Less Than Zero: The Soundtrack

"Less Than Zero" by Bret Easton Ellis is my favorite book of all time for a variety of reasons.

The debauchery, the hedonism draped in a fog of drugs and fast cars, cocaine on the sleeve of an $800 suit.

Nights at Spago, Valium, Quaaludes, Betamax, Christmas in Palm Springs. Crimson and clover, over and over.

"'Just charge it,' Trent says wearily."

The realization that we could Disappear Here and no one would know the difference.

"The flash blinds me for a second and I take a swallow from the champagne bottle."

The fact that Bret Easton Ellis wrote this masterpiece at 21 years old and it would become my favorite book at 18. The fact that the disenfranchisement of the mid-to-late 1980's never went away, it just disguised itself behind cell phones and the fact that the way we can not disappear from being contacted makes us even more alone.

When it was made into a movie in 1987 starring my favorite actor of the 1980's, Andrew McCarthy, as Clay, the soundtrack was as follows:

  1. Aerosmith - "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu"
  2. Roy Orbison - "Life Fades Away"
  3. Poison - "Rock N Roll All Nite"
  4. LL Cool Jay - "Going Back To Cali"
  5. Glenn Danzig - You and Me (Less than Zero)"
  6. Slayer - "In-A-Gadda-De-Vida"
  7. Public Enemy - "Bring The Noise"
  8. Black Flames - "Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)"
  9. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - "She's Lost You"
  10. Alyson Williams & Oran Juice Jones - "How to Love Again"
  11. The Bangles - "Hazy Shade of Winter"
But really - these songs were selected to ostensibly sell records and "Going Back To Cali" or any such mid-80's rap song would never have been on the record players of the disenfranchised teenagers in the book. This was, of course, before it was cool for teenagers wearing Ralph Lauren polo sweaters draped around their shoulders to embrace rap music.

So here it is, based on thematic elements, character development, and just the all around atmosphere of the book: my idea of the real soundtrack to the book "Less Than Zero".

1. Kings of Leon - "Closer" (2008)

2. Third Eye Blind - "Slow Motion" (1999)

3. Deadmau5 f. Rob Swire - "Ghosts N Stuff" (2009)

4. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - "Crimson & Clover" (1982)

5. Matchbox 20 - "Back 2 Good" (1996)

6. The Verve - "The Drugs Don't Work" (1997)

7. Brand New - "Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis" (2003)

8. The Verve Pipe - "The Freshmen"(1997)

9. The Cowboy Junkies - "Sweet Jane" (1988)

10. Foo Fighters - "Everlong" (1997)

11. The Moody Blues - "Nights In White Satin" (1967)

12. The Pretty Reckless - "Make Me Wanna Die" (2010)

"Clay, did you ever love me?" I'm studying a billboard and say that I didn't hear what she said. "I asked if you ever loved me?" On the terrace the sun bursts into my eyes and for one blinding moment I see myself clearly. I remember the first time we made love, in the house in Palm Springs, her body tan and wet, lying against cool, white sheets. "Don't do this, Blair," I tell her. "Just tell me." I don't say anything. "Is it such a hard question to answer?" I look at her straight on. "Yes or no?" "Why?" "Damnit, Clay," she sighs. "Yeah, sure, I guess." "Don't lie to me." "What in the fuck do you want to hear?" "Just tell me," she says, her voice rising. "No," I almost shout. "I never did." I almost start to laugh. She draws in a breath and says, "Thank you. That's all I wanted to know." She sips her wine. "Did you ever love me?" I ask her back, though by now I can't even care. She pauses. "I thought about it and yeah, I did once. I mean I really did. Everything was all right for a while. You were kind." She looks down and then goes on. "But it was like you weren't there. Oh shit, this isn't going to make any sense." She stops. I look at her, waiting for her to go on, looking up at the billboard. Disappear Here. "I don't know if any other person I've been with has been really there, either ... but at least they tried." I finger the menu; put the cigarette out. "You never did. Other people made an effort and you just ... It was just beyond you." She takes another sip of her wine. "You were never there. I felt sorry for you for a little while, but then I found it hard to. You're a beautiful boy, Clay, but that's about it." I watch the cars pass by on Sunset. "It's hard to feel sorry for someone who doesn't care." "Yeah?" I ask. "What do you care about? What makes you happy?" "Nothing. Nothing makes me happy. I like nothing," I tell her. "Did you ever care about me, Clay?" I don't say anything, look back at the menu. "Did you ever care about me?" she asks again. "I don't want to care. If I care about things, it'll just be worse, it'll just be another thing to worry about. It's less painful if I don't care." "I cared about you for a little while." I don't say anything. She takes off her sunglasses and finally says, "I'll see you later, Clay." She gets up. "Where are you going?" I suddenly don't want to leave Blair here. I almost want to take her back with me. "Have to meet someone for lunch." "But what about us?" "What about us?" She stands there for a moment, waiting. I keep staring at the billboard until it begins to blur and when my vision becomes clearer I watch as Blair's car glides out of the parking lot and becomes lost in the haze of traffic on Sunset. The waiter comes over and asks, "Is everything okay, sir?" I look up and put my sunglasses on and try to smile. "Yeah."
~ Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero


M├írio said…
I agree 100% , it's my favorite movie / songs. Do remind me of that time when I was a teen.