“History began on July Fourth, 1776. Everything before that was a mistake.” These are the words spoken by Ron Swanson, one of America’s greatest heroes. Nothing is as American as sitting back on a hot July day drinking some Jack Daniels’ whiskey while eating hotdogs, hamburgers, and risking your limbs lighting fireworks as you give your mother a heart attack. But what would put the whip cream on the metaphorical apple pie would be to have an amazing music playlist. So in honor of our great nation’s big 241st, here are some of the most American tracks I could assemble for you red-blooded, music-loving, patriots out there:
- Star Spangled Banner – Whitney Houston
Obviously I’m going to start this playlist off with our national anthem. And I don’t care what any of you say because there has never been a better rendition than Whitney Houston’s Star Spangled Banner. Houston sings this to start Super Bowl XXV while America was in the middle of the Persian Gulf War. If you don’t get goosebumps listening to those golden pipes than the video footage will bring you to tears.
- America – Simon and Garfunkel
Play this gem while you’re in the car driving to grandma’s house. Craft your hypothetical strategy to beat Joey “Jaws” Chestnut in a hot dog eating contest. Also, try to think of a cool nickname and please no wiener puns.
- Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
You just cracked open your first beer and had a handful of Doritos. You’re really struggling to fight the urge to wave the stars and stripes to this 1984 classic. You try not to think about how this fist pumper is really an ironic retort to the indifference and hostility Vietnam veterans had to deal with. And ignore your dad when he comments on how much of a “communist ass” Springsteen is. Just finish that beer.
- Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet
You’re feeling great. The weather is perfect, the food is amazing and your mom just made a batch of strawberry margaritas. Sit back, put your feet up and try not to freak out when you remember that you left the stove on before leaving the apartment.
- American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
You have a great buzz going. You’ve added way too many condiments to your burger and it tastes awful but you don’t care. Your cousin comes up to you and pours four shots of fireball. You pound three without hesitation. Your family is beginning to stare…
- We’re an American Band – Grand Funk Railroad
You’re pretty loaded at this point and you steal your four-year-old cousin’s Barbie and use it as a microphone. You’re thinking Great Uncle Murphy would be a great duet partner and hand him the Barbie as the chorus comes around. He looks at you in disgust.
- Pink Houses – John Mellencamp
You’ve detached your aunt’s American flag from her front porch and begin reenacting the “No Retreat” scene from Mel Gibson’s The Patriot while running with sparklers.
- American Pie – Don McLean
You’re fading fast. If there was a perfect way to describe your fall from the buzz it would be at the end of the Vietnam War movie, Platoon where Willem Dafoe gets shot down in a blaze of glory. Only you’re throwing up in grandma’s rose garden. You ask second cousin Louise for some Advil.
Remember this Fourth of July that we are all Americans and we live in the greatest country on Earth. Drink responsibly(ish) and have some fun. Be proud to be an American and always keep the government honest. To once again quote the great Ron Swanson, “The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so. To me, that’s beautiful.”