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Sunday, July 11, 2010

They paved Paradise, now it's nothing but flowers

I've had this three-song sequence in my head for...oh, you know, decades. Three songs where each one seems to be a response, or at least a sequel, to the preceding one.


First, Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" from 1970, a protest against urbanization and suburban sprawl:




Then 1982's "My City Was Gone" by The Pretenders, a lament for urban decay - with echoes of "Big Yellow Taxi". Embedding disabled, so click here to hear this song. (See the comments on the video for an interesting discussion of how this song wound up as Rush Limbaugh's theme music.)


Finally, Talking Heads' "Nothing But Flowers" from 1988 - an elegy for the vanishing suburban landscape being reclaimed by nature. The pavement decays, and Paradise re-emerges. Here it is performed solo by David Byrne:

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