Contrary to popular belief, we here at P.C.H.A. are quite the patriots. Unfortunately, when we were taught about American history in grade school, we actually believed all the high-falutin rhetoric. So when it turned out to be mostly marketing for imperialism… let’s just say it made us a bit bitter (see: religion). But if by patriotism, you mean embracing and living the ideals of the mosaic of America, and not flag bumper stickers and Tea Party jamborees, count us in.
Unfortunately, most “patriotic” music is rah-rah bullshit on par with “These Colors Don’t Run” T-shirts (I’m looking at you, Mr. Keith). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some songs that can make you feel good about being an American without having to take a shower immediately.
5) Neil Diamond:America
Believe it or not, there was a time when the immigrant experience was seen as one of America’s strengths, not a form of cultural AIDS that will kill us all (i.e. the time before immigrants turned brown). And who better to sugarcoat the struggle of making it in the New World than Mr. Vegas Sequins himself?
4) The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Yeah, it’s heavy on military and religion… but a good fucking song is a good fucking song. It’s almost impossible not to get a bit stirred up by a decent version of this Civil War classic. The bummer… there’s no definitive modern version. Come on, Titus Andronicus!
3) Simon & Garfunkel:America
One of the unabashedly great things about America is the roadtrip… being able to glide across a continent with no impediments. This Paul Simon classic perfectly captures both the feelings of freedom and melancholy that come with getting lost in America, as well as hinting at the impossibility of knowing a theoretical nation.
2) Woody Guthrie:This Land Is Your Land
There’s no greater epitome of the American myth than travelin’ Woody Guthrie. And he was a good enough songwriter that his Socialist indictment of private property has basically turned into a nursery rhyme, a bit of irony that I’d bet he’d appreciate. A nice reminder that the notion that America=pure capitalism is complete and utter bullshit.
1) Ray Charles:America the Beautiful
This should really be America’s national anthem, if it weren’t for the legal stickiness of the god part. And it’s pretty perfect that the definitive version was sung by a black, blind heroin addict. Only in America.