Monday, January 3, 2011

Less Than Zero Playlist

Note: I had this post ready a couple days before Christmas, but my parents live in the stone-age and didn't have wireless or a fast enough connection for me to upload this when I originally intended.

Many forget that Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero is actually a Christmas story (I mean, how could you forget?).  During a time of the year when everyone is supposed to be coming together, showing kindness, and celebrating life and new beginnings, Ellis's novel focuses on how its characters, privileged Los Angeles teens, can no longer connect to one another on any sort of emotional level.  The city of Los Angeles is its own character in the story, and in L.A. neo-noir fashion, it consumes the innocence and humanity of everyone in it, and as their real identities disappear, selfish, almost sociopathic, facades emerge in place.  These characters realize what is happening to them, but instead of fighting it, most of them decide to ride it out, even if it does end up a dead end.    

Music plays a huge role in Less Than Zero and so I decided to base my Christmas playlist on Clay's Christmas break playlist, chronicling every song he remembers, listens to, or is played in the background during his break.  As I was taking down each song, I noticed that even the more briefly mentioned songs said more than just the place or time period of the book, they had something to say about the individual characters, and how they were truly feeling at that specific point in the story.  I could write a post and explanation for each song as well as the plethora of other artists just mentioned in the book (Kim seems to like Prince, Bob Seger is embarrassing, and something interesting I found is that most of the artists/songs that Clay and his friends like are surprisingly poppy, but many have dark undertones, etc. etc. etc.), but I won't bore you with that right now.  I'll leave you with just the tracklisting, which almost tells the story on its own.

Here is a mixtape consisting of every track that is mentioned in the book as well as what page you can find them on.  A couple are played or hummed by the characters, and some have various artists and no specific artist mentioned in the book, for those I chose a version myself.  Enjoy! and Merry Christmas, or not.

1. New Kid In Town - The Eagles (12)

2. Crimson & Clover - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (20)

3. Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage - Killer Pussy (25)

4. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? - Culture Club (30)

5. Artificial Insemination - Elton Motello (40)

6. The Earthquake Song - The Little Girls (45)

7. Straight Into Darkness - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (48)

8. September Song - Sara Vaughan (67)

9. In The Sun - Blondie (74)

10. Hungry Like A Wolf - Duran Duran (120)

11. L.A. Woman - The Doors (147)

12. On The Sunny Side of the Street - Judy Garland (164)

13. Tainted Love - Soft Cell (178)

14. Somebody Got Murdered - The Clash (181)

15. I Love L.A. - Randy Newman (193)

16. Worlds Away - The Go-Go's (198)

17. Vacation - The Go-Go's (198)

18. Los Angeles - X (207)


  1. No one has commented on this but I wanted to thank you, 1 year later.

  2. thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Thank! and merry christmas jaja

  4. its just not 'actually a christmas story' though, is it?

  5. Thank you for figuring this out for me! I just finished the book, and I wanted to listen to all the music mention. Perfect post.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.