Little Boxes: The Ticky Tacky Song About Social Conformity

Malvina Reynolds’ folk song, Little Boxes, was based on her observations of urbanization in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early 1960s. Here are the printable lyrics to Little Boxes.

And what does her song mean?  Reynolds’ point was that despite everyone’s attempt at diversity, everyone is really succumbing to social conformity.  Her observations are quite true, even today.

Within the song, she likens tract housing to “little boxes”, with her use of “ticky-tacky” referring to shoddy construction materials.

This shoddy construction she then likens to people, who she implies are also made out of “ticky-tacky,” when they socially conform, without a true, unique moral inner core.  Although people may appear to have wonderful lives and families on the outside, their lack of true uniqueness inside, makes them mass produced, “ticky-tacky,” and “all just the same.”

Little Boxes Printable Song Lyrics

Click to download the pdf printable version Little Boxes Lyrics By Malvina Reynolds.

Little Boxes Lyrics by Malvina Reynolds

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one 
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky 
And they all look just the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

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