Playlist One - Selected Musical References

“Found Objects”

“Empire State of Mind”Jay Z and Alicia Keys

Although not explicily mentioned, the song and the chapter are both laden with references and information about New York.


“The Gold Cure”

“Ha Ha Ha” — Flipper

Referenced on pages 36 and 50 of the book, Flipper is a band that Bennie and his friends enjoyed when they were young.


“Rise Above” — Black Flag

Another band that Bennie enjoyed in his youth, Black Flag is mentioned on page 36 of the book.


"Ask Me if I Care”

“We Are the One” — The Avengers

Mentioned on page 45, The Avengers is a group that Bennie and his friends have seen play live. 

“The Passenger” — Iggy Pop

Bennie played this song in Lou’s studio. It is referenced on page 55.



“Africa” — Toto

This song was also not explicitly mentioned in the book, but “Safari” takes place in Africa. 


“You (Plural)”

"Blue Moon" — Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck is a well-known jazz musician. The characters in the story began by making themselves a drink, and they were also about to play dominoes or gin rummy. Whenever the older generation is about to drink and play games with one another, they most likely put on music from their generation. It relaxes the mood and helps them concentrate. That is probably why they choose to play Dave Brubeck. 


“Xs and Os”

"Satin Doll" — Ella Fitzgerald

Why not play Ella Fitzgerald's "Satin Doll" at a gala? It sets the tone for the guest that were there, and it puts them in a good mood, especially with Ella Fitzgerald's voice. 


“Great Rock and Roll Pauses”

“Long Train Runnin’” — Doobie Brothers, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Bernadette” — The Four Tops, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Supervixen” — Garbage, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Faith” — George Michael, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Young Americans” — David Bowie, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Good Times, Bad Times” — Led Zeppelin, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Pls. Play this song on the Radio” — NOFX, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“The Time of the Season” — Zombies, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Closing Time” — Semisonic, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Roxanne” — Police, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12. 

“Foxey Lady” — Jimi Hendrix, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12. 

“Mighty Sword” — Frames, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12.

“Rearrange Beds” — an Horse, mentioned by Lincoln in Chapter 12. 

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Playlist Two - Songs Relating to the Book

1. “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” — Portugal. The Man

This song is about hedonism and living large, which reflects on the attitudes of several characters of the book. The phrase “I just wanna be evil” in the chorus does not literally mean that the book’s characters desire to be evil, but rather that they are battling inner demons.

2. “Thunder Road” — Bruce Springsteen

Reminiscing on passed youth and embracing the future are the themes of this song as well as two of the novel’s themes.

3. “Baba O’Riley” — The Who

The lyrics of this song encapsulate the carefree outlook on life and the future, specifically the outlook of Bennie and his friends.

4. “Hide and Seek” — Imogen Heap

“Hide and Seek” deals with the realization that one part of life is over and it’s time to accept what comes next. The lyrics “the dust has only just begun to fall” implies that while youth has not been gone for too terribly long, the reality of aging is starting to set in.

5. “Sister Little” — The Sleepers

One of the songs Egan listened to while writing, “Sister Little” is an example of the high-energy punk music present throughout several parts of the book.

6. “Blonde on Blonde” — Nada Surf

This song is on the album Let Go, which Egan listened to while writing “Safari.” The lyrics “I’ve got no time I wanna lose/To people with something to prove” reflect on the theme of time in the novel.

7. “The Scientist” — Coldplay

The lyrics of this song relate to the struggle of leaving people behind and patching relationships, a struggle many Goon Squad characters share. 

8. “Revelry” — Kings of Leon

“Revelry” and Goon Squad both share the theme of regret. This song reflects on choices, just like several of the novel’s characters.

9. “Blue” — First Aid Kit

The theme of regret is present again in this song, which is about past actions and the mental toll they can take.

10. “True Faith” — New Order

This song illustrates the themes of feeling trapped and moving into the future. Both of these themes are also developed throughout the novel. 

11. “For What Reason” — Death Cab for Cutie


Egan listened to this and other Death Cab for Cutie songs while writing Goon Squad. Additionally, this song hints at the theme of time.

12. “Weird Fishes” — Radiohead

This song deals with the struggles of feeling stuck in a situation and moving on.

