Songs for America: Happy 4th of July

Ah … the 4th of July! For most, it's a much-needed day (or week) to recharge and reconnect with family and friends. But cheerleaders on both sides of the aisle seem to use Independence Day as an opportunity to rant about something. Anything. Spark(ler)s of another kind always fly. Guaranteed.

So this year, we've taken a different approach. The majority of these songs have more to do with an "Americana feeling" rather than patriotic ones. (Think of the beauty and serenity of dusty roads, small towns and good times by the lake, not fighter jets and cultural imperialism.) Still, there are some poignant moments sprinkled throughout, like The Impressions' old-school soul nugget "This Is My Country." And then there are songs, such as U2's "Beautiful Day," that really have nothing to do with anything, except they make us feel good -- something needed on a holiday. And Katy Perry's "Firework" speaks for itself, right?

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