Best 4th of July songs? My favorite music for watching fireworks on Independence Day

What's on your 4th of July soundtrack?

It’s Independence Day – what songs do you want to hear while watching fireworks light the night sky? You can listen to patriotic songs like “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” if you want, or even country anthems like Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red White & Blue” but I prefer a more varied mix for my soundtrack to seeing those beautiful explosions in the sky*. Yes, 4th of July is the celebration of our nation’s birthday (we’re 235 years young!) but a lot of the songs I prefer on this holiday are about the whimsy and romance of sharing the view with someone special — or the heartbreak of watching those bottle rockets alone. Here’s what I listen to on this holiday:

Soundgarden – “4th of July”
If the world were really going to end on July 4th like aliens tried to do in Will Smith’s Independence Day, this would definitely be an appropriate track to hear.

Martina McBride – “Independence Day”
The only country song I enjoy on 4th of July, though McBride’s brand of the genre and most modern country isn’t really true “country” anyway.

Mariah Carey – “4th Of July”
“Truly I have never felt the same inside like that Fourth of July…” This song makes me the saddest on this list, but it’s a beautiful track and I could listen to it all day.

Katy Perry – “Firework”
This song has nothing to do with the holiday, and it’s the only time I’ve ever heard anyone refer to fireworks in the singular, but I love the overall message and the lyrically fist-pumping chorus.

Aimee Mann – “4th of July”
“Today’s the fourth of July, another June has gone by, and when they light up our town I just think ‘what a waste of gunpowder and sky,’ I’m certain that I am alone in harboring thoughts of our home…”

Plain White T’s – “Fireworks”
Probably the happiest song on this list: “Fireworks flyin’ whenever we’re together, I know, you know, that I know you love me.”

Bruce Springsteen – “Independence Day”
A troubled, quiet song representing the Boss’s many mixed emotions regarding patriotism.

Jimmy Eat World – “Just Watch The Fireworks”
Jim’s promise to see the fireworks with a lost love is an anthem for who’s ever been riddled with insomnia, waiting for them to come back.

Elliott Smith – “Independence Day”

“Gonna spend the day higher than high…” Elliott Smith truly was a Roman candle that blazed brightly and briefly on the music scene (he won an Oscar for Best Original Song with “Miss Misery” in Good Will Hunting) for a short time before his tragic suicide.

What songs do you have on your 4th of July soundtrack? Leave a comment!

*Note: There is also a band called Explosions In The Sky, which is worth checking out if you dig rock-based instrumental landscapes. Their music isn’t bad, but it’s better as background music than on your iPod workout mix, which is why so much of their stuff has appeared on the TV show “Friday Night Lights.”