Monday, August 27, 2007

Karaoke Do Not Sings

In case you missed it while wondering how Miss Teen South Carolina manages to function on a daily basis, this list arose like Venus on a half-shell from the clever mind of Dan Hopper at Best Week Ever:

Have you ever been at a karaoke bar, flipped through their phone book of songs to pick from, debated in your head if you wanted something awesome or ironic or awesomely ironic or whatever, then finally settled on a perfect choice, typed in the song, waited excitedly, finally gotten up on stage, then after about a minute, realized that the song is either impossible to sing, or goes on for a painful amount of time, or wasn’t nearly as funny as you had anticipated, or some devastating combination of the three? Who hasn’t? That’s why I’ve drawn on personal experience and the catastrophic anecdotal accounts of my fellow karaoke-loving friends to comprise this list of the Top Ten Worst Karaoke Trap Songs in the hopes that we can reduce these awkward, time-wasting experiences, one room of people rolling their eyes at a time.

10. Sir Mix-A-Lot - “Baby Got Back"

The concept of getting really drunk with one’s friends and shouting along out-of-tune to random pop songs is already so wonderfully ludicrous, I wonder why people feel the need to intentionally choose a pseudo-novelty song for the sake of humor, let alone one which everyone got tired of even on a nostalgic level after about three weeks of college. That never stops the one nerd in your group from trying to impress everyone in the room by singing all of “Baby Got Back” without looking at the words on the screen, as though anyone even cares about the song beyond the first minute, chiming in for the obligatory “My anaconda don’t want none” part then eagerly anticipating the song’s end.

9. Frank Sinatra - “New York, New York"

Part of the glee of karaoke comes from drunken people singing the most random, stupid song that they secretly love and having those couple stunned people in the crowd who also secretly love that song rising up and triumphantly belting along with the person holding the mic. Why is it, then, that so many people feel compelled to bore the room with “New York, New York,” a perennially anticlimatic choice which is at best sung perfectly, garnering a dull “hmm, that guy was really good,” reaction, and at worst a “are these Sinatra dudes going to be done soon? I’ve been waiting a damn hour to sing ‘Santeria’.”

8. INXS - “Need You Tonight"

This 80s pop gem can be a tempting choice, but there’s something magically elusive about Michael Hutchence’s voice; it’s too low for high singers, it’s two high for low singers, and if you’re in the middle, it’s impossible to sing, you pretty much just have to speak the words, which ends up being just kind of boring. It’s only two minutes long, mercifully, but the angsty sex noises require a degree of acting that’ll make any non-hammered individual look like a pervert, and any appropriately hammered individual look like a drunken pervert. I can imagine how singing this song in concert over and over again would lead a singer to… never mind.

7. Meat Loaf - “Paradise By The Dashboard Light"

Another tempting option, cause there aren’t really a lot of great duets once “Don’t You Want Me Baby” and “Another Day” from Rent get sung in the first hour, but this song folds under two massive flaws: One, only the last part of the song is a duet, the male part takes up about the first 70%, and Two, it is the longest goddamn song in the history of recorded music. There isn’t even a single version; even the karaoke rendition will include the full two minutes of Phil Rizzuto’s baseball announcing. If you’re paying for a room and you select this song, you’re a moron who instantly owes everyone in the bar five rounds of drinks.

6. Journey - “Don’t Stop Believin’"

Don’t get me wrong, this song is absolutely tailor-made for sing-alongs, but, in a way, it’s almost too good; everyone in the room, from nineteen-year-old sorority chicks to even the most jaded hipsters will dive into the choruses, and the final breakdown will be an absolutely cathartic group scream that will end in huge applause when the song fades out. BUT — if this isn’t the last song of the night, it pretty much ruins every single song that follows it, and can clear a bar as quickly as the Sopranos finale cut to black. You might as well just go onstage after The Beastie Boys just did a two-hour set with Jerry Lee Lewis.

