(Nothing But) Flowers


I never get over being amazed by the wit of this song. Being very, very clever is David Byrne’s m.o. but this time he’s outdone himself. Being ecologically conscious had just begun to enter the mainstream in the late 80’s. Issues like deforestation, acid rain and the ozone hole were major talking points. It was the dawning of the green movement. At the time people viewed environmental problems as something we could fix and move on from, and in some cases, we more or less did. This was before Al Gore introduced us to the spectre of global warming. Now we know we’re pretty much all doomed, but back then… Back then the idea of a future where the discount stores and parking lots had been laid low by the forces of nature, why, it sounded like a novelty song! Now it sounds very prescient indeed. We’re zooming fast towards a future diet of nuts and berries. I don’t know if David Byrne had any idea that within a few years his funny tune would be not so much an ironic parody of other people’s self righteous protest songs but basically the generally accepted vision of where society could well be headed. Over the crest of the next big technological advance the bubble bursts and all that’s left is the abandoned detritus of a failed industrial civilization, with a few straggling survivors left to dream of bygone chocolate chip cookies.

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