Singing in the Suburbs – Emma Robinson

Post-industrialized suburban developments provided affordable housing opportunities with a hidden price: homogeny. As cookie cutter hands shaped the socioeconomic class, race, gender roles, and architecture of these cites, it is without much surprise that we notice suburban victimization in the media. Music is perhaps one of it’s worst offenders.

Collected from various music blogs and media searches, the few songs below give a sense of the consistent protest of suburban life over time and borders (music videos featured if available – listening to the tracks that don’t have a video is worth it!). Themes to note in these three works include, but are certainly not limited to: boredom, escapism, dehumanization through lack of culture.

A more detailed look of the portrayal of suburbs in music (mainly english, pop and rock) can be found here.

The Members: The Sounds of The Suburbs (England, 1979)

Johnny stands there at his window looking at the night, / I said, hey what you listening to there’s nothing there (that’s right)/ This is the Sound, This is the Sound of the Suburbs 

Pet Shop Boys: Suburbia (England, 2003)

Break a window by the town hall/ Listen, the siren screams / There in the distance like a roll call / Of all the suburban dreams/…All I wanted was something else to do but hang around.

Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Canada, 2010)

You always seemed so sure/ That one day we’d be fighting / In a suburban war / Your part of town against mine / I saw you standing on the opposite shore / But by the time the first bombs fell / We were already bored

Ben Rector: Song for the Suburbs (America, 2011)

Pretty cars and pretty houses/ Pretty people on parade / Don’t let the suburbs kill my heart and soul.


One Comment to “Singing in the Suburbs – Emma Robinson”

  1. These are great! thanks for finding this.

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