5. Anything from the “Grease” Soundtrack

Short of that one girl who keeps picking country ballads that no one in the room knows, there is no more polarizing force in the world of karaoke than the girls who put on songs from “Grease,” resulting in an inevitable three minutes of loud girly sing-alongs and insecure dudes yelling at them to change the song or to pick something less done-to-death (like “Livin’ on a Prayer”). You could go onstage, grab the mic, and start preaching about how Roe v Wade needs to be overturned, and you’d start fewer arguments than if you sang “You’re The One That I Want,” so you really have to ask yourself if your few minutes of happy falsetto-ey '50s music is worth a roomful of tangible animosity.

2. Prince - “Purple Rain"

The stacked catalogue and mass appeal of almighty Prince often blinds people to his disatrous karaoke potential; songs like “Little Red Corvette” and “1999″ are perfect for dance parties, but never quite hold up on the karaoke stage (perhaps because we have certain predispositions about that Prince fellow’s stage presence), but “Purple Rain” is an absolute, no-exceptions room-killer. No matter how seemingly hilarious a song suggestion is, or how many girls clump themselves around a microphone to shout a chorus, no karaoke song really holds up past the four-minute-mark, and this one goes on long enough for patrons to take a cab to a different karaoke bar, type in a song, and get on stage quicker than if they’d waited for this one to be over.

3. U2 - “One”

When you choose to sing Pearl Jam or Dave Matthews, you pretty much know beforehand that you’re going to have to do a flat-out impression of the lead singer. With “One,” though, you can’t really slip into full-on Bono impression without sounding like a crappy Mad TV sketch, nor can you sing the song in your own voice without sounding like an Idol reject who was bad but not in a unique or amusing way. You’ll be stuck in a perpetual state of partial-Bono impression that won’t sound like anything, will damage your vocal chords, and really begin to grate on people long before you come to the excruciating two minutes of “oooohhh ooohhhh!! haaaaaaaa!” at the end.

2. Guns n’ Roses - “Paradise City

A flawless, across-the-board example of a textbook karaoke trap. It seems like a viable option, because everyone can get into G’n'R, plus the chorus is fun and easy for everyone to sing along to, but even the chorus gets pretty old by about the fourth repetition (out of thirty), to say nothing of the superfast verses which no one knows, the five instrumental breaks, and the total running time of nearly seven minutes, making for a crushing, “dear god, what have I done?” epiphany for the unfortunate soul who’s left bearing the microphone like a scarlet letter.

1. Vanilla Ice - “Ice Ice Baby”

Remember Vanilla Ice? I do! He had that stupid song when we were little that became awesome again when we went to college and now we’re going to sing it! Isn’t that ridiculous? Who wants to be part of this never-before-attempted stab at hilarity? Ok, here we go! Stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention, something, that… dah da dah…. ummm speaker that booms… “poisonous mushroom”? What? I’ve never seen any of these words before. Anyone? Dear god, get to the chorus, quick… Ice Ice Baby! [stands there awkwardly.] Ice Ice Baby. [five more awkward seconds, then the second verse starts, and people are either talking to one another or just reading the lyrics in disbelief. This continues for about seven more verses until someone finally skips to the next song. Person who was about to type in “U Can’t Touch This” reconsiders his options.]

4 Comments:

Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

I appreciate the information ;-)

You, missy, are much braver than I am cause I won't karoke at all. I'm just not willing to have people like me rolling their eyes at my singing lol.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Leave It To Cleavage said...

You forgot "I Will Survive".

4:23 PM  
Blogger Trouble said...

I didn't make the list, I'm lazy. But if I had, "I Will Survive" would be on it, as would "Love Shack" and "I Touch Myself".

When you go to karaoke as often as I do (so sad, really), you are subject to having all of the songs you like absolutely assassinated by groups of drunk girls who cannot sing or by lone gunmen who sneak up and destroy beloved songs of your youth by yodeling their way through them and adding loutish commentary.

Yes, sometimes karaoke does destroy my will to live.

5:00 PM  
Blogger threetoedsloth said...

I think the worst thing in karaoke are the girls with good singing voices who decide that they have to sing a serious, earnest song to show off their skills, thereby killing the main purpose of a karaoke night, which is to have FUN!

Me, I sing Tony Orlando.

6:06 AM  

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