Tomato and Black-Capped Chickadees Love
“Song for a Future Generation” by the B-52s from the album Whammy!
Second Week in May, 1983
The B-52’s were one of the first bands I ever really loved, and I think it was because I hoped the future would turn to be like one of their songs. As a kid in the 80’s, I wanted my adult self to live in a world that had time travel and machines that made awesome blippy noises; a world where everyone wore awesome outfits and go-go boots and spent their days dancing because the machines were doing all the work for us. I wanted to look exactly like Kate Pierson, and I wanted to go to Mesopotamia. I wanted a pink overcraft.
Needless to say, I have grown up and I look nothing like Kate Pierson, I don’t have go-go boots, the machines are not coming to rescue me from the office any time soon and my friends and I never meet at the third pyramid after work. Sometimes, my computer makes blippy noises, but that is usually a bad sign. Still, hearing “Song for a Future Generation” takes me back to that time of optimism, and now I can better appreciate the sly wit that’s going on in this song.
The idea is that all the offspring born of matches made in the personal ads would grow up and wonder how mommy and daddy met - so the B-52s recite ridiculous two-line personals for themselves and chant the chorus, “let’s meet and have a baby now.” La la la la la la la!” When it’s Kate’s turn, she says “Hi! I’m Kate, and I looooooove tomatoes and black-capped chickadees,” and in case you don’t know, the black-capped chickadee is the state bird of Maine, my home state. Whoa. Maybe I did turn out to be Kate Pierson after all? Maybe I am her and she is me? I love tomatoes too! Perhaps we both fell through a magic wormhole sometime in 1982. Where is my hovercraft?
Anyway, this song is fantastic, and I really think some smart band should cover or otherwise revisit it for the kids of today. Except instead of reciting personal ad clichés, the band members could just announce their Myspace page addresses.
Best part: There is no denying the la-la-la-las.