Miscellaneous Playlists

Reel-to-Reel Presents: “Club Paradise”

Official Music Video for “Ape Man” by The Kinks from YouTube.

Because it looms large over this movie, we’re getting it out of the way right now: I miss Robin Williams, too.

Released in 1986, “Club Paradise” is an incredibly fun and equally incredibly cynical film, despite what critical reception may suggest.

Trailer for “Club Paradise” from YouTube.

Directed by Harold Ramis and written alongside Brian Doyle-Murray, “Club Paradise” follows retired Chicago fire fighter Jack Moniker in his attempts to turn a seedy club in a troubled former banana republic into a destination resort.

Supporting William’s wayward fireman is Jimmy Cliff as Ernest Reed, the reggae-singing bandleader of the club, and Peter O’Toole as the former colonial governor of the island.

With Cliff and O’Toole acting as relative “straight men” against the unfettered energy of Williams, the three are released upon an equally chaotic supporting cast of vacationers including the likes of Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin and Twiggy.

“Club Paradise” by Jimmy Cliff from YouTube

With the film being so openly on “Island Time,” the soundtrack revels in reggae and reggae-inspired rock, especially leaning on the talents of the under-appreciated Jimmy Cliff.

With songs written for the film, namely the titular “Club Paradise,” Cliff’s crooning is written into the film as musical numbers within the club.

Beyond the delectably ’80s reggae, the film also pulls from a variety of Caribbean acts like The Mighty Sparrow from Grenada but also more colonial influences from England with Elvis Costello and The Kinks.

“Seven Day Weekend” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions and Jimmy Cliff from YouTube

While there is most certainly a deeper socio-economic analysis you could do of the film’s politics around rejuvenating a downtrodden island, and the smell of neocolonialism lingers around every corner, that’s really not the point of the film — it’s a fun movie set in a pretty location.

We all know the real motive behind the film — a paid vacation on a tropical island and a tax write off — but that’s alright with me.

So turn off your brain and take a mental vacation to Club Paradise — you won’t regret it.

Reel-to-Reel airs every Friday starting at 8 a.m. only on WKNC 88.1 FM HD-1, Raleigh, NC.

No man is an island – Bodhi

Miscellaneous Playlists

Reel-to-Reel Presents: “Bull Durham”

Spring has sprung.

The sun is shining, the grass is green, and that, good people of WKNC only means one thing; Bodhi needs to go to a baseball game.

It’s a chronic condition at this point, the moment I get a whiff of 70 degree weather, I need a cold beer in hand and my butt in a stadium seat.

Lucky for me, we’ve got hometown (adjacent) heroes just a stones throw away from campus that made it into silver screen history.

What Do You Believe In? The Church of Baseball

Written and directed by Ron Shelton, “Bull Durham” brings a fictionalized version of real life minor league darlings, the Durham Bulls, to the big screen with Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

Released in 1988, the film predominantly follows baseball-groupie Annie Savoy and her tug of war between green gilled, neophyte pitcher, Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaBoosh and 12-year minor league veteran Crash Davis.

Every season, the aptly named Annie – an “Annie” is shorthand for a baseball groupie – picks an upstart from the team who needs a little extra loving and coaches them up in the bedroom and the ballpark.

And say what you will, Costner’s brand of rough-n-tumble, all-American everyman makes a home run every time.

“Bull Durham” 1988 trailer from MGM YouTube.

To match Costner’s homegrown, heartland charm, the film pulls from straight to the heart Americana-boogie rock like The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Los Lobos and John Fogerty.

As such, Reel-to-Reel is headed to the ballpark with our very own, 80s smalltown juke joint set.

Bodhi’s Best:

Take Me Out to the Ballgame by Dr. John.

In the old American sport, if there’s one song you best play at the ballpark, it’s this one; one short ditty to get the crowd rollicking as the bats crack.

More so, John’s cover comes from a Ken Burns docu-series chronicling the rise of the sport from gentleman’s hobby to national past time, giving a pedigree to the film’s basis.

Because beyond dugouts, curveballs and garter-belts, “Bull Durham” is about one woman’s love of the sport and how she reignites that in two very different men; the jaded Crash and the naive Nuke.

