Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist

A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the perfect Fourth of July.

Through their subsidiary, The Echo Nest, Spotify looked at what each state will be playing on this Independence Day. You can see some of the results on the image above, or check out the larger version here. These results alone might surprise you, because “Really? God Bless the USA is the most played song?” No. Not exactly. The methodology focuses on distinctiveness, rather than play count.

To do this, Echo Nest combed through all of Spotify’s playlists with “Fourth of July” in the title and compiled the songs.

Via Spotify:

“That set of songs is this really funny mix,” says [Echo Nest director Paul] Lamere. “You get the core patriotic songs like ‘God Bless America’ and ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ but you also get summer songs like ‘Summer of ’69″ and barbecue songs like ‘Chicken Fried,’ and then you also get whatever was popular on the 4th anyway, like ‘Blurred Lines.’”

The result, purely by popularity, put Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” as the most popular 4th of July song for 46 of 50 states. For distinctiveness they then compared those numbers to what was played the following week, giving them a standard of comparison to see what songs spike on the most American of days and what songs are just generally popular. Unfortunately for Cyrus, her numbers then dip down to just 3 of 50 states.

The overwhelming winner is “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, pulling nearly half of states. Some of the surprises are “America Fuck Yeah” taking California, Florida, and New Jersey; “American” by Macklemore winning Alaska over; and Michigan picking Lee Greenwood’s “Star Spangled Banner,” apparently not getting the memo that everyone was going with “God Bless the USA” this year.

The data also yielded the most “patriotic states” by 4th of July playlist plays. The winner, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the nation’s capital, District of Columbia (not quite a state, though), Followed by Nebraska, Delaware, Louisiana, and Utah to round the top 5. New Hampshire and Alaska, unfortunately, were found to be the least patriotic.

The people at Spotify put their Top Fourth of July into one handy playlist, perfect for any barbecue or cookout.


The Most Distinctive ‘Fourth of July’ Songs in 50 U.S. States,” by Eliot Van Buskirk, Spotify
Laughing Squid.

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