Listen Here: 4th of July BBQ

It's Independence Day, so boop, boop, ba, boop, boop when you want to. (source)

It’s Independence Day, so boop boop ba boop boop when you want to. (source)

Listen Here is a monthly playlist picked and curated by members of the Deadshirt staff around a certain theme. This month’s theme is “4th of July Barbecue,” with a playlist selected by several Deadshirt staffers and curated by music editor Julian Ames.

The 4th of July is, of course, America’s Independence Day, and in celebration, Deadshirt members and contributors pulled together and picked the songs that most remind them of the holiday and all the fireworks, barbecues and summer nights that go with it. The playlist is embedded below, and is made of songs picked by Max Robinson, Dominic Griffin, Christina Harrington, David Lebovitz, Sam Paxton, Mike Duquette, Dylan Roth, and Julian Ames, along with notes on why we chose them. We hope you enjoy:

“Ice Cream Castles” – Morris Day and The Time, Ice Cream Castle
This is the song I most associate with the start of summer, a lazy funk keyboard jam about that great warm weather passtime: trying to get laid. It’s hot out there; let the popsicle tones of Morris Day and company cool you off. – Max Robinson

“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” – Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run
You’d think you could reach into a hat, pull out a Springsteen song at random, and it would fit onto a Fourth of July playlist, until you remember his lyrics tend to be… bleak. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” however, is a fun, ultimately hopeful song about the start of the E Street Band – and that alone is a cause for celebration and fireworks. Plus, everyone who has ever been anywhere near New Jersey knows the song well enough to at least chant out the chorus. – David Lebovitz

“Hot Fun In The Summertime” – Sly & The Family Stone, Greatest Hits (non-album single)
The perfect too-hot-to-do-anything-but-groove song of the century, “Hot Fun In The Summertime” was the arguable capstone of several phenomenal years in the life of Sly Stone and his merry band of musical geniuses. The group had spent the summer basking in the warm glow of Stand!, their fourth and best album to date, when “Hot Fun” was released within days of their iconic performance at the Woodstock Festival, solidifying their reputation as one of the definitive bands of the Summer of Love era. Its placement on Sly & The Family Stone’s Greatest Hits in the winter of 1970 is just one of many reasons why that album is one of the greatest compilations of all time. – Mike Duquette

“Drivin’ Around” – The Raspberries, Fresh
This one sort of speaks for itself–what says “summer” more than an aimless road trip with your best gal/guy? The windows are down, the music’s blaring, and you’re just looking for a good time. It’s 1972, but power pop gods The Raspberries are here to take you back even further with their Beach Boys-inspired cruise tune. – Dylan Roth

“Don’t Worry Baby” – The Beach Boys, B-side to “I Get Around”
With all the dozens of Beach Boys tracks that are explicitly summer-y, somehow this love song about a drag racer and the woman who keeps him steady evokes a night in July better than any of them. Something about the thick, echoey vocals reminds me of the smell of sweaty summer air, the sound of fireworks, and the feeling of a high school crush’s breath in my ear. Brian Wilson wrote this song in an attempt to reproduce the magic of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” which may be the most worthy cause for writing a song ever, and while nothing will ever quite touch the pure, perfect popsmanship of that track, this captures an atmosphere all its own, one even more desperate and heartfelt. – Dylan Roth

“Easy” – Real Estate, Days
“Easy” is the kind of music I would use to score grainy home videos of cookouts and pool parties from my parents’ childhoods. “Easy” is a song title that advertises exactly what kind of song it is–sunny, hazy, and infinitely listenable. “Easy” is a word that perfectly encapsulates a lazy summer day, the non-effort of laying in a swimming pool, or out under the stars. And “Easy” is a track that, for me, will forever be inextricably tied to a particular July 4th, happier times, and a girl at the beach. – Sam Paxton

“Flightless Bird, American Mouth” – Iron & Wine, The Shepard’s Dog
“Flightless Bird, American Mouth” embodies perfectly both the wanderlust and laziness that overtakes me in the summer. I want to spend July 4th on a roadtrip across whatever state I’m currently in, but I also want to spend the day relaxing pool-side while someone else grills me a cheeseburger. I’m both the boy with the map and the fat housecat. – Christina Harrington