Sure, she uses her feminine wiles to coach Nuke up to his true potential as a pitcher and reignites Crash’s passion for the sport that washed him out…but beyond the sex and romance, she loves the game.

So why not start with the song we all know and all sing from the cheap seats? For the love of the game.

“Take Me out to the Ballgame” by Dr. John from YouTube.

I Drove All Night by Cyndi Lauper

I am not ashamed to say, the first time I saw “Bull Durham,” far too young I might add, I thought it was set in the fifties.

Now obviously that was a massive misjudgment on my part -Annie Savoy uses a speed-gun to hunt prospects for Christ’s sake – because the film is contemporarily set in the year before it’s release, 1987.

That being said, I love a good trend cycle and “eighties goes fifties” is one of my favorites; big skirts, curled hair, petticoats and pegged jeans all jumped from Mom’s photo album to your closet.

As such, the quasi-rockabilly reminiscence colored my interaction with the film and how I approached this set.

With the film being Annie’s story (fight me on it), I wanted to have a commanding female presence in the romantic sense present within my playlist.

Originally written for Roy Orbison in the 70s, recorded in the 80s, and posthumously released in the 90s, “I Drove All Night” is a perfectly saccharine teeny-bopper pop hit in the late-50s/early-60s tradition.

But, with Lauper at the helm it takes on a whole new level by putting female agency at center stage; no longer the pursued girl waiting in her bedroom, she’s the one at the wheel taking off into the night for her lover.

For a film like “Bull Durham,” where an older woman controls the dynamics of every scene she’s in, I can’t help but feel this would’ve made it’s way into Annie’s tape deck at some point in time.

Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night” music video from YouTube.

But that my friends is just a tease of what I cooked up for your listening pleasure; an hour-and-a-half of good old jukebox rock to bring you centerfield with Crash, Nuke and Annie.

Reel-to-Reel airs every Friday starting at 8 a.m. only on WKNC 88.1 FM HD-1, Raleigh, NC.

Avoid the Clap…wait, wrong baseball movie – Bodhi

Miscellaneous Playlists

Grace Elizabeth Hale’s “Cool Town”

Summertime, Living Easy:

While I like to call myself an “avid reader,” I find during the nine-ish months of the school year I hardly get to read anything at all.

Well, let me rephrase: I do plenty of reading, just not reading of my choice.

But, the bright beautiful, summery light at the end of the tunnel has appeared and I’m back, baby.

So why not start off with my favorite read of last season; “Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture” by Grace Elizabeth Hale.

One part research, one part lived experience, and all Southern legend at it’s finest, Hale dutifully recreates the Athens of her youth and the college town that changed the game – sorry, Chapel Hill.

Whereas other music-history books err on either the side of salacious rumors or strict fact, “Cool Town” wasn’t only an easy read, it was a fun one too.

Those Summer Nights:

I picked up a hardcopy on a complete lark, and for a couple weeks it was my faithful companion between beach, pool and patio.

Looking back, it was a prescient read; My first summer coming home from school, struggling to find my footing as a weird, music kid in a Southern college town and this book fell into my lap.

Not to suggest I can even attempt to eclipse the likes of Michael Stipe or Vanessa Briscoe Hay, but it felt good to hear about “outsiders” forcefully carving out a space that ended up defining a generation.

Of course, you can’t tell the story of Athens in the 1980s without R.E.M, Pylon and the B-52s, but Hale is able to also highlight bands that were lost in the backwash like to every potent Love Tractor or her own band Cordy Lon.

Really, it is the underdogs and ancillary acts that make “Cool Town” and Athens of a certain time sing; young, broke and hungry for more people on the fringes determined a revolution in how we see and hear the South.

The most memorable and beautiful moments form the book are recollections of seemingly insignificant moments of DIY debauchery: a church-turned-crash-pad housing a still unnamed R.E.M’s first gig, the B-52s nearly caving the floor during a house party after raiding every thrift store within driving distance for costumes or Matthew Sweet being bullied by his pen-pals to join the fight and leave New York City for the college rock hamlet.

Before it became music for the masses, the Athens sound was queer, feminist, cartoony at times and achingly raw depictions of the chaos that surrounded their stomping grounds; an active folk archival of bohemia as it blossomed and withered.

