A Super-Patriotic July 4 Playlist
With Independence Day Friday, it's worth debating which songs qualify as the most patriotic ever recorded in these here United States, or at least which songs wanted to be. Here are the finalists.
Neil Diamond, "America": Diamond's ridiculously catchy ode to the immigrant's plight is one of the grand master of arena-appropriate pop's greatest. Try not to sing along, we dare you. Patriot Factor: 10 — for East Coast liberals; 3 — for conservatives who think "ethnic types" are ruining the country, but their restaurants sure serve great food.
Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA": Contrary to what Ronald Reagan thought, Springsteen's classic is about Vietnam, not being proud of America. Told by a veteran who came back and was overlooked by his indifferent government, its vitriol is what makes the song so damn American. PF: 8. Misunderstood Factor: 9
Darryl Worley, "Have You Forgotten?": When popular support for the war in Iraq began to wane in 2003 — mostly because it gradually dawned on Americans their leadership had little to no clue how to fight an urban war in the Middle East — country star Worley decided to sing a little sense into them and the pansy-pants media with this pro-ass-stomping ballad that blindly supported what we now know to be a wholly corrupt military establishment. PF: 9.
Jimi Hendrix, "The Star-Spangled Banner": Hendrix's feedback-bruised take on the national anthem used chords to imply machine gun fire and the whistling of dropping bombs to the 400,000 men and women at Woodstock. Easily one of the most iconic moments in rock history, it persists as a haunting attack on the government charged with defending the same flag Hendrix was honoring. PF: 8.
Bill (Jack Sheldon), "I'm Just a Bill": School House Rock taught America's children while rocking them hard. "I'm Just a Bill" is probably the only reason Americans who grew up in the 1980s can recall how a bill actually becomes a law. PF: 7. Educational Value: 10.
Toby Keith, "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)": Country music was just beginning to regain some of the respect it lost in the '90s when Toby Keith came up with the lyrics "we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way." Really? Since when? Sadly, a disturbing percentage of Americans have now adopted this as their new national anthem. Happy Fourth of July? PF: 10 — if you like Keith or weren't in junior high school yet; 2 — if you don't or you were.
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