With the 4th of July upon us, it's time to crank up the Freedom Rock, dude! I've done columns in the past celebrating Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, even Paul Revere and the Raiders, but this time out I dug up some new names to kick around. Is this the land of opportunity or what?
Don't forget to play Jimi Hendrix's interpretation of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to annoy your great-grandparents, who really aren't so great if they hate Hendrix!
10) Bloodrock - "American Burn": From the album Bloodrock U.S.A., released in 1971, "American Burn" is just as cool as the tune that follows, "Rock & Roll Candy Man," but not nearly as great as the song, "Don't Eat the Children." It's a mixed feeling when I see someone's already written a song I would have liked to have written.
Lou Reed - "The Day John Kennedy Died": Lou Reed as a great humanitarian is pretty damn hilarious. Ol' Nasty Pants, however, can pretend he cares about the rest of us. This is from The Blue Mask (aka "The Robert Quine Album") and includes insights such as "I dreamed that there was a point to life and to the human race." Damn, Lou, you are deep. All I ever dream about is showing up for high school without my clothes!
8) Estelle featuring Kanye West - "American Boy": Just when American boys were starting to feel like they weren't as exotic as those English blokes or those erudite Frenchmen, British R&B artist Estelle comes out and says nice things about Kanye West. George Bush may have had his scuffle with "Conway," but having Estelle dig you is like winning the Revolutionary War all over again!
Allen Ginsberg - "America": As someone who put his "queer shoulder to the wheel, Ginsberg was an "outsider" when he wrote about marijuana, homosexuality, rampant consumerism, McCarthyism, socialism, genitalia, Henry Ford, a Catholic president, racism, Time magazine, the atom bomb and his psychiatrist. These days, most of this stuff is legal!
6) Lady Gaga - "Americano": In the tradition of Gummo, Wind-O, Glurpo, Inhalo and Hose-O, Lady Gaga pays tribute to Y! Music's "second best blog" with "Americano." Next? A double album following the travails of Wall Girl! The soundtrack to next year's blockbuster movie. Framed sets trends and we list them!
Lil Wayne - "American Dream": Lil Wayne makes nice with Mike Tyson because when you're little, you need all the big friends you can get. I know this myself. Last thing us short people need is more short friends. Us Beta-Males have issues.
4) Jay-Z - "American Dreamin'": A Marvin Gaye sample, a shout-out to St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, a mention of "Big Coke" in the projects, and a La-Z-Boy product placement, "American Dreamin'" is an accurate snapshot of America taken from the exit ramp of the superhighway. Oh man, ain't it fun when you know you're gonna die broke!
Miley Cyrus - "Party in the U.S.A.": She hears her favorite Britney and Jay-Z songs and then the DJ plays her song and Ms. Cyrus knows this is her country! How awesome! Like I totally have no idea what it's like. Like most of my readers, I don't feel like I own this country. I feel like I'm renting it. Or selling it at a loss!
2) Grand Funk Railroad - "We're An American Band": GFR! GFR! GFR! Mark, Don and Mel! Flint, Michigan's finest. Might have gotten better reviews had they been from NYC. Actually, their reviews have gotten better over time. Another band who play "Better-In-Retrospect-Rock!"
Funkadelic - "One Nation Under a Groove": You don't need to fight for your rights! You can dance your way to freedom. Just like getting drunk, eating too many hotdogs and burning off a finger or two with fireworks is a way of pledging allegiance to the grand ol' flag! We're America! We're flexible!