Matching Songs to Books in the English Curriculum
BY KERA MATTHEWS '24
Do you happen to be reading a book for English class right now—or at least the Sparknotes version of it? Do you wish there was a way you could tolerate the endless pages of dumb character choices, pretentious writing, and cliché circumstances? Well, fear not: I have the perfect solution for you! For those who need a fun escape from rigorous literature, I give you a playlist that encapsulates the essence of the English curriculum.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
“Love Story” by Taylor Swift: It’s this song’s destiny to be matched with this book. From the upbeat, joyous instrumental to the explicit usages of the characters names and plotlines, these two fit just like a puzzle piece. Taylor put the essence of these characters’ spontaneous tendencies into her voice and the lyrics, and just like for Juliet and Romeo, it would be wrong to force these estranged lovers apart.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“Gold Digger” by Kanye West: I mean, it’s right in the title, people. And hey, I respect the hustle. Just one glance at Pemberley and I would be the one doing the proposing. Plus, Lizzie’s got people to take care of! But you better believe that Lizzie won’t be going after any man who is dirt poor, especially when a grumpy, loaded man is right in front of her. At least she’s following her mother’s wishes.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
“Talkin’ 2 Myself” by Eminem: After falling down a rabbit hole of depressing songs, I finally landed on this one as my top pick. The whole book is essentially Holden Caulfield talking to himself because of the constant, incessant rambling, but on top of that, “No one seems to know [his] struggle/ And everything [he] come[s] from”. Eminem also talks about how he made some bad decisions as a result, and Holden’s independent journey in the book is full of those.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
“I’ll Make a Man out of You” from (the legendary) Mulan: If this isn’t the song that exposes Macbeth’s cowardice, I don’t know what is. It gives me so much joy to reverse the roles of this song’s message and have Lady Macbeth be the one to put Macbeth in his place. She is the one in control, and she is the only reason Macbeth ended up in power. Doing all that planning behind the scenes while simultaneously demeaning Macbeth’s “manliness” was nothing short of iconic—and so is this song.
That’s everything! If you are feeling like taking a break from the agony that is reading for school, and you want to ignore those responsibilities, ignore away and jam out to these hits!
(P.S. There are some extra songs sprinkled in this playlist that I didn’t provide descriptions for, but that you will enjoy nonetheless)