Last week, Americans celebrated our independence from the crown by getting drunk and shooting explosives everywhere. That’s freedom! I can critically think about why America is a terrible place sometimes. My patriotism is working to make my country a better place, not accepting the idea of us being superior at face value. I realize some of my favorite songs critique our military, religious ideals, economic “freedom,” and our culture of patriotism. Some songs about America are realistically bleak.
1. “America” by Tori Amos
This is one of the best songs on her new album, Unrepentant Geraldines. In it, Amos makes a return to her classic sound. I highly recommend the album to anyone who is a fan of Scarlet’s Walk.
2. “See America Right” by The Mountain Goats
Listening to a couple disintegrate over an entire album can be excruciating, but John Darnielle somehow turns the ordeal into bleak fun. The Alpha cycle couple’s relationship is laid bare on Tallahassee, and this song comes right in the heart of them blowing up. The haunting nature of the break up is both intimate and universal.
3. “America” by Simon and Garfunkel
A classic. Maybe one of the best examples of Simon and Garfunkel’s harmonies and song writing.
4. “American” by Lana del Rey
No matter what people say about del Rey, her voice is fucking amazing. The lyrics on this song will probably haunt me for a long time. Moreover, her songwriting is a lot better than most people give her credit for. I too was once a hater. I still disagree with her Elvis Presley love.
5. “American Jesus” by Bad Religion
An amazing punk song. Greg and Brett have always known how to take down our culture and I think this song speaks to their song writing ability. If you listen closely, you can hear Eddie Veddar on back up vocals.
6. “Ashes of American Flags” by Wilco
I have always respected Jeff Tweedy’s song writing. Like most people, I agree that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is the best Wilco album, and this might be the best or second best song off of that album.
7. “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron and Wine
What’s more American than being associated with the Twilight soundtrack? In all seriousness, this song has been one of my favorite new folk songs of the last decade.
8. “So American” by Portugal. The Man
This is my favorite song by an underrated band. Also the best thing to come from Wasilla. It is fucking catchy. I bet you will be singing this over and over again, just like me.
9.”Americans Abroad” by Against Me!
One of the songs that inspired this list. I have been listening to a lot of Against Me! again lately. Shocker, I know. Laura Jane Grace is a great song writer, and I think she really captures something important in this song.
10. “America” by Neil Diamond
The closet thing to a patriotic song I actually like because it is sooooo catchy. Neil Diamond is awesome. I will never not love him!
I apparently have a very different outlook about America than Rush Limbaugh and the GOP. I hope no one thought Lee Greenwood was going to be on this list.