Instead of actually reading the four short stories I need to read for class on Thursday, I decided it would be a good idea to add to the AV Club’s 26 Songs That are Just as Good as Short Stories that the Largehearted Boy pointed out today.
Before I begin I just want to say that I am not including Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers (even though I fucking love that song), because they already wrote about it.
Skyway, The Replacements
The object of the singer’s affection takes the skyway, which is nothing at all like a subway. He pines for her from afar. The singer sits bundled up on the street below in a hat and gloves, waiting for a ride. Then one day he finally gets the courage to approach her in the skyway, only to find her walking down the little one way where he usually catches her ride. It’s an ending that O. Henry would have loved.
Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
If I were workshopping the short story that is Chapman’s “Fast Car” I might call shenannigans on the car metaphor, it’s a bit overwrought . This is a story about a girl who quits school to take care of her drunk dad, meets a cutie with a fast car, and hopes they could get in that fast car to drive far away from all her problems. Only thing is that she marries a man just like her father who drinks and never sees his kids, and yet she still pines for the fast car, the fast car to take him far away from them.
So this chump finds his wife/lover’s diary underneath a tree and he starts to read it. He’s surprised by what he sees in the diary, because she’s writing about finding the great love of her life. Chump’s surprised because she doesn’t show that to him. So what does Chump do? He confronts her about that what he read. She blows him off, because obviously she’s pissed as hell that Chump read the diary. Chump’s all stoked because the diarist loves him. So then a few days later he finds the diary again, and reads it again, only this time Chump’s quite surprised to learn that the diarist isn’t writing about him at all. In fact, she’s found some other dude that is the love of her life and will probably not read her diary.
Young Turks, Rod Stewart
First I have to say that this was one of my first ever favorite songs. I love the Rod. So here’s the story Billy and Patty decide to run away because they need to take their one shot at life while they’re still not afraid, because somewhere it’s gotta get better than this. Carpe Diem and all that. So Billy and Patty run off to the city where Billy pierces his ear and drives a pick-up like a New York tank. The dynamic duo get a two room apartment that jumps every night of the week. But then is it all good times and crazy sex? Maybe but the next thing we know Patty’s giving birth to a 10 pound baby boy and you know for sure that Billy dumps her from some slimjim with shaking hips and Patty’s stuck raising the kid on her own.
All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You, Heart
So it was a rainy night when this floozy with a ticking biological clock goes out for a drive and she spies some poor sucker walking in the rain. The sucker’s kinda cute so they drive around for a bit, only to end up at the Bates Motel where they “make love.” Apparently lonely hitchhiker’s a good lay, because he brings out the woman in floozy so many times, so easily. But Floozy’s gotta jet, she leaves her hitchhiking-lover a note telling him that the sex was great, but dude she’s gotta go. Then some months later, Floozy’s carting around her kid and she runs into lonely hitchhiker and dude recognizes his own eyes on that baby. Scandalous. Turns out Floozy’s hubby’s equipment wasn’t in full working order, she was a garden and lonely hitchhiker planted a seed. What’s the moral of this story? When picking up strangers to impregnate you, it’s probably a good idea to go to some other town so you don’t bump into the sucker.
Brandy, Looking Glass
Brandy’s a fine girl who works as a waitress and is often seen wearing a braided chain made of the finest silver from the North of Spain. Sailors love Brandy and think that she would make a very find wife. They even claim her eyes could steal a sailor from the sea. However, those eyes could not work their magic on the one sailor Brandy wanted. So instead she serves the whiskey and wine and walks home alone loving a man who is not around because his life, his love, and his lady is the sea.
Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis, Tom Waits
So the Hooker appears to be writing a friendly Christmas card to Charlie. She tells him how she’s pregnant and got a place on Euclid avenue, and her old man plays the trombone. Things are peachy keen. The trombone player’s gonna marry her even though the kids not his, in fact he gave her a ring that was her mother. Hooker tells Charlie how she thinks of him every time she drives past a gas station because of all the grease that Charlie used to wear in his hear. In fact Hooker reassures Charlie that she’s happy, probably for the first time since the accident. However, she wishes that she had that money they used to spend on dope so that she could buy a used car lot. Only it turns out Hooker’s lying and there is no ring or baby or trombone player. Turns out she just wants Charlie to send her some money so she can pay for a lawyer. Damn Hookers.
Traveling Soldier, Dixie Chicks
There’s a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair who works at a diner and one day she smiles to this guy who comes in and orders a Coke. Seems the guy’s about to head off to Vietnam and even if she has a boyfriend, he don’t care because he just wants someone to send a letter to, he’s got nobody. Pretty girl is thrilled even though everyone tells her she’s much too young to be waiting on the love of a traveling solider. But the letters, they keep coming and he tells her everything. But then he writes and tells her things are getting kind of rough so he might not be able to write for awhile. The next thing we know it’s a Friday night football game and the announcer’s reading the names of the deceased and there’s one name read that nobody cares about except for the piccolo player for the marching band who is crying all alone under the stands.
Sk8r Boy, Avril Lavigne
He was a boy, she was a girl. He was a punk, she did ballet. Turns out she was a snotty bitch. Because even though the ballerina totally wanted the skater boy she dissed him because her friends didn’t like him. Five years later he’s rocking out on MTV and she’s got a kid and has to find out from her friends that they’re all going to the concert only they forgot to tell her. Ballerina tags along and skater boy’s new girlfriend is all “tough luck bitch he’s mine now.”
Darling Nikki, Prince
You could say Nikki was a sex fiend, what with the masturbating to the magazine and all the devices that money could buy. And is often the way with girls like that and boys, well, the boys fall for it. Stupid boys. Because the next thing you’re at Nikki’s castle and she’s grinding and whatnot, but when you wake up the next morning Nikki’s gone. She leaves a phone number (which is probably fake) and tells you to call the next time you want to ‘grind.’ Yeah.
All the Rock Star Jobs are Taken, Dylan Hicks
The rockstar-wannabe’s written the same song 100 times and it took him to 1998 to get it to rhyme. So then he decides to get an art degree, but mostly just watches TV and gives his student loan checks to prostitutes. He walks around Loring Park wanting to be Leonard Cohen and not some third rate Billy Joel. Eventually he learns that all the rockstar jobs are taken, and though he’s only playing bass in a wedding band he’s kind of happy because he can sleep at night and nothing rings in his head when he kisses his sweetie goodnight. Of course everything’s better when you have a sweetie, duh.