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There’s so much happening in America right now. Which caused us to ask: what’s the best music playlist for July 4th this year? We’ve created a playlist of the perfect American songs for Independence Day this yearFind it on Spotify here.

What’s the Best Party Playlist for July 4th this Year?

The Fourth of July can immediately evoke warm memories and images of convivial backyard reunions with family and friends. Watching fireworks on a cozy blanket with a summer love. And eating your way through all the traditional summer fare- burgers, corn, potato salad, berry pies and ice cream.

Yet at the same time, this holiday can bring up some mixed and ambiguous feelings as we reflect on our current events and the landscape of this complicated place we call home. Is it actually OK to be patriotic these days?

Our playlist of the perfect party songs for July 4th Independence Day this year.

Playlist Songs to Capture the Full Range of the American Experience this July 4th

July 4th has multi-layered meaning. We’ve tried to take that into account to create a Fourth of July playlist of over 30 songs that contain the multitudes of the American experience.

It includes classic All-American rock and pop hits that celebrate some of the most iconic and joyful ideals of our country. There are also songs that capture and honor the unique geographic locales and cultures of America. And tunes that simply conjure the ephemeral mood of summer.

For those feeling a little ambivalent this year, we’ve got some subversive and rebellious anthems because, after all, the idea of America was started by a group of “young, hungry and scrappy” revolutionaries.

Turn on the grill and turn up the speakers. Or just lay back and reflect. America, as these songs suggest, is worthy of celebrating and embracing. And even subject to questioning and dissent. The freedom to do so unites us all.

perfect playlist July 4th

Our playlist of perfect party songs for July 4th Independence Day this year.

Perfect Songs for Independence Day This Year

You’ll find our complete list on Spotify. Just click here.

Best Playlist for July 4th: the Classic American Songs

The best playlist for July 4th needs these classic hits from the rock, country and pop realm as a foundation. An important criteria in our selection process was that this playlist of songs perfect for Independence Day has to feature recognizable tunes from across the decades to please the crowd. There’s nothing like some spontaneous singing to unify party goers.

1. Young Americans – David Bowie

Making love in the backseat, references to Ford Mustang, Cadillac, Nixon, and Barbie. This song is like a stream of consciousness. I can’t tell you what it means. But the repeating refrain of “Young American” is what we all want to feel like in the summer. Listen to it here.

2. American Woman – Lenny Kravitz

American woman, stay away from me/ American woman, mama let me be. Imagine her as you will, but we like to think that she’s just too strong-willed for the average guy.

3. American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

One of the most common American experiences is growing up yearning to leave your hometown. She couldn’t help thinkin’ that there/ Was a little more to life/ Somewhere else/ After all it was a great big world/ With lots of places to run to.

4. American Boy – Estelle featuring Kanye West

Gotta give the American boys some love too. This earworm pays tribute to those confident, slick-talking and walking guys that have all charmed us at some point. We play it every single time we’re on our way to London: “Who the hottest in the world right now?/ Just touched down in London Town.” Listen to it here.

Our playlist of music for July 4th this year

Our playlist of party music and songs for July 4th this year.

5. Living in America – James Brown

From the Godfather of Soul, this funk classic is forever tied to another American icon: Rocky Balboa.

6. Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus

This party anthem has a sweet, relatable message at its core. Despite feeling homesick and like an outsider, all of her troubles are forgotten when her favorite song comes on.

7. Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band

This patriotic country song never veers into cringe-worthy territory. The band sings about the simple things (cold beer and a pair of jeans that fit just right) and the important things (soldiers who sacrificed their life and the touch of a precious child) that make them grateful to be Americans.

8. Firework – Katy Perry

This one’s a given for a playlist for July 4th. And it’s really fun to share a giggle with everyone trying to belt out the chorus at the top of their lungs. Katy makes it look easy. Watch the video here.

Our playlist of music for July 4th this year

Our playlist of party songs and music for July 4th this year.

Best Playlist for July 4th: the Songs Featuring American Cities and States

What is America but a patchwork of local color? These artists show their affection and love for their home states and favorite cities. Feel free to add your favorite home state song to the list.

1. Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen

I was raised on the Jersey Shore so it would be blasphemous of me not to include Bruce’s anthem to the misfits on Highway 9 with the amusement park and beach in the background.

