Literary Mixtape: Peter Pan


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: J.M. Barrie’s eternal man-child, Peter Pan.

Peter Pan is the dream of eternal youth personified. Cocky and self-obsessed, skilled in everything a little boy wants to be good at (swordsmanship, mimicry, hiding, but not sewing on pockets), he runs the show in Neverland and he knows it. Not that he doesn’t have anything to be proud of — dude cut off Hook’s hand, man. However, behind his devil-may-care attitude is a certain sadness. After all, he must constantly forget what he learns about the world in order to stay child-like, so he exists in a relatively static state, neither growing nor changing. But who cares, right? He’s got indians to befriend and crocodiles to kill. Here’s what we think Peter would fight pirates, think lovely wonderful thoughts, and never grow up to.

Click here to stream the mixtape.

“The Youth” — MGMT

The universal anthem about our generation’s youth. A little sad, a little inspirational, we think Peter would lead the Lost Boys in singalongs late at night around the fire: “This is a call of arms to live and love and sleep together/ We could flood the streets with love or light or heat whatever/ Lock the parents out, cut a rug, twist and shout/ Wave your hands/ Make it rain/ For stars will rise again.”

“Dance Dance Dance” — Lykke Li

Anyone whose best friend is a sassy blonde fairy would definitely be into Lykke Li.

“Summer Mood” — Best Coast

The soundtrack to Peter’s summer fling with Tigerlily. Hey, don’t pretend you haven’t thought about it.

“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” — Eddie Izzard

The Eddie Izzard version of this song would appeal to Peter’s swaggering, ringmaster persona as the mermaids, indians, and lost boys danced around him.

“School’s Out” — Alice Cooper

How could Peter not totally rock out to this ultimate ode to childhood freedom?

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” — Nirvana

Though Peter and his Lost Boys weren’t exactly teens — they still had their baby teeth — everybody who has to fight pirates all the time needs a war anthem, and we think this song would get them revved up. And after all: “Our little group has always been / And always will until the end.”

“The Boss” — James Brown

Let’s face it. Peter Pan is the boss of Neverland. And he knows it. And he loves it. Much like James Brown and soul.

“Good Vibrations” — The Beach Boys

Just the thing for carefree Peter to listen to on the hazy Neverland beach, thinking of his dear Wendy.

“Young Forever” — Jay-Z

Though there’s no way we couldn’t include some iteration of “Forever Young,” we think cocky, ever-fronting Peter would probably like the Jay-Z version of the Alphaville classic best.

“Happy Kid” — Nada Surf

Because underneath all those good times and raucous pirate fights, Peter’s got a lot of angst.

“Les Jours Heureux” — Yann Tiersen

Jubilant, overflowing pop music for little French boys to spin in circles to. Or little Scottish boys.

“We Are Your Friends” — Justice

Do like Peter did: surround yourself with a jolly band of partners in crime trapped in eternal childhood and then you don’t have to worry. You’re never gonna be alone again.