The Friday Playlist – Bret Easton Ellis edition

Larry Ryan

Examining evil Bret Easton  265x300 The Friday Playlist   Bret Easton Ellis editionInspired by the devilishly smart online campaign for Bret Easton Ellis’ Imperial Bedrooms (see, which includes a Spotify soundtrack to the novel, for this week’s Friday Playlist I’ve tried to expand the idea out by using music references from Ellis’ entire ouevre (with a little help from the film adaptations of his work too).

As a piece on The Guardian a while back suggested, pop music has always been an important feature of the novelist’s work: both Less Than Zero and Imperial Bedrooms are titles borrowed from Elvis Costello, while Costello’s album Trust also features in the former book.

The epigraph from Less Than Zero quotes Led Zepellin and X, and American Psycho’s uses a line from Talking Heads, while the spectre of New Wave and moody 80s synths looms over Ellis’ early work. The rock star character Bryan Metro in The Informers always seemed like a Dave Gahn meets Billy Idol like figure to me.

Things take a turn for the bland in American Psycho with Patrick Bateman’s odes to Whitney, Phil and Huey, not to mention his obsession with Les Mis (London cast recording), whereas Victor Ward’s desperate attempts to stay hip in Glamorama lead him to namecheck virtually every band that made music in the 90s.

I don’t recall Lunar Park having any standout music references in it but I’ve pinched a few songs from the Imperial Bedrooms Spotify soundtrack to round off the collection. Here’s the playlist. “Abondon all hope ye who enter here” etc…

Less Than Zero – Elvis Costello
The Have Nots – X
From A Whisper To A Scream – Elvis Costello
Pretty In Pink – Psychedelic Furs
New Life – Depeche Mode
Rise – PiL
Colours – Donovan
Situation – Yazoo
(Nothing But) Flowers – Talking Heads
Hip To Be Square – Huey Lewis & The News
Walking On Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves
True Faith – New Order
Greatest Love Of All – Whitney Houston
Invisible Touch – Genesis
Sussudio – Phil Collins
Bring Him Home – Les Miserables – Original London Cast
Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode
Disco 2000 – Pulp
Even Better Than The Real Thing – U2
Last Day Of Our Acquaintance – Sinead O’Connor
I Love LA – Randy Newman
What’s A Girl To Do? – Bat For Lashes
Racing Like A Pro – The National
Man Out Of Time – Elvis Costello

Click here to listen to the playlist on Spotify (free, painless and not-at-all spammy registration required)

(Photo: Getty Images)

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