In honor of the upcoming Fourth Of July holiday, here are my five favorite songs with an “American” theme.
Rock songs are rarely “pro-American” — we’ve got Toby Keith for that — but more often convey an ambiguity about the distance between American ideals and American reality.
In any event, here are my five favorite:
One. “America,” by Simon & Garfunkel. Lush soundtrack with melancholic lyrics. Though written in the 60s, it works today.
Two. “Pink Houses,” by John Mellencamp. There’s winners and there’s losers and that ain’t no big deal. Until it is.
Three. “Born In The USA,” by Bruce Springsteen. The song SOUNDS anthemic, almost patriotic. The corresponding lyrics are bitter, almost vitriolic. I suppose that irony explains the genius.
Four. “American Pie,” by Don McLean. It’s wistful, it’s lengthy, and it’s never not good.
Five. “Crazy Island,” by John Mellencamp. Mellencamp gets TWO? Yep. This tune is pretty much buried on the Cuttin’ Heads album — and album that is itself buried in Mellecamp’s lengthy catalog — but song and LP are worth repeated listens.