Alright, look. I’m not the most patriotic guy out there. In fact, I think national pride in general is a bit ridiculous. But it’s the 4th of July. It’s America’s Birthday. That’s something we need to celebrate, right? Right?? I’m taking advantage of this situation to compile a very special list of songs that come to mind as I drink away this “holiday”.
Sure, we might be a confused nation. We keep throwing this term “freedom” out there, but I’m convinced a significant portion of our population, including our elected officials, have absolutely zero idea what this term means. We’ll find the right page in the dictionary eventually. Many of us are governed based on the contents of a book written a few thousand years ago rather than scientific fact or, ya know, common knowledge — and naturally, only very specific parts of this book matter, not the whole thing. For example, it’s really hard letting people love whoever they want, but we sure as shit like to shave, cut our hair, blend fabrics, and grow a variety of crops in a single field. Thanks Leviticus! You could also argue that we are the world’s bully (most likely a victim of our own insecurities and shortcomings, just like high school), but we’ve done some cool shit and we have some cool shit. So that’s nice. And in all reality, life is pretty great for a lot of us. So I’m only going to poke fun within this paragraph… I think.
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, there are certain songs that come to mind as I watch the slow but oh-so-apparent degradation of the U.S. and A. Here are some of my favorites. Some are obvious, some less so.
Megadeth – “Washington is Next!” (from United Abominations, 2007)
If we want to talk about America, or politics I suppose, there’s no way we could exclude the mind of Dave Mustaine. This is not one of Megadeth’s stronger albums (although much better than some of the stuff that followed), but this track is pretty killer.
Dying Fetus – “Raping the System” (from War Of Attrition, 2007)
I don’t pick up Dying Fetus all that often, but this particular album strikes a chord with me. It’s fast, angry, and extremely technical across all levels. This, being the longest track on the album, is certainly ambitious. But it’s one of the highlights for sure.
Lamb of God – “Contractor” (from Wrath, 2009)
This was the first track released on Lamb of God’s fifth studio album. I wasn’t impressed when I heard it in a standalone setting. However, it works quite well within the confines of this album. Plus, the 4th of July is literally referenced in the lyrics. I had no choice.
Rammstein – “Amerika” (from Reise, Reise, 2004)
Another no brainer. I’ve always recognized and accepted the message in this song. I know what our influence is on other cultures. I also listened as a dozen non-American strangers sang it (directed at me and a couple of friends) at Wacken. That was… an experience. Rammstein has such a way with words.
Pain – “Monkey Business” (from Cynic Paradise, 2008)
Keeping the industrial train rolling, Pain brings in a nice dose of criticism for our beloved politicians. Not necessarily directed at the U.S. necessarily, but I can get on board with his stance on the hypocrisy (see what I did there?) and corruption of the whole thing.
Serj Tankian – “The Unthinking Majority” (from Elect The Dead, 2007)
This song certainly isn’t subtle. Nor is this album. Serj is one of the most politically critical characters on the scene. I love his honesty in these lyrics, but on the larger scale this is a really cool song. Aggressive enough, but incredibly catchy.
Slayer – “Americon” (from World Painted Blood, 2009)
I haven’t really paid much mind to latter-day Slayer, but there were a couple decent songs on this album. Focusing on deception, greed, and corruption, Slayer makes their stance clear here in a tight, well put together track.
Hypocrisy – “Taste Of Thy Spineless” (from End Of Disclosure, 2013)
Not Hypocrisy’s greatest effort in an album, but there were some highlights. This is unquestionably one of them. Tastefully diverse leads in the verses, a powerful chorus filled with melody… it’s everything we want in a Hypocrisy track.
Iron Maiden – “Run To The Hills” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982)
No chance I was leaving this off. When celebrating America’s birthday, we need to look back on its history. The conflict between the settlers and the natives who were inconveniently in our way by living here first is told in one of my favorite Maiden songs.
So, as you flip your burgers, drink your shitty Budweisers, and shoot off your fireworks, make sure this playlist is blasting through your speakers! Happy birthday, America!
“Ein Bier… bitte.”