On Sunday night (Apr. 7), AMC’s “Mad Men” kicks off its long-awaited sixth season, which will feature… who knows? Show creator Matthew Weiner is notorious for shrouding his hit drama in secrecy, so we can only speculate about the new season — and, of course, create a custom character playlist in the meantime!
Want to know what personal anthems Don, Peggy, Roger and the other main characters would choose to reflect their ever-evolving personalities? Check out Billboard.com’s “Mad Men” character playlist, which revisits our favorite 60s ladies and gentlemen in the form of pop music.
Don Draper — Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z, “Suit & Tie”
Consider the number of similarities between “Mad Men’s” protagonist “The 20/20 Experience” auteur Justin Timberlake. Both have pasts that they don’t like to talk about (for Don Draper, it’s his battlefield time as Dick Whitman, while JT avoids discussions about *N Sync); both are staggeringly dapper and well-dressed; both have past romantic ties to beautiful women; and both have recently, blissfully settled down with new wives. For now, Don is still strutting around, looking sharp and leaving it all on the floor tonight. He is, in fact, on his suit and tie s–t.
Peggy Olson — Destiny’s Child, “Independent Woman (Part I)”
Peggy has morphed into a level-headed, self-sufficient protagonist over the course of the series, set during a time period in which women’s rights are laughed off. Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle understand why Peggy left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce last season, as should you.
Pete Campbell — Junior Boys, “Teach Me How To Fight”
Anyone who watched Pete get beat up on two separate occasions last season understands why this should be his anthem. C’mon Pete! Defend your weaselly honor!
Betty Francis — Britney Spears, “Lucky”
From an outsider’s perspective, Don’s ex-wife has been so lucky — she’s a star, sure, with her newly svelte appearance, luxurious home and caring current husband. But she can’t help but cry, cry, cry in her lonely heart. Why DO these tears come at night, Betty?
Joan Holloway — Gucci Mane, “Makin’ Love To The Money”
Joan’s diehard dedication to her work effectively ended her marriage, and a explicit opportunity turned her into a partner at the agency. Gucci Mane’s boisterous cut would be deeply felt by the former Mrs. Harris, if it had been made in the 1960’s.
Roger Sterling — Olly Murs feat. Flo Rida, “Troublemaker”
The breezy pop hit demonstrates exactly how the LSD-tripping partner engages with life: creating havoc (and out-of-wedlock babies!) one day at a time.
Lane Pryce — Phillip Phillips, “Gone Gone Gone”
Sadly, Mr. Pryce didn’t survive long enough to witness the 11th season of “American Idol,” and the ascendancy of Mr. Phillips. Rest easy, old chap.
Bert Cooper — The Vapors, “Turning Japanese”
The wiliest member of the agency (sorry, Roger) is also obsessed with Japanese culture, from the artwork to the anti-shoes policy — hence, the Vapors’ classic, a fine addition to any playlist.
Megan Draper — P!nk, “Funhouse”
Although last season began with Don and Megan in wedded bliss, the cracks in their marriage slowly began to reveal themselves, and the cliff-hanger of the season finale suggested that Don is back to his adulterous ways. The couple used to live in a figurative funhouse… but now, it’s just a countdown to disaster.
Sally Draper — Blink-182, “Dammit (Growing Up)”
Once innocent and unaware, Sally has quickly begun to experience the growing pains of teenager-dom. And to think: she doesn’t even have pop-punk music to ease the transition!