2. Miami – Will Smith

This bouncy tune also embraces multiculturalism in rhyming verse! Real sweet faces/ Every different nation/ Spanish, Haitian, Indian, Jamaican/ Black, White, Cuban, and Asian.

3. California Love – 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman

True to the title, all of California gets a shout-out: LA, Oakland, Frisco, Inglewood, Hollywood . . . it’s hip-hop’s answer to the Beach Boys’ California Dreamin’. Watch the video here.

4. Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

This bittersweet love song sketches out real world disappointments, but also true devotion. If only we could all have a ‘Georgia’ to go back to.

5. Empire State of Mind – Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys

It doesn’t get more sentimental or powerful than this love letter to New York City by these two native, gifted New Yorkers. One hand in the air for the big city/ Street lights, big dreams, all lookin’ pretty/ No place in the world that could compare/ Put your lighters in the air!

6. Philadelphia Freedom – Elton John

The song was originally written in honor of Elton John’s friend, tennis phenom Billie Jean King. She played on the Philadelphia Freedoms pro team. But you’d be forgiven for interpreting the uplifting beat and seemingly patriotic lyrics as a celebration of this important city in American history. “Cause I live and breathe this Philadelphia freedom / From the day that I was born I’ve waved the flag.”

Our playlist of music for July 4th this year

Our playlist of the best party songs and music for July 4th this year.

7. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

We didn’t forget about you, Detroit! This power ballad was written in 1981 but keeps resurfacing in pop culture. It has cemented its rightful place on any party playlist.

8. Escapade – Janet Jackson

Blink and you might miss it, but at the 3:10 min mark, there’s a shout-out to Minneapolis!

Our playlist of music for July 4th this year

Our playlist of the best party songs and music for July 4th this year.

Best Playlist for July 4th: the Songs to Get Everyone in the Summertime Groove

The best playlist for July 4th should also include frequent interludes between the America-loving hits for an effortless flow. These are some of our favorite songs that sound like carefree summer days and heady, dramatic summer nights. They’re a vital part of any playlist of the perfect songs for Independence Day.

1. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

“Then spring became the summer / Who’d have believed you’d come along.” This song features one of the best slow build-ups, exploding into a satisfying, belting refrain.

2. Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton

Though summer is usually associated with budding romance, sometimes it’s also the season of breaking away and becoming independent. It’s high time now, just one crack at life/ Who wants to live in, in trouble and strife/ My mind must be free/ To learn all I can about me.

3.  24K Magic – Bruno Mars

This song is full of swagger. It’ll have everyone feeling like they’re dressed in their finest, with money in their pockets. Look out!

4. Boys are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy

I always loved playing this song as I drove home from college for the summer. It’s full of mischievous energy, anticipating fun times with old friends.

5. Night Moves – Bob Seger

The best coming-of-age in America song. It captures the innocence, honesty and awkwardness of youth. We weren’t in love oh no far from it/ We weren’t searching for some pie in the sky summit/ We were just young and restless and bored.

Our playlist of music for July 4th this year

Our playlist of the best party songs and music for July 4th this year.

6. Freeway of Love – Aretha Franklin

Nothing says summer like driving on the open road, with the windows open and the radio turned up. With or without the pink Cadillac.

7. Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine

This bluesy anthem with simple clapping for percussion still makes us twirl and dance around madly, but perhaps less gracefully than ethereal fairy goddess Florence Welch.

8. As it Was — Harry Styles

This is shaping up to be 2024’s song of the summer and we are here for it. Infused with an 80s aesthetic, the track combines a bit of melancholy with an infectious beat that you just can’t help but groove to.

9. Let’s Go Crazy – Prince

“If you don’t like, the world you’re living in / Take a look around you at least you got friends.” Our thoughts exactly. Go crazy; go nuts – just help your host clean up afterwards! 

10. Juice – Lizzo

Body positivity, girl power and knowing your self-worth. “If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine/ I was born like this, don’t even gotta try.” We’re here for all of it this summer and on.

11. Summer – Calvin Harris

Sometimes lyrics don’t really matter. This synth beat will make everyone get up and dance.

Our playlist of songs perfect for Independence Day this year

Our playlist of party songs perfect for Independence Day this year.

