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Five Weirdly Unsettling Independence Day Songs — And An Uplifting One

By Alyssa Rosenberg  

"Five Weirdly Unsettling Independence Day Songs — And An Uplifting One"

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You know, for a holiday that’s about the beginning of America, and that’s celebrated with lounging, parades, delicious meats, and low-grade explosives, there are a lot of anxiety-ridden songs about the Fourth of July:

1. Martina McBride’s 1993 reminder that liberty and justice for all can be a sick joke:

2. Bruce Springsteen explains that freedom can be just another way of walking out on irresolvable conflicts:

3. U2, just being generally eerie:

4. Elliot Smith, with a surprisingly sprightly meditation on the briefness of human existence:

5. David Byrne, who has a pretty succinct statement of the human condition, actually: “And though we struggle for our freedom / Our need for others still remains / We know what will make us happy / We know what will ease our pain.”

I think it’s useful to use July 4 as an opportunity to reflect on the limitations of our progress towards the American ideals of equity and justice. But once you’re on to the barbecue and beer and fireworks part of the program, I hope your day feels more like Kelis’ “Fourth of July”:

Happy Independence Day, y’all. Blogging will be light, but extant, on Monday.

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