Literary Mixtape: Captain Hook


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: Slimy, slimy Captain Hook.

Since Peter Pan got his very own mixtape, we thought it only fair that his conflicted nemesis get one to. And J.M. Barrie’s Captain Hook, the bitter, vengeful pirate who fears reptiles and loathes little boys, is perhaps more interesting even than Peter, that walking metaphor for perennial youth. Hook has a strange alchemy — though in later adaptations (we’re looking at you, Disney) he’s often turned into a foolish character, a bloodthirsty fop, in Barrie’s original versions he is an Eton-educated, “not wholly unheroic” swordsman, with an “elegance of […] diction” – “even when he [is] swearing.” Barrie himself described him as “the handsomest man I have ever seen, though, at the same time, perhaps slightly disgusting”. Such is often the case with well-dressed, perfectly coiffed, but evil men. Here are the songs we think Captain Hook would chase Peter, roar orders, and shine his hook to.

Stream the full mixtape here.

“I Feel Evil (Creeping In)” — Islands

If there’s anyone who is pleased about their own status as the villain, it’s surely the Captain, moustache twirled and hook hand raised. He might chuckle and sing along when Thornburn croons, “My blood is dirty and I like it/ I like it that way…”

“Jihad Blues” — The Almighty Defenders

This is a twisted, conflicted song about exactly what you fear it might be (“just gimme a boxcutter and a one-way ticket”), for a modern Captain Hook in his most brooding moments. He was basically a terrorist pirate, after all. But how would you feel if some dumb kid cut off your hand and fed it to a crocodile? Pretty salty, we bet.

“The Pirate King” — The Pirates of Penzance

Because at heart, Hook is corny and grandiose. Just like musicals. You better not mock him.

“Wake Up Alone” — Amy Winehouse

We can’t say we’re quite sure wine, but this is what we imagine Hook swaying alone to in his Captain’s cabin, clutching a bottle of port with his good hand. When they hear the record player start, all the pirates know not to knock.

“September Song” — Willie Nelson

Let’s not forget, Captain Hook is one of the only grownups in Neverland. You can see where it would wear on him, fighting the beacon of youth all the time. Or perhaps his fear of dying is what keeps him there? Besides, as Barrie writes, “All grown-ups are pirates.”

“Cold, Cold Heart” — Hank Williams

It must be kind of hard for a notoriously evil pirate to nail down a respectable lady. A perfect song for sensitive bro nights around the fire with the crew.

“Bad Boys For Life” — P. Diddy

If you’re the leader of a pirate gang, you probably think you’re pretty awesome. And let’s not lie: you kind of are. We think Hook might play this track for morale while his pirate crew worked on deck. Maybe he’d brush of his shoulders. Even if it was one-handed.

“The Cold Part” — Modest Mouse

For all his bluster, we know Hook’s a little lonely out there.

“Knuckles” — The Hold Steady

Ah, the special problems of the notorious. Craig Finn describes the kind of battles Hook might be embroiled in if he was an evil overlord in modern Minneapolis. “It’s hard to get ahead when half your friends are dead…”

“Hoist the Colors” — Hans Zimmer

Too easy, we know. But this is the most desperate, ominous pirate song we’ve ever heard. And we’re pretty sure Captain Hook would be a serious Johnny Depp fan.