Independence Play: The Top Songs for the Fourth of July
Wed, 29 Jun 2011 13:55:06
This weekend marks that great midway point of the year, where we pause and reflect on America, the beautiful. That's right- it's the Fourth of July, which happens to fall on July 4th this year. I think it has something to do with the lunar calendar... Anyway, you're going to need to get ready to grill, hit the beach, or maybe just fight some redcoats- however you celebrate our nation's birth, you'll need the perfect playlist! With that in mind, here is our offering.
"Firework" - Katy Perry
This one is a no-brainer- it's a perfect fit for the biggest firework bonanza of the year. I only pick this song because Miss Perry didn't have a song called "This Song is for ARTISTdirect's Fourth of July Playlist." Who doesn't love a good romp with fireworks? Raise your hooks to the sky if you do!
"Fourth of July" - Soundgarden
Again, with the no-brainer! Ironically, this dark and dissonant cut from Soundgarden's classic album, Superunknown, doesn't sound much like anything to do with Independence Day. This is Soundgarden, though, so they can do whatever they want to celebrate America and we'll include it on our playlist!
"Star-Spangled Banner" - Jimi Hendrix
This is certainly the trippiest version of our national anthem you're sure to hear- even though it's over forty years old. As the hippies used to always say, don't trust any songs over thirty! Jimi's soul and wild ingenuity exemplify the spirit of America- where you are free to be as innovative and individualistic as you want. Or, you can be free to hang out on the couch and watch some TV. Either way.
"Franco-UnAmerican" - NOFX
This pop-punk protest song is from NOFX's fantastic 2003 album, The War on Errorism. As a typically apolitical band for most of their career, this song served as a departure for NOFX, with their scathing reprimand of the Bush Administration. That's when you know you're having trouble as a president- when people who normally don't even care about politics are complaining. I think Rico Suave even released a George W. Bush protest album. Anyway, there's nothing more American than complaining, right?
"Far From Home" - Five Finger Death Punch
In addition to becoming a huge hit earlier this year, this emotional ballad from 5FDP has become a salute to the troops, in a way. When a fan created a youtube video to "Far From Home" featuring intense pictures of soldiers deployed in the Middle East, it took off. Now, almost four million youtube views later, this has become the quintessential track to salute everything our military does for us.
"Young Americans" - David Bowie
It's ironic that this song was written by a British rock star, but it's just too good to pass up. David Bowie, the artist who influenced generations and continually reinvented himself, does so on this samba-riffic hit. "Do you remember President Nixon?" Bowie croons. That gives him extra points for using the words "American" and "President" in the same song, just so you know.
"Born in the USA" - Bruce Springsteen
I find it funny that The Boss has more than one hit song that starts with the word "Born." I suppose America is the land where freedom was born, huh? That's actually not true at all- but we certainly helped raise freedom, even if it wasn't specifically born here! Anyway, we all know and love this song from the rare New Jersey product we can all get onboard with. Kidding! (RIP Clarence - Ed.)
"American Pie" - Don McLean
This song is as American as… Apple Pie? Baseball? Ticking off Europeans? This classic American ballad recounts the day Buddy Holly passed away in epic and sweeping fashion. As it sways from sing-along to raucous romp at the turn of a dime, and does it seamlessly.
"My Hero" - Foo Fighters
The Fourth of July is a day we can relax and reflect on our country and its heroes. Which is why we need this fantastic American track from the Foo Fighters called… "My Hero"! See what I did there? It all comes full-circle. Any chance we can crowbar the Foos into our playlist, we have to do so.
"Blood-Red, White and Blue" - Rise Against
"I've seen a place (it comes) to me in dreams/ Where fires die but light still shines for us to see," Tim McIlrath wails on this impassioned plea for peace and human rights. Rise Against certainly have one of the strongest voices in American rock, and this track from Revolutions Per Minute is a true testament to that.
"Shoots & Ladders/One" – Korn
Right now, Korn has been fusing their classic creepy crawly lullaby "Shoots & Ladders" with an intensely infectious cover of Metallica's "One" on stage. There's nothing quite like hearing guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer rip through James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett's pummeling staccato riff as Jonathan Davis screams the legendary Metallica tune's refrain with all his soul. This will ignite your sense more than any fireworks show and encourage you to continue to fight for freedom...
Feeling more patriotic? Maybe like you want to have a burger and hit the beach? Well in that case, my work is done. Happy Fourth of July everyone- and make sure you make it to the Fifth of July with all your limbs intact!
—Mark Phillips 06.24.11
P.S. Let us know your Patriotic Favorites below!