Thursday, April 24, 2014

No Water in the Water Fountain

The song "Water Fountain," by the indie band tUnE-yArDs, is a deeply sorrowful song about the widespread privatization of public goods. It's pretty fun, though.



The chorus, which goes, "No water in the water fountain / No phone in the phone booth / ....We're gonna get the water from your house (your house)," can be interpreted as lamenting the lack of public water sources, and public amenities in general (other choruses mention "no side in the sidewalk," and "no wood in the woodstock"). This song may not be meant as a social commentary about the ever-increasing disinvestment in America's public spaces, but it clearly picks up on much of what's going on.

Houses, vending machines, and private spaces have increasingly become the only places to get water, as American public infrastructure and street amenities languish. Broken drinking fountains, or more commonly no drinking fountains, remind us of the importance of accommodating public spaces that let people enjoy public spaces longer. The singer of this song, who proclaims that "Nothing feels like dying like the drying of my skin and lawn / Why do we just sit here while they watch us wither til we’re gone," is ultimately forced to go into a private residence to get a drink of water. 

"No water in the water fountain
No side on the sidewalk

We're gonna get the water from your house
We're gonna get the water from your house
We're gonna get the water from your house"