4th Of July Playlist: Anthems From They Might Be Giants, Free Energy, Slam Donahue & More

Posted July 3

If you reside in the U.S of A, you’re likely gearing up for a day of fireworks, ice-cold beer and rampant cheering — otherwise known as the Fourth of July (that’s tomorrow, for those of you who lack a calendar). To get you even more pumped than you likely already are (put down the sparklers, kids, it’s still the 3rd), we’ve compiled a playlist of personal anthems chosen by an array of awesome bands. Some bands picked their own songs, some picked classics, some (ahem, Slam Donahue) gave us copious tunes to choose from. Check out the tunes and the bands’ explanations after the jump and make sure to share your anthem in the comments below.

Slowdance (Quay Quinn-Settel): Girls At Our Best, ‘Go for Gold,’ DIIV, ‘Sometime,’ Destroyer, ‘Kaputt.’

FAWN: We pick ‘Thunder Road,’ but not the Springsteen classic, the cover by Tortoise! They transform it from a fist-pumpin’ piano ballad into a mid-tempo, midwest guitar head bobber. And it sounds AWESOME when you listen to it with all your windows down. (Note: OMA couldn’t find the cover, so the original will have to suffice.)

Zebra Katz: ‘Ima Read’ has been my mantra/anthem since I moved to NYC to attend college in ’04. I think the song is beyond relatable and also has the ability to resonate with students/teachers across the world. Reading is Fundamental … Support the Ima Read Foundation.

Blaqstarr: ‘She Is Love’ is the anthem because LOVE is the immortal flow of energy that nourishes, extends and preserves. Its eternal goal is life. I thank God for this gift.

They Might Be Giants (John Flansburgh): Hi MTV! John F. of TMBG here. Happy 4th of July! As we all get our red, white and blue party hats on I’d like to take this opportunity [to say] that this country is a democracy not a plutocracy! [Check out a] performance of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings performing Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land.’

And, of course, what 4th of July would be complete without a little CCR? This track, ‘Fortunate Son,’ contains the lyric, ‘When the band plays Hail to the Chief,’ they point the cannon at you.” And the track rocks completely. PEACE!

Zulu Winter (Iain Lock): ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin. She is an ‘independent woman,’ and respecting people is always a good theme of celebrations, right?

‘Come Together’ by Spiritualized. This is an epic song, love the fact that the lyrics are so dark and fucked-up but the chorus is so triumphant. If you hadn’t been listening during the verse, you would have a completely different experience of this song. Great, solid bass line. The choir behind this is tune always makes me want to go out drinking and have a laugh. Good sunset tune.

Pony Boy: Tom Waits’ ‘This One’s From the Heart’ to keep you company when picking up empty beer bottles after the party is over.

[This anthem] always seems to end in a epic sing-along: ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ by The Band. (Even though it’s ironically a song about the Confederate Army during the Civil War). Still a great jam!

Or Team America’s, ‘America Fuck Yeah’ doesn’t really need any description. Just Red White and Blue Genius by Trey Parker.

Free Energy (Paul Sprangers): Cheap Trick’s ‘Southern Girls.’ Our country was founded by rich white guys, let’s celebrate! Crank this song, crack a cold brew, and try to remember that 4th of July is about American Rebellion!

Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me.’ It’s late. You’re wasted. And someone just got hit by a rogue firework. This is your song. Turn it up and try to forget that you’re going to pass out in 15.

Wintersleep (Tim D’Eon): ’4th of July’ by Soundgarden. Wicked sludgy jam from one of my favorite records from the ’90s… Hendrix playing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock. Selfexplanatory.

Slam Donahue: T. Rex – ‘Children of The Revolution’: Usually content to write about stars in his lovers’ hair, metal gurus, and banging gongs, Marc Bolan quit that for just a minute to illustrate how phonies will always be seen as such. A you-will-never-understand-us teenage anthem that captures everything in its chorus and how you won’t ever fool the children of the revolution.

Billy Joel – ‘Miami 2017′: Bloated, sappy, and way over the top — depressingly so — much like the song’s author, yet so sentimental and truthful you can see past all that, this anti-anthem screams along like it isn’t already too late. Manhattan is sank, the Yankees saved, and Brooklyn holds a memorial concert. The New Yorkers’ Empire State of Mind.

Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Triumph’: If this isn’t the anthem of hip-hop everywhere, they should consider changing it. No other song better describes rap as a place you can go. Street anthem and a high water mark for any kid writing couplets.

Selda Bağcan – ‘Ince Ince’: In all honesty, we don’t know what the words of this song mean, but it sounds like war drums and swords cleanly sliding out of your enemy.

LCD Soundsystem – ‘All My Friends’: If Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist was a country and not a shitty movie everyone forgot about, the crowd would get rowdy when James Murphy got close to the end of this jam. He would sing it at hockey games. They’d cover their hearts, down their microbrew, and tear up as another couple they knew welcomed their first child into the world. Not because babies are a blessing, but there go two more drinking buddies.

David Bowie – ‘Five Years’: Not concerned with Nationalism, this anthem includes everyone, fat, skinny people, nobody, somebody people. The Earth is dying, come on everyone live and enjoy it, throw your arms up, it’s all silly, celebrate.

Ween – ‘Freedom of ’76′: Really an anthem for Philly, this song also subconsciously speaks for every teenager piling records and thrift store musical equipment into their small, smoky room. Blue-eyed soul, yes, but also the freedom to be what you want and do exactly what you feel. The anthem for every kid who was told ‘no’ and went ahead and did it anyway.

Theresa Andersson: I’m going to have to go with the pop classic by Charles Ives, his ’4th of July’ composition. If you can’t find it, don’t worry… just pull up two windows on your computer and play two marches simultaneously and ta-da — you have your very own mashup composition. I actually think he uses four songs in his, so you could get fancy and try that…

Image courtesy of Flickr, Amani Hasan