1) Material Issue, "Kim The Waitress" (available on Freak City Soundtrack)
Unrequited love and the service industry collide in this Green Pajamas cover from the overlooked third album of the late, great Material Issue. Sunday-morning fantasies about a favorite waitress get turned into poetry, and then she disappears. Is she off to another job? Or grad school far away? The song doesn't have the answers, but chances are, the coffee will never taste quite as good.
2) Rilo Kiley, "A Man / Me / Then Jim" (available on More Adventurous)
It's unclear whether Jenny Lewis is singing about a man named Jim, or from the perspective of a man named Jim. And as the song opens, a man named Jim seems to have met a bad end, having "hung himself with string." Whoever's doing the talking, everyone's choking by degrees in this disarmingly raw, quietly pretty song from Rilo Kiley's third album. They're done in by the "slow fade of love," which, by the song's reckoning, eventually claims men named Jim and everyone else.
3) The Dandy Warhols, "Cool As Kim Deal" (available on The Dandy Warhols Come Down)
A jaunty organ accompanies singer Courtney Taylor as he wishes for a girl as cool as Kim Deal. He's probably still looking. Back in the day, Deal thrilled audiences by somehow singing, playing bass, smoking a cigarette, and taking the occasional swig from a beer. Even when she's mellowed-out and basking in the bonhomie of the Pixies reunion, few people project her effortless cool. Taylor, for one, doesn't even come close.
4) The Flaming Lips, "Kim's Watermelon Gun" (available on Clouds Taste Metallic)
Kim has a watermelon gun that somehow is "the answer." Celebrities want it but–guess what?–she's not going to let them have it until they know how to love. Oh, Kim, maybe if you gave them the watermelon gun, they'd learn how to love? The world may never know…
5) The White Stripes, "Jimmy The Exploder" (available on The White Stripes)
Taken literally, it's a song about a monkey named Jimmy who jumps on beds and may or may not want an explosion. Taken metaphorically… aww, who cares? Songs about monkeys named Jimmy don't need subtext.