The Top 17’s

Recently I put together a list of songs for a young millennial in my office.  Once I got into making the list, it became apparent that I couldn’t make one list.  So I made three.  Broken down chronologically by era.  I decided on the parameters of each era unilaterally.  The title of each will likely give away those parameters.  They represent three lists of songs that I thought millennials needed to hear.  To really help them learn to rock and maybe be a little less…well a little less of all the stuff about millennials that irritates the world.

genxcoolnessAlso, these songs are awesome in their own right.  If you’re a Gen Xer and you haven’t heard any of these songs…well that is just really, really depressing.  Heartbreaking really.  You’ll also notice that none of the songs represent the grunge genre.  To which Gen X, in my opinion, should profusely apologize.  My lists are really just classic rock, which I recently read spans the time period from roughly 1967 with the release of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band to the ironically named Nirvana’s release of the joyless Nevermind which laid waste to classic rock in 1992.  And, in the process, destroyed the ability of anyone listening to popular music in the 90’s to be happy.  And that’s not just this 80’s kid who loves 80’s music – especially hair metal – saying that.  It’s science.  Or I guess musical facts.  Happy songs – like most of hair metal – have a fast tempo and are busting with major chords.  Grunge in the 90’s had a much slower beat and was defined by depressing minor chords.  Not kidding.  I think this is why so many millennials need therapy.  And it’s Gen X’s fault.  We subjected them to grunge in their formative years.  So here’s my attempt to help them rock the F out.

Pre High School

For You – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

No Time to Lose – Tarney Spencer Band

Blue on Black – Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Can’t You See – Marshall Tucker Band

Even Now – Bob Seger

Nicole – Point Blank

Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones

Just Between You and Me – April Wine

Stone in Love – Journey

Centerfold – J Geils Band

Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes

Heart and Soul – Huey Lewis and the News

Crumbling Down – John Cougar Mellencamp

Living in a Big Country – Big Country

Love Somebody – Rick Springfield

Night Moves – Bob Seger

Let’s Go Crazy – Prince


High School

Girls With Guns – Tommy Shaw

Jammin Me – Tom Petty

Perfect Way – Scritti Politti

Go For Soda – Kim Mitchell

Throwing It All Away – Genesis

Take it Easy – Andy Taylor

Little Suzi – Tesla

Take Me Home Tonight – Eddie Money

Midnight Blue – Lou Gramm

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

Heart and Soul – T’Pau

U Got the Look – Prince with Sheena Easton

Just Like Paradise – David Lee Roth

New Sensation – INXS

Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson

Hypnotize Me – Wang Chung

Nobody’s Fool – Kenny Loggins



Everybody Loves Eileen – Steelheart

Bang Bang – Danger Danger

Stranger Than Paradise – Sleeze Beez

Ride the Wind – Poison

Signs – Tesla

Freedom 90 – George Michael

Shot of Poison – Lita Ford

Coming of Age – Damn Yankees

Give It To Me Good – Trixter

Can’t Get Enough – Winger

Wait – White Lion

Fire Woman – The Cult

Bust a Move – Young MC

Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Rush – Big Audio Dynamite II

What the World Needs Now – Cracker

Least Complicated – Indigo Girls


High School Graduation and it’s Trappings

Our oldest graduated from high school.  This a major rite of passage for any kid.

It is also a rite of passage for parents.  Because it’s weird.  They are kids for a long time.  Then they get to high school and you’re all, “holy crap I can’t believe I have a kid old enough to be in high school.”  Then, in a flash, they start driving and then they graduate and are getting ready for college.  And yes, it kinda feels like it happens that fast.  So all the graduation stuff starts getting thrown at you the summer before they graduate.  You have to make sure they take the ACT and/or SAT.  You have to get applications in for college.  You have to apply for scholarships.  You have to get all registered for financial aid.  You have figure how much to drink to make the stress of tuition payments go away.  It is all very disconcerting.  Not because it is especially complicated – it isn’t – but because you’re just not ready for it.  So it all feels foreign.  Like James Comey and the truth.

Anyway, you navigate your way through all that crap and then you get to May of your kid’s senior year – and graduation is literally days away.  But first you have to do something.

Have a grad party.

