Literary Mixtape: Little Red Riding Hood


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: the example of all mothers’ say sos, Little Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood begins the story as a paragon of virtue — wandering through the woods on an innocent mission, and easily led astray by the pretty flowers in the forest. In many ways, this is a fitting Valentine’s Day story — a virginal young girl ventures into the woods in an alluring cloak of the deepest red. Her innocence is stolen and her body compromised by a wolf of a man, before she is rescued by another, princely figure who rescues her. Like vampires, wolves (or werewolves) have a sexual, romantic connotation, ravishing their victims, taking them into their arms and mouths. Anyway, we’ll stop. We think Little Red Riding Hood would be struggling with her innocence post-wolf incident, clinging to the youthful, pretty songs she picked flowers to, while opening her world to new things. Also, we really think she’d be into mostly female singers, for some reason. Girl power and all that. Here are the songs we think our Little Red would get lost, get eaten, and get revenge to.

“Mayfly” – Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian is just the band that young, starry-eyed Red would love to listen to wandering through the woods on a sunny day, and this summery song is perfect for frolicking. Just be careful of wolves.

“The Woods” – Stars

This is a song for getting lost in the woods, especially with a companion that might just eat your heart. “That day we walked a little deeper / Breathless, lost and too alive to stop” Plus, all little girls (and many big girls) love Stars.

“Fool That I Am” – Etta James

Ah, the classic song of an innocent woman fooled by a seductive man who did nothing but hurt her. Don’t worry, Etta, Little Red will avenge you.

“Werewolf” – Cat Power (Michael Hurley cover)

This kind of sexy, kind of scary version of Michael Hurley’s classic song of the wolf might be just the kind of thing that the newly wise to the world Riding Hood would listen to after her liberation from the wolf’s belly, perhaps while lying on her bed and rolling the events of the fated day around in her head.

“Vision in Red” – Thao Nguyen

It is her very favorite color after all.

“A Forest” – Bat For Lashes (Cure cover)

This song sounds and feels like you’re running deeper and deeper into a darkening forest — perhaps for Red’s more somber, angry moments. Just don’t get completely lost, little girls.

“The Kindness of Strangers” – American Analog Set

In the Grimm version of the story (Little Red Cap), the huntsman is walking by the grandmother’s house and decides to break in and investigate when he hears how loud her snores are. Well, we’re not sure if that started out as “kindness,” but since he rescues the ladies, we suppose it’s for the best. Either way, we think our Red would appreciate this song.

“Dandelion” – Charlotte Gainsbourg

Another sexy track for a post-flower-picking girl, remembering the past and teetering on the edge of the future, wanting to take the plunge. Dandelion, I wanna go there too.

“White Rabbit” – Jefferson Airplane

If anyone (besides our dear Alice, of course) must have felt like she was headed down the rabbit hole, it would have been Little Red, diving headfirst into the belly of the wolf.

“Strawberry” – Paul Baribeau

We like to think she picked strawberries in addition to flowers. We also like to think that she was full of “secret flavors that are sharp, and tart, and red, and deep,” much like the strawberries.

“Kiss With A Fist” – Florence and The Machine

Revenge music — perhaps a soundtrack for that time that Little Red filled up the wolf’s body with stones and let him die.

“Heartbeat” – Annie

For celebrating the fact that after all of that, she’s still alive. What better reason to go out dancing?