Shearer’s Spotlight: Fireworks, Barbeques And The Fourth Of July

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Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. This feature will include three things —sometimes related, sometimes not!— that Jim is obsessing over this week. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT tomorrow morning, coming at you from the lovely environs of Long Branch, New Jersey.

For years I’ve been compiling Fourth of July mixtapes and playlists. Sometimes I keep them thematic, and sometimes it’s just about choosing tracks that will keep the backyard barbeque rockin’.

Anthems like Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.,” or George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90″ are obvious boom-box picks, but if you want to get downright specific, here are my three favorite Fourth of July songs that actually mention the holiday by name:

“Good” by Better Than Ezra
Depending on how you listen to this classic ‘90s modern rock ditty, you could either take it as joyous song of freedom, or a sad breakup tune. Either way, Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin points out that the only time he’ll possibly call or write his ex is on—you got it—the Fourth of July.

“Louder Than A Bomb” by Public Enemy
For the intro on this track from P.E.’s hip-hop-shaping, tour de force album It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, Flavor Flav boasts, “Picture us coolin’ out on the Fourth of July, and if you heard we were celebrating that’s a world wide lie.”

This track may not go over well with everyone in the family, but proponents of free speech should appreciate Flav’s sentiment, especially on a day that celebrates civil liberty.

“4th of July (Fireworks)” by Kelis
A gift from the gods of dance music, and since Kelis’ Flesh Tone album was released on July 6 of last year, this will be the first time we can actually bump “4th of July” on the Fourth of July.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

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