Build a Better South:

Beyond my own need to feel seen and heard by people who (most likely) would have understood how I felt moving to NC State, I am acutely aware that what we do at WKNC wouldn’t really look the same without what happened in Georgia – and bled into Chapel Hill/Carrboro – nearly fifty years ago.

College kids across the nation, but especially in the Southeast glommed onto this new driven, jangly music through shared tapes and party bands.

The cretins (like myself) who found their way into the DJ booth then proliferated the new sound across the air, offering respite from the crude and careless old guard – looking at you, Howard Stern.

For the first time in a long time, the radio was fresh and new…and from a current DJs perspective, we’re still riding that high today; most of the listeners who reach out first found us through that eighties boom.

At universities across the South, armed with college rock/jangle rock/power pop/whatever you want to call it, DJs and musicians have been redefining what it means to be Southern in radical ways.

Simply put, y’all means all at WKNC and I will proudly stake part of that in the work coming from Athens some 45 years ago.

Do you want more college rock beamed to your brain?

Fear not good readers, I’ve got the best of the best for your listening pleasure all inspired by the cool sounds of “Cool Town.”

Take this joy, wherever you go – Bodhi

Miscellaneous Playlists

Reel-to-Reel Presents: “Animal House”

The Best 7 Years of Your Life

So, 7 years of college down the drain…what now? Might as well join The Peace Corps.

Big, bawdy, raunchy, ribald, and surprisingly heartfelt, 1978’s “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” or simply just “Animal House” brings us back to the deceptively simple year of 1962.

Miscellaneous Playlists

Reel-to-Reel Presents: “Grosse Pointe Blank”

High stakes, high stress, high-powered rifles and…high school? 

That’s the life of American assassin Martin Q. Blank.

Face it, returning to the hallowed halls of our respective high schools is a nauseating thought for most of us. 

And in that respect, he’s no different from the rest of us. 

Miscellaneous Playlists

Reel-to-Reel Presents: “Almost Famous”

“Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don’t fall for it.”

– Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous” (Crowe, 2000)

There are very few words in the English language to express just how important “Almost Famous” is to me; in the immortal words of Bad Company, “it’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy.” 

To a little girl who grew up on her dad’s rock albums, there was nothing more whimsical than the idea of being whisked away by a band. But I never wanted to be Penny Lane; I always wanted to be William Miller or, even better, Lester Bangs. 

Miscellaneous Playlists

Reel-to-Reel Presents: Hello, I’m…Johnny Knoxville?

How can you immediately spot someone who’s jumped a dirt bike off a homemade ramp? Play the Minutemen’s “Corona” in a crowd. 

Fronted by Johnny Knoxville and supported by a motley crew of Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Dave England, Preston Lacey, Ehren McGhehey, and formerly Bam Margera, among others, “Jackass” started with humble DIY roots on MTV and blossomed into a seven-film franchise, give or take a few. 


Chef’s Quick Bite of Reggae

Howdy. Because I spent my week watching too many movies and TV shows, I quickly became distracted by their soundtracks. One of my favorites of this week was the classic Jamaican film, “Rockers”.

In “Rockers“, I was introduced to a wide variety of new Jamaican reggae sounds, so I set out to make a little playlist with a ix of my old and new favorites within this genre.

I know Spring and Summer are quite a long ways off, but to get your mind ready for pleasant vibes, I have a collection of delightful dub for your ears to feast upon.

Most notable new sounds (for me) on this playlist are The Heptones and Inner Circle. Both bands are staples in the reggae diet as they are inspirations to bands around the reggae scene and the world.

In reggae, dub, ska and rocksteady, I love the chaotic and smooth combinations of a wide variety of instruments. The reggae bands in “Rockers” are all smiles and rely on blissful beats. The music talks about injustice and wishes for the good times to come around via the end of corruption.

If you feel so inclined to vibe with some reggae classics, below is an embedded Spotify link to a smattering of chill vibrations:

Blog Miscellaneous Playlists

WKNC’s Top Tracks, Artists, and Albums of 2023

Welcome to the 4th annual roundup of this series, where we asked WKNC’s DJs and Staff to submit their 3 favorite tracks, artists, and albums of 2023!

