Tag Archives: Nothing But Flowers

Nothing but Flowers. Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, I’m posting one of my favorite Talking Heads songs, “Nothing but Flowers,” as sung by David Byrne at a TED talk in February 2010 (with a string quartet backing him, not my favorite rendition, but interesting). The song was originally released in 1988 on the Talking Heads album “Naked.”

Whenever I listen to this song, part of me rejoices with certain verses, such as “Once there were parking lots, Now its a peaceful oasis,” and “This was a Pizza Hut, Now it’s all covered with daisies,” thinking how delightful it would be if indeed Pizza Huts would disappear under a cloud of daisies. Or if, at least, some of our mistakes of over-development could so easily be erased and parking lots and highways could be rewound to become peaceful oases again.

But other parts of the song make me realize how attached I am to (at least many parts of) this over-built, concrete-lined, socio-cultural, anthropocentric landscape we’ve created. “I miss the honky tonks, Dairy Queens, and 7-elevens,” and “We used to microwave, now we just eat nuts and berries.”

Obviously its ironic. And the point being made: “And as things fell apart, Nobody paid much attention,” is one that I’ll try to remember throughout the year- be careful with our earth and precious resources, work to restore any amount of ecological integrity I can, and pay attention, even if only in my own back yard.

Though I’ll be honest, Pizza Huts disappearing under a cloud of daisies? That would be fantastic.

Nothing But Flowers (lyrics):

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
Waterfalls
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it’s nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it

There was a shopping mall
Now it’s all covered with flowers
you’ve got it, you’ve got it

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you’ve got it, you’ve got it

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I’d pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it’s only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it’s nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we’d start over
But I guess I was wrong

Once there were parking lots
Now it’s a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it’s all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
you got it, you got it

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it’s turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don’t leave me stranded here
I can’t get used to this lifestyle

Happy Earth Day!

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