the song was for certain people who we think should cool it. Their heads aren't right for drugs."
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