Anyone who knows me well is probably aware that that music is really the only form of pop culture I’m terrible at keeping up with. I don’t like a lot of modern Top 40 music and my iPod (yes, I keep music on an iPod I got in 2009 rather than on my phone) is a little embarrassing, filled with show tunes and songs that hit their peak about a decade ago.
However, videos like this one inspire me to think about more recent music in terms of book and TV characters. The mood or lyrics of a song can easily summarize a character’s motives, personality, or experiences in just a few minutes. When I was finishing Lost back in freshman year of college, I imposed a hiatus on myself in the last few weeks of the year – I wouldn’t watch Lost because if I finished one episode, I’d just want to keep going. During that little break, so many songs that popped up on my Pandora instantly made me think of certain characters on the show.
When I completed the series in July 2014, I wrote a journal entry about my thoughts upon finishing the show and why it had become so important to me. I included the songs I had paired with certain characters, which I thought would be fun to share and talk about today! I’ve also adapted a bit of the original journal entry to include some very emotional gibberish about why Lost is amazing.
It introduced me to a new kind of television storytelling, taught me how to analyze characters (especially towards the end of my year watching the show, when I was in my second semester as an English major), made me sob and laugh, and shocked me a countless amount of times. Me being me, I launched into finding commemorative behind-the-scenes finale clips of the cast and crew. Daniel Dae Kim summed up what I fully believed about the show: “I don’t think you can have a conversation about television in the twenty-first century without mentioning Lost.”
After seeing the finale’s theme of “to remember and to let go,” Matthew Fox’s comment, “In a lot of respects, we are just our memories,” really stuck with me. Once you hear that, you can’t help but notice how true it is. Aren’t we motivated to keep up friendships because of good recollections? This quote immediately reminded me of one of my favorite episodes, “Greatest Hits.” Throughout the episode, Charlie (my favorite character after Desmond) makes a list of his greatest memories up to that point. He tells Desmond, “Memories…they’re all I’ve got.”
Unless something within your body turns against you, they truly are all you’ve got. Memories can make or break you. Check below for some of the songs I wrote about in that initial journal entry and what characters they reminded me of!
Proceed carefully, there are spoilers ahead.
Charlie: “Timsel” by Mumford and Sons
And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance
This song particularly strikes up thoughts of “Greatest Hits.” Charlie dies from drowning, but “Timsel” says that death won’t steal substance, and Charlies makes it his mission to help save his friends with his dying breath. “Not Penny Boat’s” – come on!
Kate / Sawyer: “The Weight of Lies” by The Avett Brothers
The weight of lies will bring you down
And follow you to every town ’cause
Nothing happens here that doesn’t happen there
In their pre-island lives, Kate and Sawyer are both constantly on the move, running from their pasts and true identities. As seen in these lyrics, attempts to run away are fruitless and come back to haunt them in the end.
Charlie / Claire: “Big Parade” by The Lumineers
Lovely girl won’t you stay, won’t you stay, stay with me
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see
Okay, so Charlie and Claire are a little problematic individually and together, but I love them nonetheless. They’re so cute, and I think they’re truly better together because of the way they’re just automatically drawn to each other after the crash. Until the end of the series, their story is heartbreaking, but their fluffy moments (think of the peanut butter) remind me of how upbeat this song is.
Hurley: “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens
Well, if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are
Hurley is naturally a simple and happy person. Although he definitely experiences frustration and sadness (his reaction to Sun and Jin’s deaths destroys me), he’d rather focus on the positive and what can be improved around him. A Hurley moment that clicks the most with this song is his choice to jump in the ocean, feeling completely carefree, moments before he is told of his best friend Charlie’s death.
Locke: “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Peter, Paul and Mary
How many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Everyone’s pre-island life had its awful moments, but I think Locke’s is up there as one of, if not the most depressing of Flight 815’s passengers. After all, he is the most broken before the crash, and completely and unquestionably embraces the island and its magic because he has gained back so much. His normal life reminds me of “Blowin’ In the Wind” because he literally faces so much upheaval, disappointment, and frustration before being drawn to the island and getting a second chance.
Desmond / Penny: “The Last Thing on My Mind” from the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack
Are you going away with no word of farewell
Will there be not a trace left behind
Well, I could’ve loved you better, didn’t mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind
Desmond is my absolute favorite Lost character, and the fact that most of his episodes were written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse speaks to the important connections between his storyline and the show’s overall message. This song has always reminded me of Desmond choosing to leave Penny because he believes he’s not good enough for her.
Mr. Eko: “You Found Me” by The Fray
Where were you
When everything was falling apart?
All my days
Spent by the telephone
That never rang
And all I needed was a call
That never came
One of my favorite Lost scenes is Eko’s confrontation with his brother’s ghost, when he says, “I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given nonetheless. And with it, I did my best.” Eko’s religion is a key aspect of his character, but he has a conflicted relationship with it after convincing his brother the priest to help him smuggle drugs under the guise of priesthood.
Boone / Shannon: “Broken Crown” by Mumford and Sons
The pull on my flesh is just too strong
It stifles the choice and the air in my lungs
Better not to breathe than to breathe a lie
When I open my body and breathe alive
Of all the relationships on Lost, Boone and Shannon’s was the most taboo. and even though they were only step-siblings, I know I was pretty weirded out by their fling before the crash. I think this song touches upon a forbidden relationship that will ultimately fizzle out, as theirs did, and how people are drawn to each other despite a negative result of doing so.
At this point, I’m definitely overdue for a Lost rewatch. I miss exchanges between Locke and Ben, Sawyer’s jokes, Kate, Juliet, and basically all of the women being badasses, and Desmond’s unbuttoned shirts. If you consider yourself a serious TV fan and have yet to watch Lost, you need to correct that right away!