Last week, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of “Sussudio,” Phil Collins’ breakout single and a personal favorite of American Psycho ‘s Patrick Bateman. Throughout the film, Bateman waxes poetic about his favorite musicians. Most famously, he sings the praises of Huey Lewis and the News before taking an axe to Jared Leto’s Paul Allen.
Bateman’s taste is reflective of the corporate ‘80s. He didn’t like Huey Lewis and the News when they were “a little too new wave,” but their next album, with “a clear, crisp sound and a new sheen of consummate professionalism,” was just for him. Later, he professes his love for Genesis’ sincere lyrics, like on “‘In Too Deep,’” the most moving pop song of the 1980s…about monogamy and commitment.” Finally, he is astounded by the success of Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut, which had four No. 1 singles. His favorite of the four is “The Greatest Love of All,” a song about “self-preservation, dignity.”
Bateman’s taste was perfect for his time. But what would he listen to today?
Haim sound like they were engineered in a lab for critical acclaim and commercial appeal. Their sound is clean, minimal, and surging with those synths Bateman loves. Their voices are pure. Their lyrics, especially on “Falling” (“Never look back and never give up”), are uplifting without feeling too cheesy. Haim would make Bateman feel both smart and successful.
Jack Ü with Justin Bieber: “Where Are Ü Now”
On their own, Bateman would hate Skrillex and Diplo’s more experimental (or trendy) tendencies. Even other tracks on the duo’s collaborative LP, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü would be too over-the-top for Bateman. But the hit single with the cherubic Justin Bieber blends each DJ’s unique traits to arrive at something catchy and heartwarming.
Tame Impala: “Let It Happen”
Bateman probably would’ve hated the psych guitar rock of Tame Impala’s first two albums. He’d despise Kevin Parker’s Lennon-esque hippie-isms. But on Currents, Parker achieves something a bit crisper and more straightforward. That transition alone, as well as Tame’s rise to festival-headlining fame and an Interscope deal, would have Bateman sold. “Let It Happen” would inspire him to not worry so much and let life take its course – before axe-murdering someone.
Nicki Minaj with Beyoncé: “Feeling Myself”
Seemingly out of left field, Bateman loves the power that Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé have on their own and is totally floored by the superpower combo. With an infectious, repetitive beat, Bateman can’t help but spin “Feeling Myself” on repeat.
Kanye West: ‘Yeezus’
To promote Yeezus, Kanye West shot a video with Scott Disick filling in for Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman and Jonathan Cheban taking Jared Leto’s place as Paul Allen. Disick’s Bateman loves Yeezus and so would Bale’s. Yeezus is, by far, West’s boldest move, innovating in ways many listeners hadn’t expected with noise and deep electronic influences. Yeezus is beautiful but harsh and abrasive, yet it still sold extremely well. Bateman would appreciate West’s ability to bring the masses to him, not chasing after appreciation.