In an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit, Bret Easton Ellis explained why he referenced the music and artists he did in “American Psycho”:
“In a lot of ways Patrick’s rants are about wanting to fit into a society that he doesn’t believe in. That’s where I was, too. At the time. So a lot of the rants came from my frustration as well. Not a lot of research into that. I didn’t like any of the music Patrick liked but it was popular at the time and it seemed to reflect a certain kind of mass taste that [Patrick Bateman] wanted to be a part of.”
Speaking with Little White Lies, Mary Harron said she felt the book’s music choices were perfect. After all, they weren’t just fitting satirical picks, their upbeat rhythms would (and did) create hilarious audio/video contrasts. So, Harron decided that she couldn’t change the music in the film, no matter the cost:
“It was really hard to get the rights for the music because we couldn’t find anything that worked as well as the music mentioned in the book. It had to be glossy, mainstream pop. The more happy the music was, the better it worked […] It had to be American and it had to be upbeat.”
That meant Huey Lewis and the News, Genesis, and Whitney Houston were must-haves for the soundtrack. The film also threw in “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina And The Waves, the ultimate sunny ’80s song. There’s a nod to Michael Jackson too when Bateman moonwalks (poorly) before killing Paul Allen (Jared Leto). As Harron said, that last touch was Bale’s suggestion.