With all due respect to Angie, Amie, Beth, Mustang Sally, Maggie May, Alison and the one with the phone number 867-5309, they aren’t the only girls in the pop song universe. Heck, we could make this list using nothing but songs by Material Issue (“Diane,” “Renee Remains the Same”) and Ben Folds (“Losing Lisa,” “Carrying Cathy,” “Give Judy My Notice,” “Julianne”). However, in the issue of equal time, we’re limiting them both to one song each.
And, just to spice things up a bit, I’m getting the girls themselves involved: if we have a model whose name appears in one of these songs, you can look her up right here. And please, don’t ask me if I have their phone number, or know how to reach them, etc. I don’t. Girls that look like our models don’t talk to me. The only exception to that is my wife, and I only succeeded with her by getting her really, really drunk. That, and foot rubs. Lots and lots of foot rubs.
“Valerie Loves Me,” Material Issue (International Pop Overthrow)
One wonders what guitar pop would sound like right now if Jim Ellison hadn’t made the fateful decision to check out as early as he did. If it meant only one more song like this one, wouldn’t it have been worth it?
BE Girl Next Door: Valerie, April 2003
“Kate,” Ben Folds Five (Whatever and Ever, Amen)
I just love the first line of this song: “She plays ‘Wipeout’ on the drums, the birds and the squirrels come.” Everyone wants a girl that can play “Wipeout” on the drums, don’t they?
BE Girl Next Door: Katie Not a 100% match name-wise, but way too cute to pass up.
“Everybody Loves Jill,” Cowboy Mouth (Easy)
This song is surely written about the Jill that my friend Garrett just married. Not only does she have fiery, spectacularly untamed red hair, she loves the color red to boot, which matches the “She’s got a red house, that goes with her red boat” sing-song lyric to a tee. I’ll never forget Jill’s nieces (ages eight and under) all singing this song to her (first time they’d ever heard it) at her wedding reception.
BE Model: Jill, May 2002
BE GND: Jill, April 2002
“Laura,” Scissor Sisters (Scissor Sisters)
According to iTunes, I’ve played this song 25 times. Multiply that by about 20, and that should cover the times I’ve played it in the car, on the stereo, in the iPod or Discman, or put it on a mix for a friend. If you’re feeling melancholy, there is also the just-as-awesome “Laura” by Billy Joel, from what I consider his best album ever, The Nylon Curtain.
BE Model: Laura, August 2004
“Goodbye Lucille #1,” Prefab Sprout (Two Wheels Good)
Or from the album Steve McQueen, if you’re on the other side of the pond. This is the slow-jamz part of the mix, but there was something about that line “Life’s not complete ‘til your heart’s missed a beat / And you’ll never make it up, or turn back the clock / No, you won’t” that appealed to both the hopeless romantic and eternal pessimist in me.
“Veronica,” Elvis Costello (Spike)
Admit it: even though you know that Betty would never break your heart, you still want Veronica just the same. Come on, do you know any Bettys that look like this?
BE Model: Veronica, May 2006
“Who Killed Tangerine?,” Tears for Fears (Everybody Loves a Happy Ending)
No, I don’t know anyone named Tangerine, either, but since the lyric that follows the title in the song is “prettiest girl I’ve ever seen,” it counts. Besides, I take every chance I get to pimp this awesome, awesome song.
“Calling Sarah,” Jellyfish (Bellybutton)
Yes, I’ve listed three Jellyfish-related songs in the last two weeks. Click on the link below, and I think you’ll cut me a break.
BE Girl Next Door: Sarah, January 2003
“The Jessica Numbers,” New Pornographers (Twin Cinema)
The one moment where the archives dictated the mix disc: I originally pegged “Jackie, Dressed in Cobras,” from the same band and album, for this slot. But we had no Jackies on file. And frankly, I’m surprised we only had three Jessicas. Isn’t everyone in their twenties named Jessica?
BE Model: Jessica, September 2006
BE GND: Jessica, August 2002
BE Model: Jessica, September 2001
“Kelly Watch the Stars,” Air (Moon Safari)
If you’re feeling really adventurous, look for the mix of this that Moog Cookbook – aw, damn it, yet another Jellyfish reference – did of it for the soundtrack to the little-seen movie “Splendor.” Groovy, baby.
“Fly High Michelle,” Enuff Z’Nuff (Enuff Z’Nuff)
They hit the scene at the peak of hair metal, and they had absolutely nothing to do with the other bands on the scene…aside from the hair, that is. Upon hearing this ballad, I thought, “Man, if only Cheap Trick had done this instead of “The Flame.” We have more Michelles in the archives than we can count, but here are my two faves.
BE Model: Michelle, March 2006
BE Model: Michelle, March 2005
“Celestine,” Kirsty MacColl (Tropical Brainstorm)
This song should be the theme for Ali Larter’s character on “Heroes,” the dual-personality Niki. “Oh yes, she’s hot, she’s hot, she’s hot / She’s just a wild and wicked slut / And she lives inside my head, and stops me sleeping.” Yes, yes, and yes.
“Summer Moved On,” A-ha (Minor Earth, Major Sky)
My heartfelt apologies to “She Sheila,” the Producers song that originally held this slot. I originally planned on this piece consisting of more traditional names, but I’d already broken that with “Who Killed Tangerine?” And besides, this way I get to plug both a tragically overlooked A-ha song from 2000 and a girl who actually deserves the name Summer. Does anyone watch “The O.C.” anymore?
BE GND: Summer, June 2004
“Susan,” Aimee Mann (Bachelor No. 2)
After writing a slew of songs with boy’s names in them – “David Denies,” “Long Gone (Buddy),” “’J’ for Jules” – Mann penned “Susan,” with a melody so bouncy that you’d hardly notice its remorseful undercurrent. If this one doesn’t do it for you, try her song “Goodbye Caroline,” from the great The Forgotten Arm.
BE GND: Suzi, August 2005
BE GND: Susie, February 2002
“For Nancy,” Pete Yorn (musicforthemorningafter)
‘cause it alllllready iiiiiiiiiiis…..
Bonus track: “Darling Nikki,” Prince and the Revolution (Purple Rain)
I’m only including this because we have a gaggle of Nikkis in our library. Check-ch-check-check-check, check them out.
BE GND: Nikki, March 2006
BE Model: Nikki, January 2006
BE GND: Nikki, September 2005
BE GND: Nikki, June 2005