Talking Heads – (Nothing But) Flowers

21st March 2024 · 1980s, 1988, Music

The final Talking Heads album, Naked, is so underrated it’s almost been forgotten compared to the majesty of Remain In Light and (my favourite) Fear Of Music.

But it’s filled with great tunes and great lyrical ideas from David Byrne who’s still worrying about the government, the environment and – probably – the future of his career.

And this song, bouncing along on the polyrhythms of afrobeat and funk, has the added attraction of guest artists Johnny Marr and Kirsty MacColl.

This song combines both (lyrics and music) in a kind of follow-up to – and reversal of – Joni Mitchell’s warning that they’ve “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

In (Nothin’ But) Flowers, the parking lot has been rewilded and gone back to nature, along with the rest of our urban environment: “Once there were parking lots, now it’s a peaceful oasis / This was a Pizza Hut, now it’s all covered with daisies.”

In fact it’s gone too far the other way and Byrne is beginning to pine for what was there before: “I miss the honky tonks, Dairy Queens and 7-11s.”

Not sure if that’s nostalgia or irony.