You can check out each staff member’s Spinitron through the link in their name, to see all their sets and all of the other music they’ve been playing on WKNC, as well as their Instagram or other contacts if they chose to link those.

As always, you can check out the playlist on our Spotify page.

*Denotes songs not available on Spotify.

Erie/valkerie; General Manager, DJ

  • Fever Ray – Carbon Dioxide
  • Tzusing – Balkanize
  • MarAxe – Demon
  • The National
  • Sylvan Esso
  • Setaoc Mass
  • Fever Ray – Radical Romantics
  • Tzusing – Green Hat
  • Snow Strippers – April Mixtape 3

Eilee/space cadet; Promotions Director, DJ

  • Kitchen – Fall
  • Car Colors – Old Death
  • Greg Mendez – Goodbye/Trouble
  • Kitchen
  • The Wrens
  • Wednesday
  • Kitchen – Breath Too Long
  • Wednesday – Rat Saw God
  • Greg Mendez – Greg Mendez

Isabella/BEL$; Daytime Music Director, DJ

  • MSPAINT – Titan of Hope
  • feeble little horse – Freak
  • Pinkshift – Lullaby
  • Joyce Manor
  • Sweet Pill
  • Turnstile
  • feeble little horse – Girl With Fish
  • Truth Club – Running the from Chase
  • MSPAINT – Post-American

William/dj bluegill; Underground Music Director, DJ

  • McKinley Dixon – Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!
  • Dana and Alden – Dragonfly
  • Sufjan Stevens – Will Anybody Ever Love Me?
  • Danny Brown
  • Yussef Dayes
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • McKinley Dixon – Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!
  • Yussef Dayes – Black Classical Music
  • Sufjan Stevens – Javelin

chalcopyrite; Assistant Afterhours Music Director, DJ

  • Material Girl (feat. Childboy) – Mikahel
  • lostrushi – INFINITUDE // UROBOROS
  • Oneohtrix Point Never – Plastic Antique
  • Naked Flames
  • Purity Filter
  • Frost Children
  • Kikuo – Kikuomiku 7
  • Poison Damage – KSA
  • lostrushi – SISTERHOOD

Maddie/cowball; DJ

  • Truth Club – It’s Time
  • Slow Pulp – Cramps
  • Laurel Halo – Belleville
  • Wednesday
  • Cindy Lee
  • Snow Strippers
  • Wednesday – Rat Saw God
  • Xiu Xiu – Ignore Grief
  • Laurel Halo – Atlas

Mason/DJ Crush; DJ

  • Jessie Ware – Begin Again
  • beabadoobee & Laufey – A Night To Remember
  • Chappell Roan – Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Jessie Ware
  • Rina Sawayama
  • That! Feels Good!
  • The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess
  • This Is Why

Alex/DJ Sles; DJ

  • feeble little horse – steamroller
  • deux visages – cheetah
  • billy woods & kenny segal – Soundcheck
  • julie
  • blue smiley
  • Panchiko
  • feeble little horse – Girl With Fish
  • billy woods & kenny segal – Maps

Sleepyhead/Emi; DJ

  • Lucki – Super Ski
  • Pupil Slicer – The Song at Creations End
  • our eyes go blank tonight – Monster Reserve
  • Lucki
  • Pupil Slicer
  • Dying Wish
  • Lucki –
  • Pupil Slicer – Blossom
  • Dying Wish – Symptoms of Survival

Erik/Erik++; DJ

  • SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE – really happening
  • Läuten der Seele – Molch, Pfütze, Schilf & Stein
  • Yeat – Mysëlf
  • Spirit of the Beehive
  • Playboi Carti
  • Yeat
  • Spirit of the Beehive – I’m so lucky
  • Tara Clerkin Trio – On the turning ground
  • PinkPantheress – capable of love

DJ Hubcap; Board Op, DJ

  • McKinley Dixon – Live! from the Kitchen Table
  • 100 gecs – 757
  • Danny Brown feat. Bruiser Wolf – Y.B.P.
  • Fiona Apple
  • In Love With a Ghost
  • Kero Kero Bonito
  • Screaming Females – Desire Pathway
  • McKinley Dixon – Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?

