Thursday, June 11, 2009

Songs for Those Dreamy Girls (...We Wish We Were)

There are girls who listen to music and record tapes for themselves and each other that are filled with songs by guys who feel deeply enough to whip out a guitar. These are rarely (but most often not) the kind of girls who receive similar tapes from real life guys who adore them. There are plenty of both kinds of girl in the world—the kind who spend Valentine’s Day with friends and Bon Jovi vs. the kind who receive single roses and dinner offers. Few and far between, however, are those unicorn ladies who inspire a song. It’s easy to picture the Rosannas and Sharonas and Peggy Sues all wearing very red lipstick and giggling together behind the velvet rope of utter desirability. For the rest of us, though, sometimes it’s enough just to have a guy crooning in second-person in your headphones.

Songs for Those Dreamy Girls (…We Wish We Were)
(Complete mixtape available on

1. Simon & Garfunkel – Kathy’s Song
Kathy says: I’m not usually one for an acoustic love song. This one only caught my attention when raiding my mom’s record collection when I was twelve because it had my name in the title, but this one’s sad and pining enough melt even my frigid heart. “There but for the grace of you go I,” really gets me—there’s something about a girl who’s love is redemptive (as opposed to just enjoyable) that’s a kick in the pants to us merely mortal ladies.

2. Rivers Cuomo – I Don’t Want to Let You Go
Kai says: Rivers just gets it. This is the sweetest song about getting a girl ever, and I want that girl to be me.

3. Echo and The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar
Kai says: I have lips like cherry Lip Smackers. Sugar would be better.

4. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
Kathy says: If I’m gonna pick songs that I wish had been written about me, I’m gonna go big. Yes, I’ll say it: I want to be someone's Wendy. It took me a while to decide between this song and “She’s the One,” but when I really thought about the lyrics this one’s the obvious winner. “She’s the One” is all about a pretty lady and French kissing and how wonderful she looks. But Wendy? She’s so cool that The Boss’s scrappy dream of Making It involves her. That’s love.

5. The Smithereens – Behind the Wall of Sleep
Kai says: This girl is tall, cool, pretty and she plays the bass in a band. This guy just lays in bed dreaming about her, which sounds pretty much perfect.

6. The Troggs – Wild Thing
Kathy says: There are about five lines to this song and the girl doesn’t even get a name beyond “Wild Thing,” and, thinking about it, who’s to say that’s even a girl? It could be a motorcycle or a horse or something. Whatever. My point here is that when I hear this song, I picture a very particular girl with big hair and a walk killer enough to inspire that skanky guitar. Dear Jesus, let me grow up and be that girl.

7. The Beastie Boys – She’s Crafty
Kai says: Okay, so, she’s a little loose and a thief…but she’s crafty and she’s just his type!

8. The Damned – Love Song
Kathy says: Another quasi-jokey choice from a bunch of morons. I realize a lot of ladies would probably want to steer far clear of Rat Scabies and crew, but if I was the subject of their theoretical metaphors I’d be so charmed I’d be rendered immobile.

9. Art Brut – Emily Kane
Kathy says: This one walks the fine line between sweet tribute and uncomfortable obsession, but I like my guys a little nuts. Who wouldn’t want to be the girl who was so cool when she was fifteen that someone still holds her up as the gold standard of female kind? When I was fifteen I was fat, wore men’s carpenter jeans and had not yet discovered the allure of plucking my eyebrows. Hats off to you, Ms. Kane.

10. Paul Westerberg – Stain Yer Blood
Kathy says: My favorite song about a girl because Paul Westerberg is kind of my favorite guy. This one hits close to home because of how real it is: she’s hanging around, he knows she wants him, he’s all let’s do this thing tonight, whatever, no big deal, people are gonna talk about it, fuck them. But then! Transcendent musical magic that differentiates the pop muse from my average self: “Is it love?”

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