V and I walk into a largely deserted Keste, formerly Sottocasa. Its discreet location perhaps makes it more underrated than the Bleecker one. “Down” by Marian Hill sounds particularly loud in the empty space–its acoustics allowed to fully thrive. V has already taken two cigarette breaks as Future featuring Rihanna’s “Selfish” comes on. It’s sort of the anthem/word of the past decade and will presumably only continue to be for the next and the next and the next. “Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly featuring Camila Cabello follows as V remarks on the sudden surfeit of Italians–overt ones–that have now infiltrated the once marvelously vuoto establishment. Isn’t Camila Cabello that bia from Fifth Harmony?, I wonder as I watch the Montepulciano in my glass start to disappear. They were out of the cheaper Sangiovese. Train–a band that signifies Sacramento to me–plays next. Some usual tripe called “Play That Song.” No, please don’t. Why can’t early 00s bands of this nature remain dead? V comes back smelling of smoke and gets on Tinder. I will never get Tinder and I will always be alone.
This song feels truly interminable and I breathe a sigh of relief when it transitions to “In the Name of Love” by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexa–which should give you a strong indication of how much I hate Train. V and I talk about the absurdity of the recent and abrupt weather changes while Sia featuring Kendrick Lamar’s “The Greatest” punctuates the latter’s love of collaborating with white women. One day it’s spring, the next it’s snowing. Is this all part of the post-apocalyptic feel of now? Germane to my inner topic about Kendrick loving to sing with le ragazze bianche, Taylor Swift featuring ZAYN’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” (I really don’t) succeeds “The Greatest.” I’m disappointed in ZAYN for going from working with M.I.A. to Swift/a Fifty Shades of Gray soundtrack. The soundtrack motif persists with that shitastic “Can’t Stop the Feeling” song, which I maintain is a pro-rape anthem directed at women who just can’t stop their true feelings of wanting to get banged by a gross guy. When the gluten-free (V has allergies) pistachio pizza arrives, “Rockabye” by Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie. I think it’s another one of those millennial-tailored tracks (like “Selfish”) catered toward lulling adult babies to the dance floor.
The entire time I’m eating the pizza, a sense of anticipation pervades me. I’ve told V that I have to meet some people here about a “unique business opportunity.” Skin care is involved. When they arrive, she sort of cordons herself off, and I feel bad, but mostly just for myself. I can only notice portions of the playlist over the course of the next hour and a half but I know it’s Rihanna-heavy, with “Love on the Brain” and “Work” interrupting my focus from hearing about all the money I can make if I invest. I suddenly feel like Ariana Grande when “Side to Side” comes on and she comments, “I been here all night.” I think I’ve had about three glasses of Montepulciano at this point. After the two women have departed, each in the car that the company paid for because of their high sales, I return to sitting next to V, who is communing with a gentleman. The restaurant is about to close and I don’t want it to. I don’t want to go home most nights. It’s like a mental hurdle I can’t surmount. But when Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” closes out the setlist, I suddenly feel it would be better to be in the silence of my room.
Semi Complete Playlist
Future feat. Rihanna-“Selfish”
Machine Gun Kelly featuring Camila Cabello-“Bad Things”
Train-“Play That Song”
“In the Name of Love”-Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexa
Sia feat. Kendrick Lamar-“The Greatest”
Taylor Swift feat. ZAYN-“I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”
Justing Timberlake-“Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul and Anne-Marie
Rihanna-“Love on the Brain”
Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj-“Side to Side”
Rihanna featuring Drake-“Work”
Alessia Cara-“Scars to Your Beautiful”