Literary Mixtape: Alice in Wonderland


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: Lewis Carroll’s strange and lovely Alice.

Our dear Alice is, by all accounts, gentle and courteous, but straightforward. Not the type to bend to any request, but rather to politely refuse. She is also wildly curious, and this is a good thing, as she is dropped with no warning into a world with unknown rules, fantastic creatures, and a bizarre landscape. She negotiates this fantasy land with simple moral fiber and a winning personality, and manages to win a few battles along the way, but she’s a gentle girl at heart, so while her music choices may be slightly muddled by her experience with surreality, we think she would generally choose songs of slightly cocked sweetness. Plus, she’s not that old yet, so her taste is probably all over the place. Here are the songs we think Alice would explore, drink tea, and defy the Red Queen to.

“Who Could Win a Rabbit?” – Animal Collective

Rabbit references aside, this is the kind of twitchy, psychedelic song that might be playing in some of the crazily colorful parts of Wonderland.

“These Few Presidents” – Why?

The anthropomorphism would appeal to her. Frowning money? How curious.

“The Strangers” – St. Vincent Alice would love the whimsical, careening St. Vincent. This song, a sweetly sung ode to the downward spiral, would be particularly up her alley.

“The Naming of Things” – Andrew Bird

We think Alice would like Andrew Bird’s winding surrealism and cyclical violins. She might also identify with the idea of being trapped in a world one doesn’t quite know.

“Home” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

For a little girl lost: Home is where the heart is.

“The Ballad of Butter Beans” – Man Man

She probably heard this at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and simply can’t get it out of her head. Especially if we’re talking the Depp Hatter.

“Mushaboom” – Feist

We can just see Alice bopping about in her pinafore to this number.

“Blind” – Hercules and Love Affair

Hercules and Love Affair’s proto-disco already sounds like it was written in Wonderland, but “Blind” is also a coming of age song about losing a sense of wonder. Alice never does, completely, but we bet she feels blind sometimes.

“Aqueous Transmission” – Incubus

For smoking whatever-that-was with the Caterpillar.

“Wonder” – Natalie Merchant

This is a song about a modern day wonder — for a girl who basically was the messiah for Wonderland, it’s a fitting track.

“Love Today” – Mika

This bouncy, colorful track is perfect for fun times in Wonderland.

“Alice” – Tom Waits

Come on, what little girl doesn’t love songs about herself?