Literary Mixtape: Dorian Gray


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: everyone’s favorite hedonist, Dorian Gray.

In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray , the eponymous character is a young, beautiful man who, after sitting for a portrait, finds that he no longer ages — but that each of his years and sins is reflected on the face of his painted self. Spurred on by his friends, lovers, and new sense of invincibility, he fully embraces the hedonistic life and the idea that the only things worth pursuing in life are those that feel good. Selfish, indulgent, and sometimes cruel, his portrait becomes uglier and uglier as he lives in this unchecked debauchery. Finally, of course, he must destroy the painting, destroying himself in the process. We think Dorian would have an iPod full of songs to fuel his party, reassure his ego, and lure girls to his side — what else could a handsome career partyboy ever need? Here’s what we think Dorian Gray would drink, indulge, and play Prince Charming to.

Stream the mixtape here.

“Look” — Sébastien Tellier

A master of seduction, we think Dorian Gray would pretty much swear by Sébastien Tellier. This may or may not be his closer.

“It’s a Curse” — Wolf Parade

We think the strange but sexy darkness of Wolf Parade would be on constant rotation in Gray’s pretty, twisted little head.

“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” — Weezer

Dorian would sing along to every verse of this self-aggrandizing patchwork anthem.

“Heroin” — The Velvet Underground

For indulging his hedonism are much as humanly possible. We bet that the picture gets ten years older during this song.

“Boys Don’t Cry” — The Cure

We think Dorian would be most into the Cure’s Gothic phase — though he might dabble in other periods too. After all, he dabbles in everything.

“SexyBack” — Justin Timberlake

A modern ode to narcissism, we can see Dorian strolling through the VIP section with this playing in his head. Plus, he knows to listen to the songs that the girls like.

“Drunk Girls” — LCD Soundsystem

For embracing your hedonism.

“AA XXX” — Peaches

Dorian’s devotion to Peaches is indicative of his desire to try everything that might feel good — yes, everything. Bring it on.

“Horror Show” — The Libertines

This song would soundtrack Dorian’s more sinister drug-fueled ragers — plus, there is no way he wouldn’t pick up an album by a band called the Libertines.

“I’m Too Sexy” — Right Said Fred

For the ultimate narcissist, the ultimate song for singing into your hairbrush in the mirror.