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Love Letter To A Record: Five Island Drive’s Frankie Jean On Sisqó’s ‘Thong Song’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Frankie Jean, Five Island Drive – Sisqó, Thong Song (1999)

Ooh. That white unbuttoned sleeveless jacket. That white hair. That white one-finger glove. So scandalous.

I’m only a kid. I’m not even a teenager yet. I have absolutely no concept of sexy. I just like to throw sticks for our golden retriever, Kosta, in the backyard and play handball at school. I also like to sit and write notepad upon notepad of wrestling shows and pay-per-views with fully fleshed out storylines, feuds and betrayals. But what the hell was that?!

Well…

This thing right here.

Is letting Sisqó know.

That this was my sexual awakening.

You know, if you’re reading this.

Check it out.

It’s Sunday morning. Everyone is out of the house at the shops. I hate mornings; I’ve had insomnia since I can remember and most mornings consist of me struggling to keep my eyes open as they adjust to the daylight, which is especially harsh in the living room at the end of summer. I switch on the TV and change it to Channel 10 like any sane kid. Backstreet Boys is followed up by Britney Spears, Savage Garden and ‘Take a Picture’ by Filter (who’s singer is the son of Robert Patrick, the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day – fun fact!). But I’m unprepared for what’s coming next.

A stream of women in bikinis floods my screen. Sure, I appreciate that. But that’s not it. That’s not what grabs my attention. A beautiful man with white hair and an audacious all-white outfit and chain confidently dances and sings at the camera, before flying down the freeway in a car – the camera zooming to his face in a way only a 2000’s video clip would.

I’m transfixed. My eyes are suddenly no longer heavy; they’re wide open. And that first verse. That pre-chorus. That chorus. That “yeah” in the climactic bridge. It’s nestled into my brain with a grip so tight it may as well have been a Yeerk from Animorphs. There are things happening to my body that I’ve only just recently begun discovering as I watch Sisqó move his hips whilst unapologetically borrowing a line from Ricky Martin.

I panic. A car pulls up in the driveway and I rush to the bathroom before the front door can open and uncover my embarrassment.

And, somehow, it would be many years later before I admit that I’m not straight.

And, somehow, Sisqó has barely aged a day.

I still think about you. Maybe more than is healthy. I still think about that Sunday morning, alone, discovering more about myself in those 4 and a half minutes than I would discover for years to come.

I still think about that Thong, Th-Thong, Thong Song.

Five Island Drive are a Sydney-based heavy-wave group who’ve just revealed their enthralling debut single ‘The Record’ – produced by the band themselves – and its accompanying video, directed by Elder and band member Kim Quint.

‘The Record’, the first single from their upcoming EP, is a lethal introduction to the trio’s diverse capabilities, combining layers of ominous synths and thunderous guitars with vocals that fuse hip-hop, rock, hardcore and electronic music as the concept of allyship is explored by nonbinary lyricist Frankie Jean, who advocates passionately for LGBTQIA+ representation and support as they themselves stand on the precipice of their own gender-affirming journey into transitioning.

“‘The Record’ was written during the apex of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 and centres around the concept of allyship vs performative allyship, with help from some of Frankie’s friends and family who were able to give their own context as black leaders in their respective communities,” the band explains.

“Whilst this was the initial spark behind the lyrical meaning of the song, it can be attributed to allyship in any space whatsoever – a theme that is as crucial as ever to our world right now.”

Check it out below.

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