Tag Archives: GenX

Alphabet Soup Challenge: X Factor Classic Rock From a Gen X Perspective

I think of the term “X Factor” as being the “special sauce”. An indescribable quality in something or someone that you can’t quite put your finger on. Something or someone that is original and delightful. Something or someone who is memorable to you. Something or someone who is super freaking cool.

Last week I was listening to one of my favorite channels on Sirius XM, Classic Rewind, when DJ Kristine Stone announced in her smooth-as-silk voice the “My Perfect 10” challenge. She explained that subscribers were invited to email them their “perfect 10” tunes from the classic rock “cassette era”.

Side note: do you remember those? Those pieces of cheap plastic you could pop into that old cassette player to listen to your favorite tunes? Or maybe you were like me as a Gen X’r who would put a blank cassette in, position it next to your boom box, and tape your favorite songs that played between all those commercials on your local (it was all local in those days, kids) rock station.

Anyway, the idea with Classic Rewind’s “Perfect 10” challenge is that provided you emailed your list to them, you could potentially hear your specially crafted “perfect 10” tunes on the channel on, you guessed it, 10/10.

My first thought upon hearing this was that this was an idea I can get behind. Listening to rock songs during the cassette era (mid-70’s through the 80’s) was what led me to become such an enthusiastic rock and roll fan.

What qualifies these songs as having the “X-Factor” for me is that for every single one of them, I pause my thoughts, crank up the radio and sing along. Until the bitter end. I marinate in these songs. Feel their beats pulsing through my veins. Jam out in my truck to them. Dance around my living room to them.

So here’s my “Perfect 10 X -Factor” classic rock song list:

  1. The Load Out/Stay by Jackson Browne
  2. Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad by Meatloaf
  3. You’re my Best Friend by Queen
  4. Turn the Page by Bob Seger
  5. Young Americans by David Bowie
  6. Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh
  7. All My Love by Led Zeppelin
  8. Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
  9. Band on the Run by Paul McCartney and Wings
  10. Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas.

I realize that despite being a teenager in the 80’s, all but one of these songs (Free Fallin’) was produced in the 70’s. I suspect that’s on account of being a Gen X’r who adored her older brother and sister (one graduated high school in ’75 and the other in ’77) and their taste in the music of the day. Perhaps I would have been better off compiling a “Perfect 10 X Factor” list of songs from the Classic Vinyl (another one of my favorite Sirius XM channels)?

But I’ve always been one who tries to stay in the current. I am a big fan of newer and younger musical artists, ones who have put out music during my adult life. Like Jack White.

I think he is absolutely amazing. He commands the stage. He is such a gifted guitar player and performer. As an appreciator of well done rock and roll and cool characters, allow me to share the epic performances by this cool cat, performed last Saturday night on SNL:

So, what musical artists and/or songs possess that “X Factor” according to you?

***Header image courtesy of https://www.quotemaster.org/Rock+And+Roll

My First Post about Names

Perhaps weirdly, I have a lot to say about names. See above title. I’m certain this will not be a one-off topic for me on this blog.

Think I’ll start with the obvious. My name: Rhonda. My mom told me she named me after a movie star named Rhonda Fleming. I don’t know much about her beyond that she had red hair. Hold on a sec…

Image result for image for actress rhonda fleming
Rhonda Fleming-ain’t she a beaut? Geez, I hope all that straw didn’t end up in her nether regions!

Of course there’s that dumb Beach Boys song, you know the one, which about 60% of the people that meet me for the first time feel compelled to sing to me (like the guy checking us out at PetSmart yesterday).  One of our neighbors is also a Rhonda and she actually has this song as her ring tone on her cell phone. Having the name Rhonda, while I’m  pretty neutral about how I feel about it now at 52, kind of sucked growing up.

There were 4 other Rhonda’s between my class and the class ahead of me. In a school system that had a mere 500 (give or take) students in total. Similar to that dumbass show “The Bachelor”, there was a Rhonda D., a Rhonda T., two Rhonda S’s., and a Rhonda K (that would be me). I never figured what that was all about, all these moms sipping their Tabs and playing Bridge in the late 60’s being all un-original about naming their babies. The worst though was the nickname bestowed upon me by a tall, gangly, obnoxious kid named “Todd”. He greatly enjoyed calling me “Rhon-duh”, emphasis on the “Duh” as in “Duh-brain” (a clever off-shoot of “Rhon-duh”).

Here’s some more names I have important commentary on:

Joan. One Joan I know is my daughter’s soon to be ex MIL. I had an issue with her from the day I met her. In front of me and Hubs, she presented my daughter with a “special” necklace with the word “daughter” engraved on it. Made my blood boil. In retrospect, I think it was her way of softening my daughter to her, as that was the fateful night we nor only first met but also starting planning the wedding between our daughter and her son (there is a story to be told of that night for sure).

Then there’s another Joan, one of my mom’s old Bridge pals from back in the day. After my mom passed away in February, my sister and I split the sympathy cards up so that sending the thank you’s wouldn’t be on just one of us. We are fair with each other like that (side note: I freaking love my sister! She’s coming to visit us this week. Yay!).

So anyway, I found Joan’s card. No address. This frustrated me no end while I was trying to get this task completed (she wasn’t the only one who failed to furnish their address). So I decided to go ahead and find her address online. I thought that would be easy peasy.  Simple. Efficient. It wasn’t. I checked with two different websites that said they didn’t charge (yeah, right, sucker!) and of course was simply told that she was “found”. But no specific address was made available to me, just the city and state where she lived (like hello! I knew that already, people!).  I gave up and later ended up finding it another way (she owns a business-forgot about that!) online. Ever since, every single fucking time I open up my Chromebook, I get these pop ups with lines like “are you still searching for Joan”? One even, I swear to God, included a little picture of Momo (you know, that urban legend/internet hoax that really really dumb middle schoolers have apparently bought into). I guess they thought they could scare me into paying them to dig up Joan’s address for me after all this time I’d been searching?

 

Image result for momo
I present to you, Momo

In a previous post,  I mentioned how my mom used to love to sing to me all the time when I was little, despite not really being able to carry a tune. I have fuzzy memories of her when I was probably 4 or 5, when I would beg her to sing me “name” songs. They ran the gamut between “Julie do ya love me?”, to “I’ve been working on the railroad” (Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow your horn was the chorus), to “Laurie (strange things happen)”.

Let me leave you with my personal favorite “name” song, with the extra special bonus of interpretive dance. Enjoy!