Yeah, this is a thing.  Some of you are reading this and saying – aloud – “Yeah, no sh*t Sherlock.  And guess what else?  Water is wet, socialism always fails and golf is stupid.”  Well, I didn’t know that.  I mean of course I knew water was wet and that socialism always fails and that golf is stupid.  But I didn’t know grad parties were such big freaking deal.  Now, those of you who just mocked me incredulously for not knowing grad parties are a thing, are now incredulously mocking me for admitting it.  Because here’s the deal – I didn’t have one.  I don’t really remember going to any.  Disclaimer – if you had a grad party in 1988 and it is a really special memory for you and I attended but now don’t remember attending – I sincerely apologize.  My brain is mostly filled with useless facts and movie quotes.  So I didn’t realize the importance or enormity of the grad party then or now.

But it is a big f*%king deal.

All of our senior’s friends had parties starting the first week in May going all the way through the first week in June.  Every weekend.  There was even one on a Thursday night.  We’d ask what she was doing and the answer was always, “going to grad parties.”

weirdsciencepartyNow just so we’re clear, as you’ve likely assumed, I did not realize how big of deal this was.  I was thinking, yeah, we’ll order some pizzas, get some gatorades for the kids and I’ll have a cooler of Miller Lites handy for me and other bewildered Dads.  Because in my head, channeling the 18 year old in me who sometimes shows up unexpectedly, I was thinking that most of these high school seniors want to have a grad party that is similar Wyatt and Gary’s blowout in Weird Science.

I got yelled at for this.

And not in a funny TV sitcom, “oh Dad you’re so silly” kinda way.  It was in a “you stupid ignorant moron” kinda way.  Which I thought was unfair.  I mean how the hell was I supposed to know the attention to detail that was about to commence in preparation to this party.  Because, as I mentioned above, a party to me is friends, beers, and I suppose other stuff.  But I’m a simple guy with uncomplicated thoughts on parties.

But that is clearly not the way these things work.

Here how it works – the kids stagger the starts of their parties using some kind of shared  – but secret – matrix.  Then marauding packs of high school seniors party hop from one house to another.  The family hosting the party invites family friends, family members, neighbors – mostly people who have some connection to the graduating senior.  Then the senior invites EVERYBODY THEY KNOW.  If the senior has siblings, the siblings invite a few of their friends too.  The hosting family is to provide some type of food and drinks along with seating.

But that’s the easy part.

We had to pick out invitations, pick out pictures for the invitations and then mail them.  There was a whole editing process.  Which we of course screwed by putting the wrong date on the invitations.

Then one of the mandatory things you are supposed to create are picture boards.  Mom was on me like Joe Dumars on Jordan in the ’88 playoffs to go through old pictures.  My response?  I did virtually nothing.  Which is my go to move in situations like this.  Kobe had the step back jumper, I have the lazy possum.  She poured through pictures.  She was like a Bletchely Park analyst going through reconnaissance photos of the D-Day landing beaches looking for obstacles for the amphibious landing craft.  She did it for days.  Our 18 year-old did the same.  So much so that they created two.  One with pics of her as a little tiny kid – titled the throwback board –  and one with all her high school friends.  Oh and did I mention that we had a double party.  Yeah, we combined graduation parties.  So our senior and her best friend had their parties at our house.

First we had to set up tables and chairs.  And table cloths and center pieces.  My reaction to the center pieces was basically WTF.  I can’t be alone in my thought process here.  I mean if I line up 10 people, 5 people at most are going to notice the center pieces enough to mention them.  To me they are just one more thing to clean up.

Then came the food.  Right, so I’m thinking a bowl of pretzels.  And, well, maybe Cheetos I guess?  Little smokies?  Once again, my instincts proved incorrect.

We had homemade salsa, guac and queso with chips, cups of custom made ice cream and specially designed cookies with the girls names on them.  Yeah.  Fancy.  Then coolers of pop. water, gatorade and…beers.  Yes!  But we somehow had to keep the 18 year-olds out of the beers.  Did pretty well.  But that lies mostly with a couple our daughter’s friends who caught a few people trying to sneak beers out of the basement fridge.  So they laid the smack down and took care of business.  It was mostly a stare down and pointed comments, not the Chuck Norris roundhouse I was hoping for…but I still managed to avoid being the parent who allowed the seniors to drink beers at the grad party.

Lasted about 3, maybe 4 hours.  Had to give some grudging respect to our 16 year old’s friends who stopped by the party early then left for another party but then came back because the food at our party was kick ass.  It was.  I was eating homemade guac for days afterwards.  Also the Dads might stop back later to help you finish the beers.  Regardless, it marked the official end of high school stuff for our oldest daughter.

It was a quick transition too.  A few weeks after the grad party we did college orientation.  So I have some thoughts on that too…