Songs of the suburbs

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One of the more fun aspects of researching this book was studying and collecting all the many references to the suburbs in American pop culture– in movies, TV shows, books, music and more. The suburbs seemed to specifically resonate in music; over the year or two I was researching the book, various people would constantly tell me I had to listen to this song or that song, and I would indeed listen to them for inspiration, to get in the suburban mood, or sometimes, yes, to procrastinate (I think I must have listened to “Little Boxes” hundreds of times). For my book party last week, my colleague Brian O’Keefe took a couple of these songs and added to them to create this playlist of songs about the suburbs, listed below and on Spotify. My favorite is the Malvina Reynolds Little Boxes–and most covers of it–and anything from Arcade Fire’s grammy-winning album¬†The Suburbs, with Ben Folds’ happy, poppy “Rockin the Suburbs” a strong third. (When I went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to talk about the book, a show hosted, produced, engineered and run by musicophiles, the producer, Eric, led the segment with “Rockin’ the Suburbs” and closed it with Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs.”) I ¬†also highly recommend Death Cab for Cutie’s cover of Little Boxes. We couldn’t find it on iTunes but it’s super great, definitely my favorite cover and maybe my all-time favorite suburbs song.

The End of the Suburbs playlist:

Listen to it here on Spotify.

The Suburbs— Arcade Fire
Little Boxes — Pete Seeger
Ready to Start — Arcade Fire
Pleasant Valley Sunday — The Monkees
The Sound of Suburbs — The Vibrators
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) — Arcade Fire
Big Yellow Taxi — Joni Mitchell
Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys) — JAY Z
Little Boxes — Walk off the Earth
Subdivisions — Rush
Wasted Hours — Arcade Fire
Rockin’ the Suburbs — Ben Folds
Pink Houses — John Cougar Mellencamp
Suburban Home — Descendents
Modern Man — Fire
Suburban Homeboy — Sparks
Shangri-La — The Kinks
Little Boxes — Malvina Reynolds
Empty Room –Arcade Fire
Roadrunner — Jonathan Richman & The Modern

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