Happy Fourth of July, Lennys! Today we're celebrating the red, white, and blue by blasting the tracks that remind us most of our beloved United States.
What Lena Dunham is listening to:
It wouldn't be Fourth of July without my Tom Petty fix. I saw him play at Jones Beach in the summer of 2005, and I've probably never felt more like an American Girl than when I was sucking down a Popsicle in denim cutoffs while trying to attract the attention of a guy in a vintage Springsteen tee. Sometimes being a cliché is a Goddamned pleasure, so I'll listen to "American Girl" and "Free Fallin'" all day until it's time to rest, and then I'll put on "Crawling Back to You" to experience Tom's mellow side. Traveling Wilburys also permitted at this sausage fest.
What our CEO Ben Cooley is listening to:
I was brought up by a hippie mom in the '70s. Which meant lots of Carole King, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Holly Near on the turntable. One of the concerts I remember her dragging me to was Odetta. Her vocal power and earnestness really appealed to the nine-year-old me. Here's an unambiguously patriotic example of Odetta bringing the gospel for this July Fourth! Happy Birthday America!
What our deputy editor Laia Garcia is listening to:
This song, "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley, is literal late summer evening. Drinking beers. Stealing kisses. Lying on blankets with your friends, looking at the sky and saying nothing. This song is not about America, but it's not not about America either. On repeat as soon as the temperature hits 80. This song is everything.
What our editor at large Mikki Halpin is listening to:
I don't know if I'm all that patriotic, but I'm going to go with Our Lady of Americana Lana Del Rey as my pick. I love a lady who joyfully, artfully, and maybe a little cynically uses symbols to her own end, and what could be more American than that? She wrote a song called "National Anthem" that's basically an ode to money and sex, and in the video for "High by the Beach," she defends her privacy (and, presumably, her weed) with some kind of surface-to-air missile. My feelings about this country are complicated, but I love Lana's mysterious art and her total dedication to doing her own thing. Long may she wave.
What our contributing writer Kaitlyn Greenidge is listening to:
I just got back from Fourth of July holiday-shopping at my grocery store, which is the best grocery store in the world because the in-store soundtrack is exclusively an internet station called "Soul Town." The announcer is some knockoff of the Quiet Storm, and he says things like "We've got kings and queens in Soul Town." Anyway, they were playing "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" as my boyfriend pointed out which pickles were made in a union shop and a bunch of older Bed-Stuy ladies hummed along, and if that isn't American, I don't know what is.
What our assistant Dianca London is listening to:
As a black American who also identifies as a woman, my feelings about America are complicated. Like so many of us, I am proud to live in a country that recognizes the importance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but I am also deeply aware of our nation's past and present failures to protect its citizens. Despite all that we've accomplished, there is still so much more to do. All these feelings come to mind every time I listen to Aretha Franklin's rendition of "A Change Is Gonna Come." With each note, I am reminded that our history as Americans is inexplicably tied to our struggle for freedom and that no matter how impossible things might seem, a change is gonna come.