Literary Mixtape: Tintin


If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: Tintin, boy reporter for Le Petit Vingtième.

Our dear Tintin, unlike many heroes in the modern canon, is utterly, completely, almost absurdly pure at heart. He will always do the right thing, will always tell the truth, and will always leap to the aid of the downtrodden, helpless or harassed. He is dedicated to exposing lies, cheats and tyranny, even in situations that don’t involve him in the slightest. He doesn’t drink, smoke, or covet the ladies. He is so good that he is almost without personality — a pictorial stand-in for the adventurous do-gooder we all secretly wish to be. However, Tintin isn’t a total blank slate. He is calculating, cheeky, and almost ironic at times — picture him walking away whistling from a trap he’s just set, impish smile on his face. Plus, he has the influence of his much less angelic friends (Captain Haddock and Snowy, we’re looking at you), so we’re pretty sure he’d listen to more than just Christmas carols and Mozart. Though, let’s be honest, Tintin’s parents definitely played baby Tintin some Mozart. Or fed him lots of spinach, or something. Because for a terminal goody-two-shoes, he’s kind of a badass. Here are the songs he might explore, sneak around, and outsmart the enemy to.

“On the Road Again” – Willie Nelson

Over the course of Hergé’s 24 books, Tintin travels through something like 40 countries, both real and invented. Which is impressive, but since we only recently found out Syldavia isn’t a real country, possibly misleading for children.

“What the Snowman Learned About Love” – Stars

Just in case our intrepid reporter needs some time to contemplate what happened with Chang and the yeti in the cave in Tintin in Tibet.

“Ce N’est Pas Bon” – Amadou & Mariam

A blind Malinese couple playing Syrian violins, Egyptian ney, Cuban trumpets, American guitars and Indian tablas? We just found Tintin’s favorite band.

“Chinese Children” – Devendra Banhart

We’re pretty sure that if you’d let him, Tintin would have been a Belgian Angelina.

“The Times They Are a-Changin'” – Bob Dylan

Dylan may have been talking about slightly different changes than the ones that went down in Tintin in America, but the idea’s the same. Our country, she’s ever changing.

“Zig Zag Wanderer” – Captain Beefheart

You can’t blow this kid’s house down.

“Geography” – Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

“Oh, geography is gonna make a mess of me..”

“Wild World” – Cat Stevens

Poison, chloroform, torture and firing squads? Poor Tintin’s mom.

“The Rocky Road to Dublin” – The Dubliners

Okay, we know Tintin’s never had an adventure in Ireland — that we know of — but this song is perfect for drinking, sailing and fist fighting all, and would definitely wake anyone up from a chloroform-induced sleep.

“A Horse with No Name” – America

The perfect soundtrack for all of Tintin’s desert exploring. Although he’s usually riding a camel.

“The Killing Moon” – Echo and the Bunnymen

This is what we hear when we picture Tintin and Snowy floating over the surface of the moon in those bizarre orange space suits. See Explorers on the Moon, which by the way predated the Apollo 11 moon landing by more than a decade. We can’t say we’re surprised they didn’t take style tips from Tintin.

“One Night in Bangkok” – Murray Head

Thailand is clearly next, Tintin. “Get Thai’d! You’re talking to a tourist / Whose every move’s among the purest / I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine”

“Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset” – Modest Mouse

Sure, when you’re imprisoned by Incan priests who worship the sun and plan to let it burn you alive in the morning (see Prisoners of the Sun). Predict that eclipse, Tintin!

“Shanti Mantra” – Ravi Shankar

It’s the hymn of peace, after all. The ultimate goal.

Anything we missed that you think Tintin would have on repeat? Let us know in the comments!