Forget everything you know about American music and immerse yourself in this one-of-a-kind travelogue that kicks off with Joan Jett thrashing out Jonathan Richman's classic "Roadrunner," goes into Biggie's candidate for greatest hip-hop song of all time ("Juicy") and the continues to Dolly Parton's eerily relevant "In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)." Then there's Lady Gaga's "You & I" and Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" and No Doubt's bizarre pop-prog-metal-tango epic "Tragic Kingdom," all of which couldn't have come from any other country; neither could the arch irony-inside-of-irony of David Byrne's Latin-pop "Miss America" and the feckless Dandy Warhols' Occupy-timed version of "16 Tons."
Our country celebrates the critical (Tom Paxton's tense Vietnam protest "Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation," Cake's corporate send-up "Comfort Eagle," Public Enemy's controversial, filtered-kazoo gospel epic "By the Time I Get to Arizona") and the mindless (Miley Cyrus' immortal "Party in the U.S.A.," Britney Spears' roller-rink slam "You Drive Me Crazy [The Stop Remix!]," The Offspring's nihilistic "Cool to Hate") in equal measure. We birthed culture-twisters Weird Al and Laurie Anderson, too. Let's celebrate it all in one insane dosage.