Five On The Fourth: A Playlist of Independence

Despite what you hear over the supermarket loudspeakers, there’s more to the Fourth of July than Lee Greenwood. Don’t give up! Instead, celebrate with this playlist of independence!

1. “That Summer Feeling”, Jonathan Richman

You’re young and going to live forever. Except that you aren’t, and one day, possibilities will dwindle into what-ifs, and you’ll covet the days that you’re burning through right now.

2. “Constructive Summer”, The Hold Steady

America’s best bar band offers the perfect song for your mid-year get-your-ass-in-gear montage. Consider these lines your summertime gospel: 

Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer

I think he might’ve been our only decent teacher

Getting older makes it harder to remember we are our only saviors

We’re gonna build something, this summer

3. “Which of the Two of Us Is Gonna Burn This House Down?”, The Star Spangles

Their name alone gives them a spot on this list, but then there’s the music, a ramshackle wallop that inserts itself into a lineage that includes the New York Dolls and The Replacements, groups who were for brief, blinding flickers America’s best. 

4. “The ‘59 Sound”, The Gaslight Anthem

This song covers the requisite Bruce Springsteen July 4th playlist inclusion– intimations of mortality, an unshakable past, a love affair with a radio, Saturday nights, and a stadium-sized chorus. 

5. “Fourth of July”, Galaxie 500

Lo-fi shoegaze that floats like the aftermath of a thousand sparklers. Music for the comedown. Maybe even a love song: “I never thought that I would end up here/Maybe I should just change my style/But I feel alright when you smile.”

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Charlie Farmer is a Georgia writer and professor who loves his wife, his daughters, his students, his cats, his books, his LPs, and everything else one should love in life.