By Shannon Carlin
Nicki Minaj, Jimi Hendrix and Blues Traveler have all released a song called “Freedom,” but, like the music they each play, their take on the word is very, very different. Almost as if it’s not even the same word they’re singing about.
In honor of independence, whether it’s Fourth of July or Bastille Day you celebrate, we have compiled a list of 20 “freedom” songs, all with the one-word title of “Freedom,” but each very different in meaning.
With this list you can find the freedom song that best defines you. If for you freedom is about doing what you please, then you’re a lot like Kenny Chesney. If your idea of freedom is a bit more leftist, we think you’ll prefer Rage Against the Machine’s take on the concept.
Lucky for all those George Michael fans out there he’s got two (2!) songs titled “Freedom” for you to enjoy.
So celebrate your own independence by finding the song that best represents what freedom means to you.
1. Jimi Hendrix “Freedom”
To Jimi Hendrix, freedom means the right to live so that he can give. That’s what he needs on this 1971 song, so set him free.
“You don’t have to say that you love/ If you don’t mean it/ You’d better believe/ If you need me/ Or you just wanna bleed me/ You’d better stickin’ your dagger in someone else”
2. Rage Against the Machine “Freedom”
To Rage Against the Machine freedom is akin to anger, which is a gift in Zach De La Rocha’s opinion. Their 1994 song focuses on those who have been locked in prison for crimes they did not commit, while the video specifically looks at Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement leader and activist who was sentenced to life in jail for first degree murder after being found guilty of shooting two FBI agents in 1975 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Many believe the now 70-year-old activist was framed.
“With poetry I paint the pictures that hit/ More like the murals that fit/ Don’t turn away/ Get in front of it”
3. Nicki Minaj “Freedom”
To Nicki Minaj, freedom is the feeling you get when you’re at the top of your game, but everyone seems to be hating on you for it. Minaj doesn’t seem to mind though, using nearly five minutes to spit venom at jealous b—-es while reflecting on her own past. She’s come a long way, baby.
“And if you are my rival, then that means you’re suicidal/ And if you in the club then it’s a Young Money recital/ I’m just that vital/ I’m busy, never idle/I’m ya idol, I’m ya idol, I’m ya mothaf—–‘ idol”
4. George Michael “Freedom”
To George Michael, freedom is finally being yourself, no matter who that is. In 1990, a leather jacket-wearing Michael was ready to reintroduce himself as a solo singer and an out and proud gay man and definitely didn’t care what anybody thought about it.
“I think there’s something you should know/ I think it’s time I told you so/ There’s something deep inside of me/ There’s someone else I’ve got to be”
5. Kenny Chesney “Freedom”
To Kenny Chesney, freedom is the power to do what one pleases. As Chesney learns on this ballad, through the joy and pain that living brings, it’s what everyone, from the country singer to the U.S. soldier, wants.
“It’s what the junkie needs that the needle can’t give/ The oppressed and forgotten are praying for it/ It’s what the brave and courageous are fightin’ for/ An open sail on a distant shore”