I’ve been thinking about the song references in the song "Plus Ones" by Okkervil River.
In case you’ve been wondering too, here are the lyrics with referenced songs footnoted and linked.
No one wants to hear about your 97th tear (1), so dry your eyes or let it go uncried, my dear. I am all out of love to mouth into your ear, and not above letting a love song disappear before it’s written. And no one wants a tune about the 100th luftballoon (2) that was seen shooting from the window of your room, to be a spot against the sky’s colossal gloom and land, deflated, in some neighbor state that’s strewn with 99 others.
8 Chinese brothers (3); well, there’s a reason why the last is smiling wide and sitting higher than the others, swinging his arms.
You would probably die before you shot up 9 miles high (4), your eyes dilated as light plays upon the sight of TVC16 (5) as it sings you goodnight. Relaxed as hell and locked up in cell 45 (6), I hope you’re feeling better. The 51st way to leave your lover (7), admittedly, doesn’t seem to be as gentle or as clean as all the others, leaving its scars.
All in the after hours of some Greenpoint bar, I told you that I can’t listen, baby, about the 4th time you were a lady (8), and how your forthrightness betrayed a secret shyness, stripped away by days of being hailed as "Your Highness." And what’s new, pussycat, (8.5) is that you were once a lioness; they cut your claws out. Kitten, not everyone’s keen on lighting candle 17 (9). The party’s done. The cake’s all gone. The plates are clean. The chauffeur’s leering from the cheerless mezzanine. And, in just 1 year, the straight world can pay to see what they’ve been missing.
You were caught kissing 8 Chinese brothers, but there’s a reason why the last is smiling wide and sitting higher than the others, stinking with charm. And he says, "Let’s get lost. Let them send out alarms." (10) He says, "Let’s get crossed out and come to harm. Let’s make the world’s stupidest stand and truly mean it. Let’s hit the limit of laws over lovers’ arms – no, let’s exceed it."
5 "TVC15," David Bowie, single (1976); a song possibly about Iggy Pop hallucinating, or possibly not.
6 "Care of Cell 44," The Zombies, Odyssey and Oracle (1968). (I had to look this one up; had no idea what it might be. But it turns out that Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs covered this song, and maybe also Elliot Smith? Seems as much like an Elliot Smith song as anything I’ve heard.)
Those are the number song references. Are there others? Let me know in the comments.
UPDATES: Two so far, "What’s new Pussycat?" and "Let’s Get Lost." Songs by two of my favorite musicians, too.