13. “We Are Young” — Fun. feat. Janelle Monae

(“We Are Young” links to

“We Are Young” glorifies youth and sets it on a pedestal, much like many of the characters in the novel.

14. “This Is the Life” — Amy Macdonald

The lyrics of this song speak of choices one makes while growing up and maturing, which is something the characters of this novel cope with.

15. “Home Again” — Michael Kiwanuka

Moving on with life and accepting age is the theme of this song, and it is also a challenge that multiple characters face.

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Playlist Three - Sasha

"Breakaway" - Kelly Clarkson

This song is about breaking away from others and going out into the world on your own, being strong. Sasha definitely wanted to breakaway throughout her life, and it showed the most in "Out of Body" when she told Rob about her living in Naples. 

"Take Care" — Drake

This song is about two people that are infatuated with one another. This particular song reminds me of Sasha's life with Rob and Drew, when she first started dating him. They seemed to "take care" of one another particularly well. 

"You've Got a Friend" - James Taylor

Sasha and Rob's friendship was clearly an unbreakable bond. This song describes the type of friendship they had with one another. They both were always there for one another. 

"In This Diary" -Ataris

In this song, the artist is talking about the joys of being young. This song reminds me of when Sasha was in college. She did so much, and she had an interesting life, even at such a young age. 

"Can't Say Goodbye" - Josh Gracin

It was hard for Sasha to let go of Rob's death, and even when she found the note in Alex's wallet, she kept it because it clearly reminded her of Rob. It showed that, even to that day, it was still something that was hard for her. 

"Ridiculous Thoughts" - The Cranberries

When Sasha was in college, she was paranoid that her step-father had people following her, which caused her to do a little bit of pretending. 

"Survivor" — Destinys Child

Sasha finally became all of the obstacles in her life. She got married and became a mom. Though we didn't hear much from her from chapter 12, it's clear that she has her life together.

"Furthest Thing" — Drake

"Somewhere between I'm sober and I'm lifted." Whenever Sasha wasn't stealing, she felt...bad. But whenever she stole, it gave her a rush. It was like a drug for her, and it made her feel better...temporarily, of course. 

"You Give Me Something"  — James Morrison

Sasha wasn't ever in a serious relationship, except for with Drew, when she was in college. Throughout her adulthood, there was never a man she was serious about or had gotten close to. However, when she and Drew reconnected, she allowed him to somehow become close to her again. They got married and had children. 

"The Morning"  — The Weekend

When Sasha brought Alex home with her, they slept together, and that was it. She never held on to any man because that wasn't something she wanted to do. "Ain't the kinda girl you'll be seeing in the morning."

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Playlist Four - Bennie

Living for the City” — Stevie Wonder, This song can be applied to Bennie’s life because of the difference between his childhood life and his new life in the city with his new found success.

Los Gatos” — The Sleepers, Bennie is found listening to this band on his way to pick up his son Christopher.  He grew up listening to this band for their raw and “muddied” sound. 

Holiday in Cambodia” — The Dead Kennedys, Bennie is also found listening to this band on his way to pick up his son Christopher.  This band is from the San Francisco area and reflects Bennie’s love for “muddied” and real music. 

Too Drunk to Fuck” — Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, Bennie listens to this band on his nostalgic trip to pick up his son Christopher.  This song is also a great example of the type of music Bennie prefers. 

Stop This Train” — John Mayer, This song reflects the way that Bennie is nostalgic about his past, especially in “The Gold Cure” and his path to realization that you cannot stop the train of life and it will go on. 

All We Have is Now” — The Flaming Lips, This song goes along with the idea that time cannot be stopped and one must live in the present. 

Trouble” — Coldplay, This song fits in Bennie’s life once he cheats on his wife for the final time. 

It’s Cool, We Can Still Be Friends” — Bright Eyes, This song can be placed in Bennies life during the downfall of his relationship with his wife when he is cheating for the last time. 

What’s My Age Again?” — Blink-182, This song fits in throughout Bennie’s life because time seems to be moving so quickly for him as well as all of the other characters. 

Strange Times” — The Black Keys, This song has a sound that could fit into Bennie’s particular taste in music.  This song can also express the way Bennie views the changing music industry, especially in the final chapter of the book. 


This page compiled by Kirstyn Kedaitis, Emily Crutchfield, and Jovonne Roberson.