24 September 2014

Pop songs about urban planning

Urban planning is a sufficiently dry and obscure topic that you wouldn't think that it would be the subject of pop music. But you'd be wrong.

My favorite is the Pretenders' “Back to Ohio”.

Joni Mitchell's “Big Yellow Taxi” informs us that they've paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

The Talking Heads' “(Nothing But) Flowers”, which Kevin Smith used to introduce the world of New Jersey in Clerks II.

I'm writing this because I've now encountered yet another example: Arcade Fire's “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” from their album The Suburbs. The video features some landscapes of appropriately horrifying bleakness. (And one can see the ’burbs used as a dystopian setting in Spike Jonze's 30 minute film Scenes From The Suburbs inspired by the album.)

David Rovics' song “Parking Lots And Strip Malls” is in the club.

And Planetizen, incredibly, has a list of even more examples.

Update: A friend points out that the Specials' “Ghost Town” also qualifies.

And XTC's “River of Orchids”:

And another friend points to John Mellencamp's “Pink Houses”.

Malvina Reynolds' “Little Boxes”:

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