- I know the new architecture’s largely depressing,
And the politics are pretty regressive,
But ain’t shining a light on what’s dark kind of your thing?
The murder wave is abating,
The population decline’s stagnating.
If that ain’t an invitation, darling, what could it be?
Addressed right to you and me …
Consider the weeds downtown, and how they grow:
How the Queen Anne's Lace covers hot parking lots like snow.
Paris and New York don't have honeysuckle vines like the ones on 32nd Street.
I know that Birmingham gets you down, but look what it raised you up to be.
Because I was a rural kid who grew up attracted to the wonder of our cities, even as I watched their struggles on the TV news, that song damn near made me cry the first time I heard it. I lived for seven years in New York City, and Bains is right: Spring comes, and you miss those honeysuckle vines. Hell, you even miss the kudzu.
To me, the lyrics of “The Weeds Downtown” speak a deep truth about Southerners of ambition. Maybe we do need our time in Paris or New York or Silicon Valley, to sharpen our skills or to see our home from a different perspective, but inside many of us, there always burns the desire to bring what we’ve learned back to our scarred homeland and try, just one more time, to make it better.
The South gets us down, but look what it’s raised us up to be, right?