12. say so — dojo cat

This smooth, sublime beat is irresistible and just makes us want to dance. Luckily, the moves are already choreographed and have become one of the most popular dances on TikTok.

13. stupid love — lady gaga

The unbeatable combination of Lady Gaga’s throaty vocal chops and signature electro-pop sound is on full display in this exuberant track.

Best Playlist for July 4th: the Songs from American Rebels

To round out the feel-good patriotic and summer jams, no playlist of songs perfect for Independence Day would be complete without some tunes of a rebellious nature. Protesting and challenging authority? It’s part of our American tradition.

1. Pink Houses – John Mellencamp

Like Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, this song has often been misconstrued and even used as the soundtrack for rah-rah political rallies because of it’s cheery refrain, “Ain’t that America, home of the free?” But Mellencamp’s lyrics actually examine segregation, class and the end of the American dream.

2. Paper Planes – M.I.A.

This down-tempo, radio friendly hit from frequently political artist M.I.A encompasses everything from street culture to refugees, visa problems and immigration.

3. Not Ready to Make Nice – The group formerly known as the Dixie Chicks

I’m not ready to make nice/ I’m not ready to back down/ I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time/ To go ’round and ’round and ‘round. This country trio received a lot of blow back for criticizing President George W. Bush back in the day. We think the lyrics are fitting for the #metoo movement. And we applaud the decision of the group to drop the word “Dixie” from their name in June 2020.

Our playlist of songs perfect for Independence Day this year

Our playlist of party songs perfect for Independence Day this year.

4. Freedom – Beyonce

Tackling racism and systematic oppression, we’ll let this powerful anthem from Queen Bey speak for itself. Freedom/ Where are you?/ ‘Cause I need freedom, too/ I break chains all by myself/ Won’t let my freedom rot in hell/ Hey! I’ma keep running/ ‘Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.

5. Fortunate Son – Credence Clearwater Revival

This counterculture song from 1969 quickly became an anti-Vietnam War anthem and still has resonance today. While some have interpreted it as being disrespectful to American troops, Fogerty actually performed the song some 45 years later on the White House lawn under the Obama Administration for active-duty military members and vets.

6. Children of the Revolution – T. Rex

“No you won’t fool the children of the revolution.” The idea of America is being changed and shaped all the time. The lyrics speak to us all – the inheritors of all these American social movements and revolutions.

7. National Anthem- Lana Del Rey

What’s more American than capitalism? Lana Del Rey sings a critical song about materialistic culture in this languid, beat driven track:  “Money is the reason we exist / Everybody knows it, it’s a fact-kiss, kiss.”

8. Freedom – Pharrell Williams

Infectious and powerful. The refrain of “freedom” borders on a scream, and to us it can be interpreted as a rallying cry against oppression in all its forms.

Our playlist of party songs and music perfect for July 4th this year.

9. This is America – Childish Gambino

Winner of the 2019 Grammy for Song, Record and Video of the Year, this opus became a cultural phenomenon together with its masterpiece of a video. The song addresses the red-hot topic of gun violence intertwined with the black experience with a deliberate jolly, folk-inspired rhythm that belies its serious message.

10. lockdown — anderson.paak

This urgent and powerful song was released on Juneteenth in 2020 and focuses on themes of police brutality, racial injustice, and protest amidst the backdrop of Covid-19. It’s a summer song to remember and learn from.

11. lift every voice and sing — beyonce

Known as the Black national anthem, Beyonce’s stirring version at Coachella gives us chills everytime.

Our playlist of music perfect for July 4th this year

Our playlist of party songs and music perfect for July 4th this year.

12. i can’t breathe — h.e.r

We’ll let the lyrics speak for themselves – “To say all men are created equal in the eyes of God\But disparage a man based on the color of his skin\Do not say you do not see color\When you see us, see us\We can’t breathe”

13. A Change is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

An enduring civil rights anthem, this song is as pertinent as ever for anyone paying attention.

The Best Music and Party Song Playlist for July 4th

That’s it – our suggestions on the best playlist for Independence Day this year. Wherever you’re spending the holiday, we hope you’re surrounded by good friends, family, and some good tunes. Did we miss anything on your list of perfect songs for Independence Day?