rensenware; DJ

  • Camellia – Tempo Katana
  • Camellia – Lost Technologie – Data Scraper (Long Version)
  • Hail the Sun – Mind Rider
  • Us, From Outside
  • Camellia
  • Goreshit
  • Goreshit, Lil Kevo 303 – X61
  • Camellia – Ashed Wings
  • Hail the Sun – Divine Inner Tension

Erin/Pink Milk; DJ

  • Aphex Twin – Blackbox Life Recorder 21f
  • Four Tet – Three Drums
  • Sluice – Fourth of July
  • Yo La Tengo
  • The Magnetic Fields
  • Bladee
  • Parannoul – After the Magic
  • Yo La Tengp – This Stupid World
  • Jeff Rosenstock – HELLMODE

Dante/Wizard of Gore; DJ

  • Odz Manouk – The Last Bastion of the Serpent’s Tongue*
  • Demoniac – La caída
  • Afterbirth – Angels Feast on Flies
  • Odz Manouk
  • Savage Oath
  • Infibulated
  • Odz Manouk – Bosoragazan (Բոսորագազան)
  • Demoniac – Nube negra
  • JPEGMAFIA x Danny Brown – Scaring the Hoes

Annabelle / DJ Big Anthony; DJ

  • Wednesday – Chosen to Deserve
  • Colin Miller – Off the Mountain
  • Lil Yachty – drive ME crazy!
  • Fugazi
  • Sunny Day Real Estate
  • Rick James
  • Lil Yachty – Let’s Start Here.
  • Indigo De Souza – All of This Will End

twerp; DJ

  • BeautyWorld – “Beautycore”*
  • desert sand feels warm at night & Mindspring Memories – “Eighty Four, Zero One”
  • greenhouse – “theriocide”*
  • hoverman
  • Pasocom Music Club
  • Windows 96
  • hoverman – “Wasting Man”
  • BeautyWorld – “Beautiful World”
  • greenhouse – “arc,regn”


  • Initiate – Waste Your Life
  • Jeff Rosenstock – HEAD
  • JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown – Run The Jewels
  • Circuit Circuit
  • Corrupt Vision
  • Soulkeeper
  • Initiate – Cereberal Circus
  • Jeff Rosenstock – HELLMODE

Ben; Blog Content Creator; DJ

  • Gonemage – Dream Surfing the Astral Corridors
  • Aesop Rock – Salt and Pepper Squid
  • Washer – Answer to Hell
  • Gonemage
  • Washer
  • Screaming Females
  • Rat Saw God
  • Celestial Invocation
  • Desire Pathway

Ezra Kinsch / Poncho Diego; DJ

  • Mutant Strain – “Words Fall”
  • Sheer Mag – “All Lined Up”
  • Electric Chair – “Fatal Disease Pt. II”
  • Van Halen
  • Dark Thoughts
  • Paint Fumes
  • Paint Fumes – Real Romancer
  • Electric Chair – Act of Agression
  • Mutant Strain – Murder of Crows

MJ; Blog Content Contributor

  • MIKE feat. El Cousteau, Niontay – Mussel Beach
  • King Krule feat. Raveena – Seagirl
  • bar italia – my little tony
  • MIKE
  • bar italia
  • King Krule
  • MIKE – Burning Desire
  • Yves Tumor – Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
  • King Krule – Space Heavy

DJ Mithrax; DJ

  • KNOWER – I’m The President
  • Battle Tapes – One Night In Burbank
  • Red Vox – Almost A Stranger
  • GUM
  • Battle Tapes
  • GUM – Saturnia
  • Kane Parsons – Backrooms (Original Score), Vol. 2
  • Blur – The Ballad of Darren

Sarah/Scrimble; Board Op, DJ

  • 100 gecs – 757
  • Wednesday – Chosen to Deserve
  • Nicki Minaj – Red Ruby Da Sleeze
  • Tegan and Sara
  • Chappell Roan
  • Ice Spice
  • Chappell Roan – The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess
  • 100 gecs – 10,000 gecs
  • Lil Yachty – Let’s Start Here.

