Literary Soundtracks: The Catcher in the Rye
  • FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014

  • Posted by: Tayi Sanusi

Re-reading some of my favorite novels got me thinking about the relationship between music and character. What better way to explore both of these things than to create playlists inspired by our favorite literary works and the characters that bring them to life?

As an introduction we thought we'd start off with the angsty classic "The Catcher in the Rye". It's safe to say that J.D. Salinger's most famous novel is one of the most influential works of 20th century American literature. In the span of a couple hundred pages he manages to sum up the difficulty of coming to grips with growing up in a world where nothing is as it once seemed to be. Fast forward the narrative some decades... If the brooding and ever-suffering teen Holden Caulfield was coming of age today, which songs would best deliver him to angsty nirvana? Here are a few of our top picks!

Simon and Garfunkel - "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1969)

This song exemplifies the exact need for comfort and support that Holden is missing from his interactions throughout the novel. Largely because of his cynicism and inability to open up, he finds himself constantly dissatisfied. The message of this song speaks to the metaphor of himself being "The Catcher in the Rye" and his yearning to protect the innocence of youth before it's lost in the fall off the cliff and into adulthood.




The Cure - "Boys Don't Cry" (1979)

The quintessential British rock song that grapples with coming of age and love lost with an upbeat feel seems like just the tune Caulfield would have blasting in his grungy Bushwick studio on Saturday morning while drinking a cup of black coffee and smoking an American Spirit on his fire escape.



Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - "Broadripple Is Burning" (2008)

And now for the brooding cerebral tune that Holden would sit in bed and listen to after a distasteful encounter with a neighbor who is most definitely "phony". So sad and yet strangely comforting ...perfect for a depressing and sulky evening in.




Angus and Julia Stone - "You're The One That I Want" (2010)

An effortlessly sexy and expertly re-vamped version of the cult favorite. It's definitely a song Holden would have a passionate make-out sesh to.



Lissie - "Mother" (2014)

This sultry cover of Danzig's original rock song is filled to the brim with rebellion and angst while still exposing the strange beauty in corruption and coming of age. Slightly dark and a little edgy, this song makes me think of a jaded Holden strolling down St. Marks back when prostitution was still trendy.

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