Welcome to the second installment of Throw-Back Song Fridays! Below is the 90s gem that plays in my head every morning when my alarm goes off.
Please listen to it. It’s amazing.
Listening to 5ive always reminds me of my friend Kate, because my friend Kate, like me, loves really really horrible music. Back in high school, where we met, all of our friends pretty much listened to the same, weird, shit—stuff like Dispatch and Led Zeppelin and uh, Phish. I could stomach some of it, but a fourteen-year-old girl can only take so much noodling before she wants to put on some SheDAISY and lip-synch in front of the mirror. Thank God for Kate. Kate always came through for me. I could go into her bedroom at anytime of the night (we went to boarding school), turn off the lights on her while she was sitting on her bed in a trucker hat eating Fritos and strumming a ukulele, put “Oops!..I Did It Again” in her CD player, and before I knew it, private dance party. (We also did emo quite well; a pair of young women screaming “don’t you know you betta run, run, run, run, RUN!” in the bathroom together has never sounded so beautiful.)
Kate lives in Los Angeles now. She is also the loudest person I know. I bring this up because sometimes I wonder if I could hear her telling a story from LA if I stuck my head out the window and tried hard enough. For real. I used to call her “The Chip” in high school because I thought she had a microphone lodged in her trachea when I first met her. But Kate is much more than just a loud voice—she knows how to work a room, too. She has weird, witch-like movie-star charm. Even if you are the only person in that room with her, and you’re just sitting on a couch watching Don’t Mess with The Zohan and eating Ritz crackers, Kate will work the shit of you. Or at least herself, because she is also one of those people who laughs a lot at her own stories, and not like, a series of a amused little giggles at herself, but full-on belly-laughing at what she’s saying, slap the table, eyes-watering—she never ceases to find herself and her life incredibly amusing. Kate has a million friends and all of them, like me, think we’re DEFINITELY in the top two or three of her inner circle. There are legitimately forty-seven people out there who think this. Parties she throws often end in snap-offs.
After college, before Kate moved West and I moved…to Boston, Kate taught me how to drive. On a rainy December night in 2008, I took my driver’s test in Bruce, her recently departed Ford Focus that was always filled with random things like neon-green pipe cleaners and empty cans of seltzer and mix CDs of country music and trance disco and the odd tennis shoe. (Kate hearts clutter.) During the test, the cop actually had to turn around and yell at her for trying to mouth me the answers to his questions from the backseat. If I hadn’t already mentioned it, Kate is unfailingly loyal. There are very few friends who would give up their time to try to help someone like me learn how to do a three-point-turn in a high school parking lot at the age of twenty-three, but there she was, texting furiously and laughing the whole time, while unironically proclaiming that should have been running her own ad agency at this point. We spent many hours in that high school parking lot that winter, drinking cinnamon lattes and trying to avoid having me kill the track team. At the time, I was very much like “uh, what is HAPPENING in my life, this is like Garden State but not sexy” but of course I now miss it.
So…I miss you Kate, lover of life and music good and bad, who introduced me to this song and the glory of the “Jenny From The Block” station on Pandora, and who has never met a night out you didn’t dominate.
Happy Friday! The end.