Suggested songs for your Fourth of July playlist

With the Supreme Court’s right wing ideological posse of six basically handing Donald Trump the keys to a shiny new dictatorship if—or should I say “when”—he puts King Lear to bed in November, this year’s Independence Day celebrations could prove to be our last as a democracy. 

The discerning reader might see how celebrating one’s freedom under a dictatorship is oxymoronic, although mostly the latter part of that word. 

But this is ‘Merica, and in ‘Merica, we set the world’s bar for getting drunk on cheap booze and blowing stuff up, and we can’t allow the potential end of our democracy to stop us from ripping shit up this year.

So wave that flag. Fire your guns. Rev that truck’s V-8 engine. Shoot off your illegal fireworks and celebrate the things that make us uniquely American, such as low global test scores and systematic racism. 

And while you’re in the backyard grilling meat, chugging Budweisers in NASCAR koozies and working on your sunburn, you’re going to want to set the party’s mood by piping your Fourth of July Spotify playlist through your Bluetooth speakers on the deck. 

So here are six songs that you absolutely cannot afford to leave off that playlist, songs that are so American that they should come with their own sleeveless T-shirts and thunderclap heart attacks.

  1. “America, F*** Yeah” by Trey Parker: This song sets the mood for any backyard barbeque with its driving beat and lyrics that include a formidable list of the things that are worthy of celebrating. I would suggest you bookend your playlist with this song. Is it a bit of a faux pas to include a song twice on a playlist? F*** yeah! 
  2. “Independence Day” by Bruce Springsteen. Nothing shows American strength like butting heads with your old man. Some might say that the song is a little too slow and a little too sad for a party playlist. Might I remind you that nothing shows weakness quite like having feelings. ‘Merica is about strength, not weakness or vulnerability or compassion. Love it or leave it, wimp.  
  3. “America” by Simon and Garfunkel. I’m basically putting this song on the playlist for the lines: “‘Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping/I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.” Next year, you’ll know why, and you’ll never be lost again with someone telling you where to go and what to do with every minute of your life. F*** yeah! 
  4. “U.S. Blues” by The Grateful Dead. I like the Dead, and this is ‘Merica, bub. You can’t tell me what I can or cannot like. Not yet. And if you don’t like it, feel free to go and do something that is anatomically impossible. Now put the lotion in the basket and put the damn song on your playlist! 
  5. “Hey Jack Kerouac” by 10,000 Maniacs. Jack Kerouac traded Mark Twain’s raft for a beat-up jalopy in order to explore what it truly meant to be free in this country. True freedom is not abiding by anyone’s else’s rules or schedules; it’s vibrant and chaotic and beautiful and terrifying. Besides, I also had a massive crush on Natalie Merchant when I was in high school.
  6. “Lodi” by C.C.R. Nothing says ‘Merica quite like playing songs in a small town dive bar for a bunch of drunks as your dream of making a living off your art turns from “bad to worse” right before your eyes. F*** yeah!