July 2, 2010

The Perfect Fourth of July Playlist

Holiday music tends to be pretty lame, but when most of the commercialism of a holiday is the sale of things that are red, white, blue, and/or explosive, there’s a lot of vagueness as to what songs can be associated with the holiday. So I’ve created a perfect playlist for the Fourth Of July, full of songs about American, have the word America in the title, or are in some vague way related to America.

1. The Star Spangled Banner

Sure, the Star Spangled Banner isn’t a particularly good song, but what’s more patriotic than the song that 90% you hear it means The Baseball Game is About to Start?
There’s many versions of it, but by far my favorite is R. Kelly’s masterful rendition, because, as an American Idol judge would say, he makes it his own.

2. America the Beautiful

Keeping with the trend of black musicians making better songs probably written by racists, I’m picking the Ray Charles version. Because there’s nothing funnier than a blind guy talking about how purple the mountains majesty is (are?).

3. American Girl

Supposedly this song is about a girl jumping from a balcony to kill herself. Petty claims this isn’t true, but that didn’t stop the failure of the Sally Suicide American Girl doll. But in all seriousness, this song just sounds like Americana, and it has American in the name.

4. Kids in America

One time this was playing in a supermarket in the Netherlands. That’s the only good story I have about this song, but its about the Kids in America, who are apparently just one girl named Kim Wilde.

5. Young Americans

More than anything, this is me just putting David Bowie in every aspect of my life. Like the last one, this one is also about the American youth. Except this one is by a British guy and asks the important questions all Americans ask, like “Ain’t there a woman I can sock on the jaw?” In America, the streets are paved with gold there’s a woman for us all to sock on the jaw behind a white picket fence. Apple Pie.

6. Feel like I’m fixing to die

I had to include at least one great 60s protest song, so I went with one of the more vicious ones, to real expose some realities of the US. Because nobody wants a totally jingoistic playlist.

7. Battle Hymn of the Republic

From the 1960s to the 1860s, here’s another song associated with a war. It’s also kind of fun to sing, especially the part where God has a sword, and is apparently fighting for America. No wonder the civil war was a war of attrition.

8. America is my Home
James Brown brings us together with this one, black and white, and he kind of just makes you feel like an asshole for criticizing America. After all, America is James Browns home, and he’s awesome. It's not on Youtube for some reason. Youtube must hate America.

9.Wild America

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what to say about this song, but its by Iggy Pop and its got America in the name, which I guess is pretty wild. Also, it contains parts of "America" by Allen Ginsberg, which may be the best poem ever.

10. Either “Peaches” or “Lump”

Neither song is really about America, but they are both by The Presidents of the United States of America so it’s close enough, because there’s no way that Horse With No Name nor Sister Golden Hair was making the list.

11.We’re an American Band

Grand Funk Railroad shows what being an American is really about, and it mostly consists of coming to peoples towns and helping them party down. Some sweet cowbell in there as well.

12.God Bless the USA
Hopefully, by this time you’ll have put back enough beers to ignore the sappy and corniness of this song. All I know is if I was having a Fourth of July party, I’d be drunk, and if I was drunk I’d probably enjoy singing this song like a total asshole. So here’s to you Lee Greenwood, and how you’re proud to be an American. I’m not going to post the link to this song, because I’m sober, so instead I’ll post David Cross ranting about it. But I seriously recommend giving this corny fake patriotism a listen, take note when he says “From Detroit down to Houston…” and wonder why anyone who loves their country would pick such shitty parts of it to put in a song.

13. America

It may be that my smarmy sarcasm is at its end, but I have nothing clever to say about this song, other than it’s amazing, and in my opinion is the most accurate depiction of the American dream on this whole list.

14. This Land is your Land

In terms of overtly patriotic songs, this is probably the least-douchey, that is to say its not douchey at all. Also, I went with the Bruce Springsteen version, because I left Born in the USA off this list.


Because... why not? I couldn't resist.

So what do you think? Did I miss any important ones? Tell me.

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