Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Search for the World's Greatest Karaoke Song

And now we are going to tackle a subject I know that many people have strong feelings about: karaoke. If you say it fast it sounds like "hari kari". Or "kamakaze". Or maybe I am just projecting.

I have been invited to a karaoke party Saturday night which I am very happy to be attending withmy friend Cat who will be visiting from Lil Rhody (whole 'nother post). I don't really know anyone besides the host, but he's great, so I'm looking forward to meeting some of his friends because honestly, I could use some new rotation in the play list that is my social life right now, if you know what I'm saying. I'm hoping they're not all Wesleyan clique-y so I don't have to be all, "I went to Smith! I know gay people too! I have white guilt too! We have so much in common!" Because you know that makes me want to puke.

So anyway, I'm looking forward to the party but I am not planning on favoring the crowd with a song. Karaoke is not my thing. I can't explain it. Especailly since as a former performer I spent a lot of time on stage and singing and dancing and acting in front of people. Maybe it's just the word karaoke that evokes an automatic cringe. "Karaoke!" cringe It's Pavlovian.

I did have one karaoke experience at a bar in Vienna. Quite drunk, I did sing with friends including the below noted "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum and "You Were Meant for Me" by Jewel. Not Grade A choices to begin with. But here is the embarassing truth. Granted, I was drunk, but that is no excuse for my behavior: I was a microphone hog! Yes! I kind of knew it when it was happening, but I couldn't stop it. Then, when I got back to my table I remember a friend just looking at me and raising an eyebrow and I knew he knew; I enjoyed that way too much.

So, although I am not planning on singing, that does not stop me from wondering, is there such a thing as the world's greatest karaoke song? I think there are some pretty basic ground rules: you want to sing something the crowd knows, you want to sing something upbeat. I also think that cheese and nostalgia play well in karaoke. Sincerity is out, I think. Songs with long instumental interludes equal death. I think whether or not you can actually "sing" the song is irrevelent in such a situation compared to a) enthusiasm and b) intoxication.

Are there any karaoke fans out there with must-sing faves in their repetoire that I can sit here and pick apart instead of actually putting my ass on the line?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love karaoke! Everytime I'm in NYC I go to Iggy's uptown just to do karaoke. I'm finding good places in LA too. I always sing "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. It's especially good coming from me - a very drunk, very white girl. And the crowd goes wild...

Kim said...

I only karaoked once in my life and it was to Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time." I mean, it's not tricky as far as vocal prowess, but it's a cheezy fun party song.

jesse said...

I did "Welcome to the Jungle" in Wisconsin Dells. Right before I started, I felt an arm around my shoulder and turned to see an enormous stranger looking at me quizzically. His face said, "Are we gonna do this or what?" So we rocked. I did the falsetto "na na na na na na knees knees.." part. he mostly sweated all over the place.
I also do a mean "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

Linda said...

Cher's "It's in His Kiss" your friends can be shoop-shoop girls!!!! Karaoke much less intimidating when you sing with back-up singers ... have fun!!

Cupcake said...

No offense intended towards my wonderful friends; we just seem to be stuck in a cycle of brunch-coffee-movie. I'm just permanently disappointed I have no one to play board games with. Come back, Killer Miller! We can play Boggle!

Beth said...

I get very sick of the "we need to hang out, let's go out for coffee". I like finding creative, cheap or free ways to hang out w/ friends. In a city it can be rather easy i think..especially in DC with a free zoo and lots of museums (side note: national zoo site has a link to the baby cheetah webcam!).
Erich and I also like to rope our friends into cranium and assorted board game evenings.

rachel said...

dude..."don't stop believing" by journey, "get it together" by beastie boys and "werewolves of london" by warren zevon. killer karaoke.

Cupcake said...

Damn it Beta, why don't you guys live in Brooklyn?? Didn't anyone tell you that's where it's at? By the way, your friend Jen who lives in Brooklyn, does she have any good Board Games?

Gregg, I can totally see you busting it out at Karaoke Night at the VFW Hall. Haven't those poor veterans suffered enough? I added Waren Zevon's "Keep Me in Your Heart" to my play list for my subway commute. Big mistake. That song always makes me cry.

Remember that Sheryl Crow/Kid Rock song that came out a few summers ago? I remember when that came out thinking, yeah, this would be a perfect karaoke duet.

maia said...

Sweet Home Alabama! I did live in the karaoke capital of the world..Japan. Everyone loved singing this, granted no one knew where in the hell Alabama was...not even the Americans. But no matter how much booze you have consumed everyone can sing along...Sweet Home Alabama...where the skies are so blue...and the co...mmm.mmmm.mmmm. Turns out people know far less of this song then they think they do..but no one notices the mumbling.

Cupcake said...

Maia, you do seem to have struck gold with "Sweet Home Alabama". That puts me in mind of "Proud Mary", possibly another great karaoke anthem. Are they really that ga-ga for karaoke in Japan?

maia said...

It’s their life-line there. Drunken businessmen with their very underage “hostesses”. It’s all rather pervy, but entertaining nonetheless. You rent out your own room and have a waiter bring you drinks via a phone in the room. It’s great and reduces the risk of humiliating yourself in front of strangers…granted your still shit out luck in regard to humiliating yourself in front of your friends….but that is the fun of it right.