I can’t tell you how much I love this song. For those of you who don’t know this song, “Little Boxes” is a song written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962 that lampoons the development of suburbia and what many consider its bourgeois conformist values. The song’s best-known performance was that of Pete Seeger in 1962. Some legends state that it was in response to the Levittown developments after World War II. This was when everyone moved from the city to the suburbs. In Levittown, everything looked the same, much like modern suburbs. Having lived in the suburbs all my life, this song really rings true to me. I’ve always wanted to get away from all the monotony and move to the city, but never have. You can see modern American life reflected in a song that was written forty-five years ago. It still holds true today. Just look at these lyrics:

Little boxes on the hill side, little boxes made of ticky tacky.
Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses all went to the university
Where they were put in boxes, little boxes, all the same.
And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers, and there’s business executives
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course and drink their martini dry
And they all have pretty children and the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp and then to the university
Where they all get put in boxes and they all come out the same.

And the boys go into business and marry and raise a family
In boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Many of you may have heard this on the TV show Weeds. Starting in its second season the theme song was performed by a different artist each episode, with such artists as The Decemerists, Elvis Costello, Billy Bob Thornton, Randy Newman, and The Shins, among others. Here is the original song by Malvina Reynolds.

1 reply
  1. rafi
    rafi says:

    I made the reverse trip… from the city (well my neighborhood in Brooklyn was identical brick row-housing anyway) to the suburbs.

    But yeah I love that song as the Weeds intro. Thanks for the lesson on it.

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