Auxymoron; DJ

  • underscores – “Locals (Girls like us) [with gabby start]”
  • Sufjan Stevens – “Sh*t Talk”
  • Spiritbox – “Cellar Door”
  • Jane Remover
  • Parannoul
  • Model/Actriz
  • underscores – “Wallsocket”
  • Dispirited Spirits – “The Redshift Blues”
  • 100 gecs – “10,000 gecs”

Kelly/ dj kellykares; DJ

  • Machine Girl, Special Interest – Concerning Peace
  • Bktherula – TATTI
  • Steve lacy
  • 100 gecs
  • Eartheater
  • Steve Lacy – APOLLO XXI
  • Rico Nasty – Las Ruinas
  • Death Grips – The Money Store

Reid/Rub.E; DJ

  • Full Body 2 – “nokia login”
  • Tanukichan & Enumclaw – “Thin Air”
  • BrokenTeeth – “138”
  • Cocteau Twins
  • All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors
  • Subsonic Eye
  • Full Body 2 – “infinity signature”
  • feeble little horse – “Girl with Fish”
  • Unrecovery – “It’s Agreed, My Willing Test”

Justin/JustinTime; DJ

  • Tyler, The Creator – “What a Day”
  • JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown – “Jack Harlow Combo Meal”
  • Lil Yachty – “drive ME crazy!”
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Elliott Smith
  • Björk
  • JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown – “Scaring The Hoes”
  • Lil Yachty – “Let’s Start Here.”
  • Black Country, New Road – “Live At Bush Hall”

sai <3 / dirty chai; DJ

  • Little Dragon and April + VISTA – Layers
  • Paradis
  • Khruangbin
  • Little Dragon – Slugs of Love

Zen/Zach; DJ

  • The Brook & The Bluff – “Bluebeard”
  • The South Hill Experiment – “Gabo’s Last Resort”
  • redveil – “captain”
  • The Brook & The Bluff
  • boygenius
  • Daft Punk
  • boygenius – The Record
  • Billy Woods – Maps

Ewan/Eweecorn; DJ

  • Maebi – The Lobotomy
  • Rumskib – Troløs blomst
  • boggio and Key After Key – SENSORY OVERLOAD
  • The Shins
  • Spellcasting
  • Jason Falkner
  • The New Pornographers – Continue as a Guest
  • Maebi – Saudade

johnny ghost; DJ

  • DADDY LONG LEGS – “Street Sermon”
  • Low Cut Connie – “WHIPS AND CHAINS”
  • Miranda and the Beat – “Concrete”
  • Warren Zevon
  • Townes Van Zandt
  • Bob Dylan
  • DADDY LONG LEGS – Street Sermons
  • Low Cut Connie – ART DEALERS
  • The Nude Party – Rides On
Miscellaneous Playlists

I Played Baldur’s Gate 3. Here’s What Music I Think the Companions Would Listen to:

I made the choice (a poor one, perhaps) to finally purchase Baldur’s Gate 3 last month. I have a lot of opinions about it.

But since is, at its core, a music-based platform, I will sublimate my obsession interest in the game into something music-related.

While the plot and gameplay of BG3 is all well and good, what I find to be the most important is the blorbofication of the game’s characters.

Photo by Cederic Vandenberghe on Unsplash

For those unfamiliar with Baldur’s Gate 3, the game allows a player’s PC to travel in the company of several companions who seem specially-tailored to be both intensely likeable (excluding Gale) and intensely attractive.

Through gameplay and interaction, the player can learn more about these new friends (or enemies — or lovers — depending on how you swing things) and build plot-relevant relationships.

That’s all well and good, I suppose.

But beyond all the hours of carefully crafted backstory and world-building infused into BG3’s gameplay, I’m interested in imposing upon these characters my own pretentious personal ideas about music.

Nobody asked, but I will deliver.

The Selection

I digress with a brief disclaimer to highlight that this is, primarily, a joke. However, I stand wholeheartedly by all of these claims.

I also will only be covering the “main cast” of companions, so if anyone was expecting to see what kind of music Scratch or Minthara would listen to, they’ll have to decide that for themselves.

My criteria for making these assessments comes from four main factors:

  1. Personality
  2. Style
  3. Canon
  4. My personal opinions

As an English major, I have a lot of practice in the art of character analysis. As a music fan, I have a lot of experience being force-fed other people’s music opinions.

The intersection of these two realms will yield something interesting, if not accurate.


