4th Of July Playlist: 13 Songs That Celebrate Liberty & “Freedom,” Plus The Red, White & Blue

John Hamilton | July 3, 2013 9:23 am

Thank goodness for the Fourth of July, because aside from Labor Day, summer vacation and a different Pride event in a different city every weekend for the past month, we need an excuse to take one more day off. Of course, this isn’t just any day off, it’s a day to sit in a folding lawn chair next to a smoking hibachi and stare pensively into the sunset, thinking about what a wonderful country we live in. And heaven knows we can’t do that without some music pumping on the old speakers, can we?

So before you light up the grill, pour the margaritas or blow off your fingers with an illegal M-80, dial up these 13 freedom-themed anthems for the ultimate soundtrack to Fourth of July fun. We promise lots of surprises and absolutely no overplayed clunkers. That’s right, we’re saying ENOUGH! to Katy Perry’s “Firework.” That girl needs a day off, too.

Wham!, “Freedom” Celebrate our country’s finest liberties — brassy highlights for men, mostly — with this appropriately titled classic from 1984’s hottest duo. And what the hell, double-dip with George Michael’s “Freedom ‘90” follow-up, featuring America’s greatest export: writhing supermodels!

’84:

’90:

Lana Del Rey, “National Anthem” All of Lana’s song titles read like a tracklisting for the most hipster BBQ of all time, so choosing just one for our playlist isn’t easy. “American” and “Trash (Miss America)” probably won’t start the charcoal, so our vote goes to the hot ‘n’ hip-hoppy “National Anthem.”

Missy Elliott, “4 My People” Because Independence Day is all about people coming together in celebration, this four-on-the-floor party jam from Ms. Elliott is the perfect joint to get your picnic peeps bouncing together in harmony. It’s safer than spiking the corn on the cob with ecstasy, anyway.

Kanye West feat. Rihanna & Kid Cudi, “All Of The Lights” What would Independence Day be without bombs bursting mid-air? Quite boring, of course! And so here we have Kanye supplying his own brand of flashes in the sky, via this epic production.

k.d. lang, “Just Keep Me Moving” I think we can all agree that lesbians on motorcycles are what made this country great, and… what’s that? k.d. lang is Canadian, you say? Well then… Happy belated Canada Day! (It was July 1st.)

Miley Cyrus, “Party In The U.S.A.” Before she became the severely-mohawked glamazon we all know and fear today — you know, the one doing lines in the bathroom — Miley was just a cardigan-wearing round-the-way girl who liked Britney and Jay-Z and hanging out with her old friends. And didn’t we love her just fine that way? Let’s think back to happier Miley times!

B-52’s, “Tell It Like It T-I-Is” One thing for which we Americans are most thankful is the First Amendment, and our freedom to say whatever the hell we want. What would reality television be without it? Lucky for us, the ageless B-52’s have just the song to celebrate our big mouths!

Taylor Swift, “Red” This is what the red in the Red, White, and Blue stands for, right? Leave it to perfectionist Taylor to match her gown and lipstick to the blood that was spilled for the freedom of our country!

Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel, “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” We know that the white stripes of the American flag have nothing to do with Melle Mel’s cautionary boogie, but what’s more American than an anti-drug anthem from the ‘80s?

Eiffel 65, “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” So Eiffel 65 are the furthest thing from anything American, but if we’re going to make this “Red, White & Blue” concept work, we really need the blue to pop. And what goes better with celebratory hamburgers than pure cheese?

Ultra Nate, “Free” Anthems like this really drive home what Independence Day is all about: having the freedom to do, be and achieve anything we want. Also, per this video, the freedom to wear feather boas and dance sexily around a surgical theatre. (Been there…)

Patrick Juvet, “I Love America” This list would really fall short of perfection if we didn’t include a disco song from the point of view of a high-pitched Swiss immigrant, right? Countless numbers of them fled to Manhattan in the 1970s to boogie, and this is their story.

Katy Perry, “Firework” Okay, so we said we weren’t including Ms. Perry this go-round, but one simply cannot celebrate the Fourth of July without this newly-minted classic. Besides, nothing says American Pride like a woman with a pyrotechnic breastplate.

What July 4th-leaning songs did we forget? Let us know below, pop fanatics!