Danza Kuduro – Don Omar ft. Lucenzo, Meet The Orphans
If you saw Fast Five, you’ll recognize this as the Reggaeton song that plays at the end of the movie when [HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILERS:] everyone’s a millionaire and buys cool planes. Blare this at your 4th of July BBQ and embrace your inner Vin Diesel; soon enough, you and your pals will be looking at each other with arms crossed exchanging knowing looks. “Summer 2014? Haha yeah…I’m in”. – Max Robinson

“American Beat” – HeadCat, Walk The Walk … Talk The Talk
Can’t have a 4th of July playlist without at least one song mentioning America in the title, right? Right. So I decided to throw in this song by the rockabilly supergroup made up of Lemmy from Motörhead and Slim Jim Phanton of The Stray Cats to both celebrate America and to shake up the mix a bit. Hopefully putting this right after Danza Kuduro will get people up and dancing after a first half of a lot of relaxing-in-the-summer-sun music. – Julian Ames

“Cherry Cola” – Eagles of Death Metal, Death By Sexy
Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme’s ridiculous Americana-laced side project has always been good for a laugh or a good time, but “Cherry Cola” from their Death By Sexy LP is a staggering achievement in dumb, catchy, mirthful rock & roll. It feels like a Michael Bay-sized smorgasbord of instantly relatable clichés, like the summery touchstones of Lana Del Rey’s first album, but remade by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I almost exclusively blast this song at BBQs, or when I want to replicate that special atmosphere alone in my headphones. (Bonus points for Jesse Hughes looking kind of like Guy Pearce and “Cherry Cola” tangentially reminding me of Savage Garden.) – Dominic Griffin

“Pursuit of Happiness” – KiD CuDi, Man on The Moon: End of The Day
I think every 4th of July party needs a come down. The fireworks are over. We’ve fully settled into the sad truth of us not winning the World Cup. Tomorrow’s hangover is on the horizon, and there’s barbecue sauce on your favorite t-shirt. No one does laconic, cautiously optimistic cooldowns like Scott Mescudi. If the Deadshirt 4th of July party was a Levi’s commercial, this would be the part where we all run around in the dark with leftover sprinklers, tracing light trails in the sky. The bent synths and Ratatat guitar riffs snuggly drift CuDi’s morose vocals into a kind of mission statement for tomorrow, the day after we celebrate our freedom and start actually living it. – Dominic Griffin

“400 Lux” – Lorde, Pure Heroine
You know that feeling you get at the end of a long, sunny day spent outside, after the sun’s gone down and the stars come out, when you’re driving home from a picnic, windows down, letting the cool night air tangle your hair, maybe watching fireworks silently lighting up the sky in the distance? “400 Lux” IS that feeling. – Christina Harrington

“She Will Have Her Way” – Neil Finn, Try Whistling This
The heat of the summer is best matched by the occasional fresh breeze, like this one from Neil Finn, frontman for Crowded House and one of the greatest songwriters of his generation. This jangly number features one of Finn’s more melancholy lyrics–a lover’s plea of sorts, with one half of the couple gut-punchingly described as “thinker, soldier terrified”–but the Beatlesesque melody and yearning chorus makes this a gorgeous, wistful addition to any summer playlist. – Mike Duquette

“Back In The Saddle” – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Let It Sway
SSLYBY’s breezy, Midwest-infused rock makes for the perfect summer soundtrack. There’s something quintessentially American-sounding about the anthem that kicks off their best album, with its layered gang vocals and twangy banjo underpinnings. It’s easy to envision the band blasting this from the windows of a beat-up muscle car, tooling around the back roads of their home state of Missouri. If lyrics like “when we die the world won’t end / just keep on drinkin’ ‘til it spins” don’t make you want to grab your pals and waste away in the fading sunlight, I don’t know how to help you. – Sam Paxton

“Continuous Thunder” – Japandroids, Celebration
Nothing says 4th of July quite like fireworks. Everything in this song evokes the feeling of fireworks, from the pounding drum rolls to the bright crashing cymbals. Japandroids even uses actual firework sounds at the end of the song, making it a perfect finisher for our 4th of July playlist. – Julian Ames

That’s Deadshirt’s hand-picked 4th of July BBQ playlist – now, you tell us what you like to hear when you’re grilling hotdogs, relaxing with a beer in the summer sun or enjoying some fireworks. Comment below or hit us up on Facebook!

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