Get back on my feet again
Is this real?
Is this pretend?
I'll take a stand until the end
- "Alice" by Avril Lavigne
Like Avril, several artists wrote and performed Alice-inspired tunes for Tim Burton's 2010 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, but let's take a look at songs specifically inspired by the book rather than the movie. In the 1865 children's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, young Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole and discovers a world full of anthropomorphic creatures and magical food that has the power to alter her size. Her journey starts at the end of the rabbit hole, where she comes upon a hallway lined with doors, big and small.
But never open
But they are trapdoors
That you can't come back from
- "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" by Radiohead
Once Alice realizes all the doors are locked, she starts to think she'll be trapped in the hallway forever. Her plight inspired Radiohead's 2001 "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors," but Thom Yorke was more concerned with what was on the other side of the doors.
"I was sort of in that corridor, mentally for six months," the Radiohead frontman explained. "And that was an extremely central part, for me, what I was writing. 'Cos every door I opened, it was like, dreading opening it. 'Cos I didn't know what was gonna happen next."
As for Alice, she spies an idyllic garden beyond one of the doors, only she's too big to fit through the tiny entrance – until she discovers a curious bottle labeled "DRINK ME."
I'll take another drink me, baby
Slowly I'll disappear
- "Drink Me" by Anna Nalick
After some hesitation, Alice guzzles the strange liquid and shrinks down to 10 inches, the perfect size to enter the garden door – only it's locked, and she's much too small to reach the key on a now too-tall table.
Alice does worry about disappearing completely. "For it might end, you know, in my going out altogether, like a candle," she says. But when she devours a tiny cake, with EAT ME spelled out in currants, she grows... and grows... and grows...
Go ask Alice, when she's ten-feet tall
- "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane's psychedelic 1967 hit "White Rabbit" was inspired by Alice's trippy journey through a land filled with mind-altering substances. It's no wonder children grew up to be curious about drugs, says the band's singer, Grace Slick. "They'd read us all these stories where you'd take some kind of chemical and have a great adventure."
"White Rabbit" is populated with characters from Lewis Carroll's story, including a caterpillar who draws wisdom from a pipe.
And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call
After several bouts of growing big and small, a brain-addled Alice comes across a blue, hookah-smoking caterpillar perched atop a magic mushroom. He instructs her to use pieces of the shroom to regulate her height. Her next stop is the Duchess' house nearby, where she meets another fantastical creature: the Cheshire Cat.
Didn't you calm my fears with a Cheshire Cat smile?
- "Wonderland" by Taylor Swift
Alice stumbles upon a chaotic scene in the Duchess' kitchen, where the cook is hurling dishes and causing everyone to sneeze with an overabundance of pepper. When she's put in charge of a baby who turns into a pig, Alice is ready to call it a day. She sees the Cheshire Cat chilling on a tree branch and asks him for guidance. After warning her that everyone in Wonderland is quite mad, he gives her directions to the homes of the March Hare and the Hatter. Then he fades out of sight, leaving only his smile behind.
Taylor Swift alludes to the scene in her 2014 song "Wonderland," where she compares falling in love to tumbling down the rabbit hole and finding Wonderland. Swifties concluded the green-eyed guy with the Cheshire Cat smile is Taylor's ex-boyfriend Harry Styles.
The Mad Hatter he waits for Alice
To come to tea again
– "Sherry Fraser" by Marcy Playground
Alice arrives at the March Hare's house in the middle of a tea party where the Hatter and other Wonderland inhabitants are present. She quickly learns the Cheshire Cat was right – everyone in this fantasy world is a bit loony, including this Hatter who bothers her with nonsense riddles.
The knights are gathered at her side
To watch the game unfold
Careful where you tread
You may lose your head
- "Queen of Hearts" by Saxon
After leaving the tea party in a huff, Alice makes her way to the Queen of Hearts' croquet ground, where anthropomorphic playing cards are setting up a croquet game with flamingos and hedgehogs as implements. Alice witnesses the temperamental queen's ire when she orders beheadings at the slightest inconvenience – which is a sign of things to come. Near the end of the story, the queen falsely accuses Alice of stealing her tarts, and orders, "Off with her head!" Only when she realizes she's dealing with a pack of cards does Alice awake from her stupor, finding herself back in the real world.
Alice's next adventure, Through the Looking-Glass, also inspired several musicians, including John Lennon. He had the book in mind when he wrote the famous Beatles tunes "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" and "I Am The Walrus."
Previous entry: The Catcher In The Rye
May 23, 2020
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