"The Big Country" as written by and David Byrne....
I see the shapes,
I remember from maps.
I see the shoreline.
I see the whitecaps.
A baseball diamond, nice weather down there.
I see the school and the houses where the kids are.
Places to park by the fac'tries and buildings.
Restaurants and bar for later in the evening.
Then we come to the farmlands, and the undeveloped areas.
And I have learned how these things work together.
I see the parkway that passes through them all.
And I have learned how to look at these things and I say,

I wouldn't live there if you paid me.
I couldn't live like that, no siree!
I couldn't do the things the way those people do.
I couldn't live there if you paid me to.

I guess it's healthy, I guess the air is clean.
I guess those people have fun with their neighbors and friends.
Look at that kitchen and all of that food.
Look at them eat it' guess it tastes real good.

They grow it in the farmlands
And they take it to the stores
They put it in the car trunk
And they bring it back home
And I say...

I wouldn't live there if you paid me.
I couldn't live like that, no siree!
I couldn't do the things the way those people do.
I couldn't live there if you paid me to.

I'm tired of looking out the windows of the airplane
I'm tired of traveling, I want to be somewhere.
It's not even worth talking
About those people down there.

Goo Goo Ga Ga Ga
Goo Goo Ga Ga Ga


Lyrics submitted by scotnr24

"The Big Country" as written by David Byrne

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Big Country song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentDavid Byrne often claims to be writing in character, so whether this song reflects his attitude or not is unknown.

    He seems to be directly describing the Attitude New Yorker and Los Angeles 'elite' types have about the rest of the USA when they refer to the "flyover" region.

    I think this is one the most melodic Talking Heads songs, bolstered by that slide guitar.
    Hi_In_The_Mid_80son October 15, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDavid Byrne quote from an interview:
    "'Don't Worry About The Government' is about liking ordinary things, living in a modern condominium and working in an office. I wrote "The Big Country" about hating that kind of stuff. I thought I had to be fair"

    I think part of this song he means honestly, but part of it is making fun of the character he's playing. Saying, "it's not even worth talking about those people down there" would be incredibly arrogant if he meant it.
    Chard121on September 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit is an "anti-country music" song.
    moikon October 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionEver since I learned Byrne was an avid cyclist this song took on a few more meanings to me. I notice parallels between this and the dinner table scene in "True Stories". I feel like its sort of a critique of America (obviously the eponymous big country) and its infrastructure and culture. I can see him critiquing both the suburban ethic of safety, security, family as well as the actual logistics of everyone having a car driving down parkways and getting food from super-markets. The sprawl of America seems to be a flaw that db is decrying. As for his tongue in cheek jabs at suburbia I think he may be telling the truth when he suggests that he'd be unable to live there.
    profhardcastleon May 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDavid Byrne is a great artist, but this beautiful song pisses me off. Where does he think his food comes from? Byrne eats protein. And it makes him shit. He may not want to admit this, however.
    smytheeon February 03, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General CommentNo one's commented on this one? I'm going to take a guess here... He's talking about the United States.

    Anyone agree?

    The version of this song on THE NAME OF THIS BAND IS TALKING HEADS is great, by the way. Far better than the original.
    majestikmoose9on September 09, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentDB would never live in suburbia.
    bufomarinason February 08, 2008   Link

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