Literary Mixtape: Don Juan


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 most legendary of libertines, Don Juan.

The story of Don Juan has been retold and reinterpreted in many forms, most often in plays, poems, and operas, but even if you’ve never read the story or seen it on stage or screen, you’ve probably heard the term “Don Juan.” Only the great literary characters have their names turned into nouns, and Don Juan’s has come to be synonymous with “womanizer.” Indeed, the famous rogue and libertine had an often cruel penchant for women, especially virgins, and seduced hundreds of them, fighting off their husbands or fathers when need be, and (in most interpretations) caring little for the feelings of anyone other than himself. In the prevailing legend, Don Juan ultimately ends up in hell, where the Devil thrusts a jester’s suit at him, but tells him he doesn’t have to wear it if he can name a single one of his conquests. We think you can guess how that story ends. Here’s what we think Don Juan would coerce, seduce, and sleep with a thousand women to.

Stream the mixtape here.

“One Week of Danger” — The Virgins

A song about getting a girl to think she’s in love with you and then totally breaking her heart after you’ve sealed the deal? If this isn’t Don Juan’s theme song, we don’t know what is. Plus, we all know how much he likes virgins, musical or otherwise.

“Mercy Mercy Me” — Marvin Gaye

Look, Don Juan is no amateur seducer — he wouldn’t touch “Let’s Get it On” with a ten foot pole. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate some appropriately non-ubiquitous Marvin. The guy knows what do whisper in a lady’s ear.

“Tamacun” — Rodrigo y Gabriela

There’s nothing like a little hot-blooded samba to seduce a reticent woman — or anyone for that matter — and we’d be willing to be anything that Don Juan was a spectacular dancer.

“Sexy Boy” — Air

For the Byronic interpretation of the man — the innocent, too easily seduced by the women swirling around him, not the aggressor. In fact, we’re confident that, Byronic interpretation or no, Don Juan would have close to all of the Air discography within reach at all times.

“Blue Jeans” — Lana Del Rey

For seducing a certain type of girl — and feeling that tinge of sadness that goes with it.

“Cyprus Avenue” — Van Morrison

This is the kind of song, about epic longing and giving into temptation, that we think Don Juan would eat right up. Yonder comes my lady…

“Under A Blanket Of Blue” — Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald

We said he was no amateur. This song and a glass of scotch by a snapping fire gets the job done every time.

“Playboy” — Hot Chip

In many interpretations of Don Juan, he’s a lolling, self-indulgent character with a penchant for life’s comforts alongside his women and wine. We think this is the kind of track any self-respecting playboy would listen to in his secret bubble bath, getting ready to fight his lover’s husband.

“Music When The Lights Go Out” — The Libertines

We know it’s cheesy, but we think any modern Don Juan would be self-aware enough to totally dig any band called The Libertines.

“We Found Love” — Rihanna and Calvin Harris

This might be a little bit of wishful thinking on the part of our dear libertine — if only one girl ever really loved Don Juan, he would hope it’d be girl like Rihanna. Not like he’d know her name, though.