A July 4 Playlist That Goes Boom!
July 4 is truly America's national holiday, because it combines two of the country's grandest traditions: Taking the day off work and blowing shit up. Because freedom isn't free, fireworks and other explosives are embedded in America's formative myths and our national character. Also, they're pretty and make loud noises.
America can't claim to have invented music inspired by fireworks, but like so many other things in this country's 236 years of existence, we have certainly perfected it. Give or take the odd Brit or Canadian or two, Rocks Off came up with a 100 percent red, white and blue playlist we hope has you feeling sky-high on the Fourth.
WARMING UP THE BARBECUE
American Analog Set, The Fun of Watching Fireworks (album)
Animal Collective, "Fireworks"
Of Montreal, "Keep Sending Me Black Fireworks"
Martina McBride, "Independence Day"
The Who, "Sparks"
Soundgarden, "Blow Up the Outside World"
Soundgarden, "4th of July"
The Rolling Stones, "Sparks Will Fly"
Sixteen Deluxe, Emits Showers of Sparks (album)
Starland Vocal Band, "Afternoon Delight" ("skyrockets in flight...")
Riverboat Gamblers, "Sparks & Shots"
THE MAIN COURSE
X, "4th of July": Written by front man John Doe's brother in arms Dave Alvin, "Fourth of July" is one of X's best songs -- perhaps moreso because even though X is perhaps the quintessentially American band, "4th of July" has almost nothing to do with the national holiday. Instead, a man smokes a cigarette on his front steps and watches some Mexican kids shoot off fireworks while he replays the slow disintegration of his marriage in his head. "Hey, baby, it's the Fourth of July," he says, as if the date is going to make some kind of difference with her. It probably won't.
Coldplay, "Sparks": Anyone who witnessed Coldplay's day-glo extravaganza at Toyota Center last week might not recognize this slip of a song from 1999 debut Parachutes as the same band, but Chris Martin and friends' trademark swooning melodies were already in place.