7 Cool, Alternative Songs about America for 9-11

9-11 Lights BlogCourtesy of James and Karla Murray

Today marks the anniversary of the unthinkable tragedy that took place on September 11th, 2001. The FDRMX team would like to offer our sincerest condolences to all those who were affected by this horrible loss. We hope everyone stays safe on this day as we celebrate our strength and unity as a country and brighter times ahead. With that in mind, here are 7 cool, alternative songs about America for you to enjoy today.
7. Hotel Yorba by the White Stripes
“I been thinking of a little place down by the lake / they got a dirty little road leading up to the house, I wonder how long it will take / til we’re alone, sitting on the front porch of that home / stomping our feet on the wooden boards, never gonna worry about locking the door.” This catchy tune perfectly captures the feeling of being out in the American countryside. The White Stripes romanticize every detail of that setting as they sing about a rustic hotel, “Hotel Yorba,” that is completely vacant, describing it as a safe, down-home place that is free from all worry.

6. Small Town Moon by Regina Spektor
“But every day begins the same, cause there’s a small town in my mind / How can I leave without hurting everyone that made me?” I think many Americans can relate to Regina Spektor’s tender ode to the small town upbringing. Words like “Stop, stop,  what’s the hurry?” and “Today we’re younger than we’re ever gonna be,” give it a relaxed, rural feel. If you are one of the many who left their tiny hometown to pursue bigger opportunities, then “Small Town Moon” will definitely strike a chord with you.

5. 16 Military Wives by the Decemberists
“Cheer them on to their rivals, cause America can, and America can’t say no / and America does, if America says it’s so.” This song has sparked some discussion over its possible political implications, but the music video tells a much more innocent, endearing story about some students participating in their Model U.N. club at a small private school. Though you can probably dig up different meanings in “16 Military Wives,” it’s a really fun song and music video if you just take it at face value and enjoy its quirky, patriotic charm.

4. American Boy by Estelle featuring Kanye West
“Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA / I really want to come kick it with you / You’ll be my American boy.” Estelle’s soulful take on American culture is distinct from the others in that it focuses on the more fast-paced, urban highlights of the U.S.A. In “American Boy,” she and Kanye West capture the excitement of various big cities as they fantasize about riding the subway, going shopping, and seeing Broadway and Brooklyn. There is also something exceptionally cool about the line, “I heard that Cali never rains and New York’s heart awaits.”

3. Still Fighting It by Ben Folds
“Good morning, son / In twenty years from now / maybe we’ll both sit down and have a few beers / and I can tell you ’bout today / and how I picked you up and everything changed.” Ben Folds’ father-to-son love song talks about the struggles of growing up, and many tiny details in it feel so distinctly American, like when he mentions wearing polyester and sharing a beer together. He seals the deal when he uses fast food references like, “You want a coke? Maybe some fries? The roast beef combo’s only $9.95.”

2. The Gambler by Fun.
“You come home from work, and you kiss me on the eye / You curse the dog, you say that I should never feed them what is ours / So we move out to the garden, look at everything we’ve grown / and the kids are coming home so I’ll set the table / you can make the fire.” Fun. eloquently captures the essence of the white-picket-fence American dream in this beautifully simple melody. “The Gambler” follows the life of a couple who met when they were “barely 18” through all the ups and downs of starting a family, moving to Arizona, watching their kids grow up, and growing old together. Sweet, everyday discussions about splitting chores and tending to the garden make poetry out of the modest American household.

1. So American by Portugal the Man
“Boys, all you boys / think you’re so American / Girls, all you girls / yeah you’re so American” The smooth, crisp movement of this song feels so good, and there is something really nostalgic about it. “So American” is another one that can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but the music video keeps it warm and easygoing. As you watch a group of friends munch watermelon, splash in the ocean, and go camping together, you will probably find yourself reminiscing on your own All-American summer memories.

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