You can also find the playlist on my YouTube channel!

For this playlist I chose the following eleven songs, and I know there are two Nirvana songs, but I think that Leonard would have been a big fan of Nirvana.  I tried to list the songs in an order that made some sense chronologically, but since this book takes place over the course of one day it was a challenge. Be warned, this playlist jumps and tosses through different decades genres of music, just like Leonard does as a character. 

I personally listened to the entire Nirvana collection on Spotify while reading this, Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York 1994 is one of the best listening experiences a person can have. 

I hope you enjoy! Add what songs you would put in the playlist in the comments below! 

  1. “Stronger than Ever” Raleigh Ritchie
    • I choose this song to work as a follow-through for the novel, in many ways it parallels the struggle that Leonard goes through, and by the end of the novel we see him on his rise to strength. “I won’t be crushed by the weight of this town… I will rise and be stronger than ever”. Leonard is weighed down by the memories, experiences and people in his small town but he is on the rise above it.
  2. “Creep” Radiohead
    • I choose this song because while “Stronger than Ever” has the more triumphant cue of the novel, this is a song I think the Leonard would have chosen for himself as a theme song. Throughout the novel we get this image of Leonard as an outcast, an undesirable, someone who is better off alone. This song also reminds me of a specific part in the novel when we see Leonard follow as business woman through a back alley and the exchange that follows through after.
  3. “Of All The Gin Joints In All The Towns In All The World/ Piano Improvisation” Humphrey Bogart and Dooley Wilson in Casablanca
    • Bogie, of course! This is helpful for those people who have never seen Casablanca (but go watch it, if that is you!), or other Bogie films. This song is a tribute to Walt and the movies him and Leonard would watch and “escape” to.  I love that throughout the novel we see Leonard and Walt quote these famous Bogie films, it really adds to the idea that Leonard is a :weirdo” and not of this time, but Walt provides him with the sense that it is not a bad thing and he does belong.
  4. “Waiting” Kite String Tangle
    • This song starts off with the instrumental and takes a while to break into music, you are physically “waiting” for the music to take off. I believe that this song works well to showcase the dynamic of the novel, as Leonard was waiting the whole day for one specific thing. I also just wanted to include a more upbeat song, and I feel the melody works well with the pace of the novel.
  5. “On the Run” Blackfoot
    • Although we never meet Leonard’s dad, and he is just lived through Leonard’s memories of him, this song is a tribute to him. This perhaps could have been the song that made Leonard’s music rockstar father famous. And of course the fact that it is called “On the Run” highlights the life that Leonard’s father lived. I believe that the 80’s hair metal encompassed Leonard’s father’s lifestyle, values and probably hairstyle.
  6. “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” Nirvana
    • This song is a tribute to our favorite lady of the novel, Lauren. Leonard from the moment he lays eyes on Lauren is captivated by her beauty and innocence. Lauren is captivated with Jesus and trying to spread His message, and save everyone from Hell. As we see in the novel Leonard humors her ideas, but with other less innocent intentions in mind.The lyrics of this song work really well with the multiple exchanges we see unfold between Leonard and Lauren throughout the novel.
  7. “Breakeven” The Script
    • The first line of this song caught my attention, and I love some classic heartbreak songs of the ‘90s. “I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing
      Just prayin’ to a god that I don’t believe in”, in the novel Leonard asks Laurent o pray for him, even though he doesn’t believe in God, but he is willing to try anything, prayer included, to keep him alive and breathing. The rest of the song, while intended for a lover, reminds me in parts of the relationship Leonard had with his mother. She is doing well in her career, love life and social life away in New York City while Leonard suffers at home alone. The family did not break even when Leonard’s dad left.
  8. “Oh, Pretty Woman” Roy Orbinson
    • A classic! After a few low, solem songs I think we needed a nice pick me up. This song is what I imagined went through Leonards head the first time he saw Lauren at the subway station. Leonard being the old timey young man he was would have surely listen to Roy Orbinson with Walt.
  9. “Kamikaze” WALK THE MOON
    • Kamikaze is defined on Dictionary.com as follows “(in World War II) a Japanese aircraft loaded with explosives and making a deliberate suicidal crash on an enemy target.” this describes Leonard and his motives in the novel. Leonards past is symbolic of heavy explosives and he is purposefully making a suicidal crash on his enemy. The song is upbeat and touches on heavy topics, which is the same melody I find the book plays.
  10. “Völlig Losgelöst (Major Tom)” Peter Schilling
    • Since Leonard’s favorite class was his German history class with Her Silverman, why not include a German song! This song has a lot of history on it’s own (refer to https://www.billboard.com/music/peter-schilling/chart-history/hot-100/song/333825) but works perfectly for this soundtrack. This song is dedicated to the life that Leonard lives in his future. Leonard imagines the world is underwater and everything is different, while the song focuses on being in space, we can still see parrell emotions to the between the earth in the song and the earth the remains in Leonard’s imaginary future.
  11. “All Apologies” Nirvana
    • Leonard would love Nirvana, I just know it! I was debating adding this song, but I think it sums the soundtrack up nicely and feels like the appropriate ending to the novel.  “All in all is all we are”.