As I thought of the man and the boy pushing their shopping cart through a post-apocalyptic landscape that seems to reflect the aftermath of a nuclear war (though we are never sure what exactly happened), the song that immediately popped to mind was "99 Luftballoons" by the German group Nena. It came out in 1984, when the Reagan administration was upping Cold War pressures and all-out nuclear war was a possibility.
The lyrics open with "you and I," which seems to describe the relationship between the man and the boy, who come across as innocents in a savage environment, just as does the image of red balloons against the backdrop of war. Red and balloons together paint a picture of childhood, a time of innocence. But war robs everyone, including children, of a safe, benign world in which to grow and flourish. In the song, war imagery contrasts with—and yet perversely mirrors—the childlike imagery:
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere else
The war machine...
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