Brown's Sack Lunch Mixtape: Lyrics mined from the legends of literature

By Dylan Brown INland 360

Oprah Winfrey tells her book club. Hipsters lord how well-read they are over their friends. And rock stars convince thousands of teenage kids to read the first 20 pages of classic literature or try to watch that classic film.

Everyone wants to tell you what they’ve been reading. From the overt — Bruce Springsteen’s ode to Steinbeck’s classic “The Ghost of Tom Joad” — to the obscure — the Beatles’ allusion to a poem from 1603 that plays in “Golden Slumbers” — references to the “classics” are everywhere in music.

Saluting ‘Citizen Kane’ “The Union Forever” by The White Stripes

“Well, I’m sorry but I’m not interested in gold mines, oil wells, shipping or real estate,” I really just like the White Stripes. Inspired by the “greatest movie ever made,” “Citizen Kane,” Charles Foster Kane rocks hard in the garage as Jack White puts the film’s most famous lines to work with his screechy guitar, and then there is true love. Referencing ‘Lolita’ “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police

If you were ever a school girl in 1980 with that 20-something hunk of a teacher, humming the “temptation, frustration” in this track could make things really uncomfortable. But if you actually did your literature homework, you would have gotten the reference to the protagonist of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita” and his hebephilic relationship with his stepdaughter. Paying attention class? Melancholy mirror “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead

“Don’t Panic” — the immortal words inscribed on “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy,” the classic novel, wonderful radio series and awful film written by Douglas Adams. Adams’ hilarious Eeyore of the cosmos, Marvin the Paranoid Android, never panicked because the universe was so unbelievably dull, it depressed him, and the melancholy of Radiohead’s epic captures its namesake perfectly.

Senseless acts “Killing An Arab” by  the Cure

Somehow a song written by one of the bands that inspired generations of angsty-yet-sensitive teenagers to don black and talk about death and darkness just couldn’t be flat racist. And, don’t worry, it’s not — it’s even more depressing than that. It’s a reference to the climactic scene of Albert Camus’ existential “The Stranger,” in which the protagonist shoots an Arab for no reason. Nilihists rejoice.

Brown may be contacted at dbrown@lmtribune.com, (208) 848-2266 or on Twitter @DylanBrown26.

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    @ Washington State University Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

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