Friday, September 26, 2008

The lyrics [for (Nothing) But Flowers] describe a post-apocalyptic world in which modern technology has been largely eliminated, and there is "nothing but flowers." The song's protagonist yearns for the disappeared items of his youth such as lawnmowers and fast food. The song is a satire of humanity's alienation from and disregard of nature. The lines "Once there were parking lots / Now it's a peaceful oasis" are a reference to the recurring lines "They Paved paradise and put up a parking lot" from Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."

I always enjoyed (Nothing) But Flowers by the Talking Heads, but I never knew what to make of the lyrics until I heard Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi. After hearing Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi, it seemed to me that contrary to what the wiki entry says (Nothing) But Flowers is actually a satire of Joni Mitchell's alienation and disregard for material improvement.

I could be wrong, but the complete context of all the lyrics seem to be more an indictment of Joni Mitchell's views than that of humanities'. The song stars out making Joni Mitchell's vision of paradise sound wonderful, but by the end of the song, the listener in most cases will be empathizing with all the things that will be missed by the loss of material progress.