Playlist: Fake Girls To Crush On

When I was a kid I had kind of a big crush on Jane from “Jane Says”.  I also had a thing for the hypothetical weird vixen in “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” Both songs played on the alt-rock station my dad liked, and I’d be in the backseat making genuine plans to bring Jane my leftover lunch money, or grinning like a tiny gay maniac imagining what “eyes that burn like cigarettes” could possibly look like. As I grew up I started comandeering the CD player, but I still had a thing for songs built around crushworthy character sketches — something about the combined specificity and anonymity. Gloria might lean on parking meters near my office. Valerie could be hashing out her legal problems at the police station down the street. And if anyone knows where Darling Nikki is, why aren’t you there too? Call a cab or something. Enjoy, crushmonsters.

*Note: if guys originally wrote the songs I tried to find girls covering them, for very obvious reasons.


Fake Girls To Crush On


Gloria: In Excelsis Deo – Patti Smith
Mystery Girl – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Sukie In The Graveyard – Belle & Sebastian
Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake
Karen By Night (LP Version) – Jill Sobule
She Belongs to Me – Ólöf Arnalds (Bob Dylan cover)
Queen Bitch (1999 Digital Remaster) – David Bowie
Chloe In The Afternoon – St. Vincent
Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
Charmaine Champagne – The Fiery Furnaces
Suzanne – Nina Simone (Leonard Cohen cover)
Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
Valerie – Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson (The Zutons cover)
Darling Nikki – Chairlift (Prince cover)
Jane Says – Hot Bitch Arsenal (Jane’s Addiction cover)
When I Knew – Eleanor Friedberger

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Crystal up on Formspring and someone from the team will make it for you, if you’re lucky.

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Cara is a former contributing editor for Autostraddle and a current staff writer at Atlas Obscura. She lives in Somerville with her girlfriend, their roommate, and a cat who can flush the toilet, and is generally thinking about gender, sustainable biodiversity, and/or rock & roll music. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

Cara has written 113 articles for us.


  1. My first song-based crush was Alice from “All the Young Girls Love Alice” by Elton John. Before I had any idea what “Getting your kicks in another girl’s bed” meant, I thought Alice must be pretty awesome — especially if Elton John had written a song about her!

  2. Did anyone else have sort of a thing for “Dolly Dagger,” from the Jimi Hendrix song?

  3. I totally had a thing for “Kate” (Ben Folds Five). Also “L. Wells” (Franz Ferdinand).

  4. I always had a serious thing for Stephanie from “Stephanie Says” by the Velvet Underground. I think I called myself Alaska for a while.

  5. My 13 year old self was in love with the girl described in Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin La Vida Loca.’ ¨Her lips are devil red and her skin’s the color of mocha… Once you’ve had a taste of her you’ll never be the same!¨

  6. Really disappointed that you left off the girl from “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”

  7. As always there’s a load I’m trying to think of but it’s just not coming to me, however, Alex Turner – Stuck on the Puzzle from the Submarine soundtrack, just sums up many a major crush. Whoever that girl with no name is…she should be mine!

  8. really really really embarrassing but i was in love with “the girl on tv” from the lfo song. i think it’s because she was jennifer love hewitt in the music video and i was totally obsessed with her for most of the 90s? i dunno.

    “so i wish for you on a bright shining star / every where i look there you are, there you are / it’s the girl in the green dress / she took my breath away / and now i look to the sky for a better day / to the beach shore and scooby snacks / i met a fly girl and i can’t relax / never had to be on a movie screen / cause she’s the leading lady in all my dreams…”

  9. I was so in to the idea of the girl in the “short skirt/long jacket” song too! The lyrics are so evocative. I thought I wanted to be that sort of girl, but I think part of me wanted to be with her as well.

  10. why does my life have to always follow this pattern?

    Girl called Harmony (Chiasm cover of Attrition)

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