The Fifth of July

by Color Theory

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about

The 4th of July is a big day in Huntington Beach, California. It starts early with a 5K race and pancake breakfast, followed by the main event, a parade. Parades bore me to death, but I usually end up there anyway. The highlight of my countless year’s attendance was seeing Norman Fell, who played Mr. Roper on 80s sitcom Three’s Company. After the last float passes by, everyone heads to the beach. On their bikes, since the streets are still closed to traffic.

Nights downtown can get rowdy. In 1993 there was a riot a block away from our house. Until the past couple years, fireworks were prohibited, which meant everyone had the illegal ones. With M-80s going off at random intervals through the night, it’s tough to get any decent sleep.

This song is about the morning after, when spirits are low, fuses are short, and patriotism has returned to baseline levels. The streets are covered in black powder and shredded paper, and the smell of sulphur lingers in the air. Listen closely and you’ll hear fireworks burst on every fourth hit of the snare drum.

lyrics

Gunpowder traces
Charcoal circles on the ground
Shot me with a Roman candle
You really shouldn’t fool around

We stood there barefoot
Sweating in the summer heat
As the rockets turned to rainbows
In the middle of our street

Now the smoke has cleared
The fireworks show is over
Steam and sulphur
Now the smoke has cleared
The days when we were closer
Ashes smolder
On the fifth of July

I count ten heartbeats
Face the heat of your red glare
How I'll miss these grand explosions
F-bombs bursting in the air

Now the smoke has cleared
The fireworks show is over
Steam and sulphur
Now the smoke has cleared
Declare your independence
Or pledge allegiance
Do you want to be free
From me
On the fifth of July?

credits

released May 29, 2018
Sax solo by Nathan Madsen
Cover art by Harry Magzul

Special thanks to patrons Joel Ollila, Jonas Ahrentorp, Mike Miller, Amy BuGoudi, John Mondick, Neil Barnes, and Leigh-Anne Fraser.

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Color Theory Huntington Beach, California

Somehow I never outgrew the 80s.

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