Songs of Suburbia

While listening to a Pandora station the other day, a song came on that brought me back to my childhood. As I thought about the words of the song, I realized it was talking about suburbia.

Later in the day I changed stations and heard another song about the suburbs. Curious, I searched for others.

Little Boxes - Malvina Reynolds

When I was in elementary school, our groovy music teacher taught us this song. The first 4 lines play through my mind every time I see another suburban neighborhood being built.

Little Boxes
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Pleasant Valley Sunday - made famous by The Monkees

I watched The Monkees every day after school. Davy was so dreamy. ;) I used to sing along with this song, not realizing that the lyrics reflected suburban life.

Pleasant Valley Sunday
The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song
They serenade the weekend squire
Who just came out to mow his lawn

Another pleasant valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

See Mrs.Gray, she’s proud today
Because her roses are in bloom
And Mr.Green, he’s so serene
He’s got a TV in every room

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Another pleasant valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Mothers complain about how hard life is
And the kids just don’t understand

Creature comfort goals, they only numb my soul
And make it hard for me to see
Ah, thoughts all seem to stray to places far away
I need a change of scenery

Subdivisions - Rush

I can’t say that I was a Rush fan in the ‘80s, but I found that this song fits.

Subdivisions
Sprawling on the fringes of the city
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights
And the far unlit unknown

Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out

Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night

Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory
Of lighted streets on quiet nights

Your Tune?

Do you have any other songs about suburbia to add to my list?

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6 Comments Songs of Suburbia

  1. Picture of BryanBryanFebruary 08, 2018

    “Captain Suburbia” by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers is one that comes to mind for me:

    Come a birth, come a funeral, come a wedding bell
    I don’t walk a straight line in a dizzy spell
    I’m screening my calls,
    I’m whitening my teeth
    Now I got a smile for every stranger I meet
    And I can leap the tallest mortgage in a single bound

    Hey Now…
    Hey Now…

    Look at me…
    I’m Captain Suburbia
    I’m lightin’ all the birthday candles in Utopia
    It’s a bird, It’s a plane, it’s Captain Suburbia
    The weeds will grow, the grey will show, and my garage will overflow now
    Lucky me!
    I’m Captain Suburbia!

    I’m not too young for anything, anymore
    I see all my friends and neighbors at the liquor store
    I’m mechanically inclined,
    I’m blissfully insane
    I’m rescuing the sacred from the jaws of the mundane
    I’m livin’ the dream now…
    I can sleep through anything

    Hey now…
    Hey now…
    Hey now…
    Hey now…

    Look at me…
    I’m Captain Suburbia
    I’m blowin’ all the birthday candles in Utopia
    I’m a bird, I’m a plane, I’m Captain Suburbia
    The weeds will grow, the grey will show, and my garage will overflow now
    Lucky me!
    I’m Captain Suburbia!
    I’m tucking in the kids
    We’re running out of beer
    And, “Honey, we need to talk…”
    Are the only words I fear…

    Hey now…
    Hey now…
    Hey now…
    Hey now…
    Hey now…
    Hey now…
    Hey now…

    Look at me…
    I’m Captain Suburbia
    Yeah look at me
    I’m Captain Suburbia
    I’m Captain Suburbia

  2. Picture of Norm H.Norm H.February 08, 2018

    LOL!  I think of “Little Boxes” so many times when pulling into our subdivision! No additional songs to add, but I did enjoy this post.

  3. Picture of Crissa BoyinkCrissa BoyinkFebruary 09, 2018

    Bryan -
    Can’t say that I’ve ever heard that song before. I just took a listen after reading the lyrics. I’d agree, it totally fits here.

    Thanks.

  4. Picture of Crissa BoyinkCrissa BoyinkFebruary 09, 2018

    Norm,
    I’m not the only one singing that song in my head. Glad to know I’m not alone. ;)

  5. Picture of LisaLisaFebruary 09, 2018

    Hi,
    Are you guys still traveling? Miss your travel blogs. Did you stop writing those when you became empty nesters?

  6. Picture of Crissa BoyinkCrissa BoyinkFebruary 10, 2018

    Lisa,

    Our travels right now are more about people than locations, that’s why you’re not seeing much about places right now.

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