10. U2 “4th of July”
What does it take for an Irish band to make a countdown for best fourth of July related songs? Not much apparently. U2‘s ethereal instrumental does sound like a soundtrack for fireworks but they check their patriotic lyrics at the door.
MP3: U2 “4th of July”
09. The Clash “I’m So Bored With the USA”
What does it take for a English punk band to make the countdown for best fourth of July related songs? How about one of the most biting criticisms of American culture? The Clash‘s “I’m So Bored With the USA” is surprisingly popular in the US considering it is a protest against American culture. References like “Move up Starsky for the C.I.A./Suck on Kojak for the USA” seem outdated now but at the time, we scathing.
MP3: The Clash “I’m So Bored With the USA”
08. Kelis “4th of July (Fireworks)”
Fireworks have become pretty popular in pop music over the last few years. Drake, Katy Perry, and Animal Collective all wax poetic about the colorful pyrotechnic devices. It is, however, Kelis‘ “4th of July (Fireworks)” that is my favorite of the bunch. The song is no revelation–comparing the feel of being in love with fireworks–but the track’s unrelenting dance beat makes it a must have for your independence day dance party.
MP3: Kelis “4th of July (Fireworks) (Calvin Harris Remix)”
07. Soundgarden “4th of July”
Despite the name, there is nothing patriotic about Soundgarden‘s “Fourth of July.” The track is actually about nuclear war. Chris Cornell compares the flash of fireworks to the flash of bombs in the song’s chorus: “Cause I heard it in the wind/I saw it in the sky/I thought it was the end/I thought it was the 4th of July.”
MP3: Soundgarden “4th of July”
06. Gaslight Anthem “American Slang”
Gaslight Anthem‘s “American Slang” is the punk version of a Charles Dickens novel. The song tells the plight of lower class Americans through the glaze of a song about relationships.
MP3: Gaslight Anthem “American Slang”
05. Killer Mike “American Dream”
Killer Mike entered many people’s radar with his latest album, R.A.P. Music. The album is filled with stirring sociopolitical criticism but that is nothing new for Killer Mike. “American Dream,” off his 2011 album PL3DGE, is a critique of drug laws in America with lines like “in America the crooks get the castles/never see a Rothschild or Rockefeller shackled/while Rockefeller Drug Laws keep us in a shackle.”
MP3: Killer Mike “American Dream”
04. LCD Soundsystem “North American Scum”
Not many people can write a song about American pride and make it seem quite as tongue-in-cheek as LCD Soundsystem. The track deals with how Americans are viewed overseas (“I hate the feelin’ when you’re looking at me that way/cause we’re north Americans”). At the same time, James Murphy does not shy away from criticizing his home land (“now we can’t have parties like in Spain where they go all night/Shut down in North America.”
MP3: LCD Soundsystem “North American Scum”
03. Kanye West and Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean “Made In America”
Kanye West and Jay-Z steep the deep cut from Watch the Throne in Americana. The track begins with Frank Ocean singing the name of historically important black Americans intermingled with the holy family. Jay-Z then kills a verse about drug dealing using America iconoclasm (“I pledge allegiance to my Grandma/for that banana pudding, our piece of Americana/our apple pie was supplied through Arm & Hammer”).
MP3: Kanye West and Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean “Made In America”
02. Trey Parker “America, Fuck Yeah”
From the soundtrack of Team America World Police, “America, Fuck Yeah” became the go to track to mock patriotism. With lyrical content like “Terrorists your game is through/cause now you have to answer to America! Fuck Yeah!” the mockery is palpable.
MP3: Trey Parker “America, Fuck Yeah”
01. Bruce Springsteen “Born in the USA”
“Born in the USA” is one of those weird songs that both members of the left and right seem to enjoy. There is a fist pumping anthem quality to the song that “these colors don’t run” bumper sticker wearers can enjoy while the lyrics can be read as an anti-war protest. You can safely put this on your BBQ playlist and satisfy everybody.
MP3: Bruce Springsteen “Born in the USA”