Lae’zel is a Githyanki Fighter with a Soldier background. If you’re not familiar with DND, those words will mean next to nothing to you. That’s fine. All you need to know is that Lae’zel is the modern man’s tsundere.

If I’m being honest, I struggled the most with this one. Lae’zel is characterized as being both strictly no-nonsense and highly repressed, coming from a highly militaristic society.

At the same time, however, her culture has a strong musical and artistic foundation. Githyanki music is defined as highly variable, though consistently centered around metallic, harsh and strident rhythms.

Cover for “20 Jazz Funk Greats” by Throbbing Gristle

From this perspective, I think Lae’zel’s music taste would follow similar lines. I can see her enjoying weird industrial music as well as brassy jazz.

Bands I can think of that fit this kind of idiosyncratic harshness and experimental irregularity include:

  • Xiu Xiu
  • Throbbing Gristle
  • Maynard Ferguson

I also think she’d like insanely hard, vigorous metal. Perhaps jazz-metal fusion, like Agabas.


Also known as “God’s Favorite Princess,” Shadowheart is a half-elf Cleric with an Acolyte background.

I was pleased to find that despite my first impressions of her, Shadowheart has proven to be a well-written female character. I adore her, and if it wasn’t my goal to make all the companions fall in love with me, I would probably romance her.

Cover for “Punisher” by Phoebe Bridgers

All the same though, I don’t think her music taste would be all that spectacular. Though her outward personality projects pragmatism, I think she’d find music as an important emotional outlet. So, obviously, she’d be very into girlcore.

I can see her appreciating female artists, specifically. Such as:

I’m definitely taking this too seriously.


i will preface this by stating that I am not a misandrist.

Gale is a human Wizard with a Sage background. He’s also from Waterdeep, as he’s particularly keen on mentioning.

I don’t dislike Gale, per se, but he definitely gives off an air of instability that reminds me of several uncharismatic and overly-confident men I’ve met in my life. While I’m sure that Gale is far from the “fantasy incel” I like to pretend he is for laughs, I do think he’d listen to The Smiths.

Cover for “In the Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson

As someone who also listens to The Smiths, like recognizes like.

Gale also seems like the kind of person who would give over his heart to enigmatic, long-winded sprawls of progressive rock.

He’d probably smell like patchouli — and another fragrant herb — in real life.


Oh, man. I really do enjoy this mean, fruity little man.

Astarion is a high elf Rogue with a Charlatan background. He’s also a vampire, which despite being extremely obvious, is somehow a surprise to all the other characters.

I consider whether or not someone likes Astarion to be a sort of litmus test. For what exactly, I will not say.

Cover for “Getz/Gilberto” by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto

Maybe it’s trite to think this, but I see Astarion as being an appreciator of classical music and soft, smooth jazz. I like to think he may even appreciate bossa nova.

He’s 200 years old and probably sick to death of the whole music business, prefering instead just to listen to what “feels nice.”

And yes, I’m fully aware that Neil Newborn has his own Astarion playlist, and that it has “Even Flow” on it.


This is my little brother’s favorite character (because warlocks are cool.)

Wyll is a human Warlock (The Fiend) with a Folk Hero background. He has a stone eye with a heart-shaped pupil, which to me signals to the fact that he’s probably the most well-adjusted companion (and character, perhaps) in the game.

Cover for “Badmotorfinger” by Soundgarden

Though he defines himself as a warrior and monster-slayer (the “Blade of Frontiers,” which is a name he apparently gave himself?), he’s inherently kindhearted and subtly dorky.

This, combined with his red-and-black fashion motif, leads me to think of him as a big fan of dad rock. He’s into alternative sounds, but only really familiar with the more topical names.


An unequivocal representation of peak female character design, Karlach is a Tiefling Barbarian with an Outlander background. She’s also got an infernal engine in her chest, which honestly only adds to her abject hotness.

Cover for “away” by Fromjoy

Karlach is a beacon to angsty ADHD girlies everywhere. While I think she’d honestly just enjoy listening to anything upbeat and fun, I also see her as particularly drawn to heavy music a la Doom Slayer. But perhaps with an emo or nu metal twist.

A special mention goes to the track “Hyperviolence” by Omerta.