It's almost the 4th of July, and you know what that means! Cook-outs, neighborhood get-togethers and all-around joyous celebrations of being American. Fireworks, streamers, bald eagles and red-white-and-blue color schemes will be in full force today! Of course, just as important in celebrating the absolute greatest country in the world (we checked, it's true) is having the right music. You don't want to be caught being the person who completely misinterpreted “Born in the USA” and bummed everybody out by playing it, right? Therefore, here's five alternative patriotic songs to get your 4th of July off cookin' right!
5. Bruce McCulloch – “That's America” 1994
Leave it to a Canadian to best sum up America from the outside looking in. “Kids in the Hall” member Bruce McCulloch first debuted an abridged version of his “That's America” piece on the group's sketch comedy television show, and later expanded it for his album, Shame Based Man. Touching on the little things we may take for granted, like when people use an American flag instead of curtains, it best sums up the 4th's celebration by designating America as “a place for Americans.”
4. Bloodhound Gang – “Kids in America” 1995
Kim Wilde's hit “Kids in America” was one of the most memorable jams of the 80s, capturing what it was like to be a wild free-spirited youth in one of the coolest nations on Earth. Every cover of the song seems to bring out a little something extra thanks to the youth of its time (including even Len's cover from the Digimon soundtrack) but one version we're partial to is the belligerent but sincere hard-rocking cover from the Bloodhound Gang's debut album Use Your Fingers. Ending with a powerful return-chant, it's a surefire great way to capture the memories at your BBQ!
3. Petey Pablo – “Raise Up!” (USA Remix) 2001
The weeks following 9/11 were a dark, scary time for our country, but we got through it by banding together. Helping us along the way was Timbaland-backed North Carolina MC Petey Pablo who encouraged us to take the American flag, twist it round our hands and spin it like a helicopter. Rewriting his then-biggest hit “Raise Up” to be about all of America, the song remains a strong battle cry to come together when we need each other and be proud of our country.
2. C.S. Lewis Jr. – “We're Number 1” 2004
Whether you know him as Saul Goodman from AMC's “Breaking Bad” or for his sketch comedy work on “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” funnyman Bob Odenkirk has one of the sharpest minds and deliveries in the game. Right around the 2004 election when tension for who-loves-America-more in the music industry were running high, Odenkirk penned “We're Number 1” and performed it as his “C.S. Lewis Jr.” character, capturing/lampoon the spirit of hyper-patriotic country music perfectly.
1. Trey Parker – “America, Fuck Yeah!” 2004
Finally, we have the song that's not just great on the 4th of July, but any day throughout the year when you want to acknowledge how great this country truly is. The Trey Parker-penned theme from his motion picture Team America captures all that's great about the music of pro-American action films of the 80s with the biting wit that only Parker's been able to consistently chomp at us with since the 90s. For something as repeatedly quoted as it is, “America, Fuck Yeah!” has aged remarkably well. Give it a listen, and let those flags fly!