Readers, is there anything better than karaoke? Exposing your id for all to see and trilling theatrically like a modern day Aoide for your adoring audience? I have never felt emotions of the intensity I did when performing an impromptu, yet sultry, rendition of Tonight, I Celebrate My Love For You with Fanny Ong, a Chinese DJ (and budding pyramid schemer) who had clearly been awed by my prior performances.
I take my karaoke very seriously. I am not a gifted singer but dammit if I don't give it my all. And really, that is the most crucial part of karaoke. As Mae West herself said, "An ounce of performance is worth a pound of promises" (I don't think she was talking about karaoke, but still). And so, dear readers, I wish to pass on to you my karaoke wisdom which has been accumulated through years of trial and error. I've experienced the highest highs where one feels like Gaia giving birth to the sky, and the lowest lows when you relate more to Gerri Halliwell when she ate that chocolate cake out of George Michael's garbage.
I hope the following tips will help you reach the lofty karaoke heights of the young man below:
If you want to rock:
Karaoke allows you to rock harder than you ever thought possible. I often try and channel the spirit of the late Bon Scott while I'm up there. Bonus points if you choke on your own vomit.
Do NOT do:
Sweet Child O Mine/ November Rain
Livin' On A Prayer
These songs are entirely played out and, unless it's everyone's first time at the rodeo, will bore and/or annoy your audience. If you must sing GnR try something different like Patience.
Toto: Hold the Line
You will be the envy of all of your friends.
Bon Jovi: Wanted
This is the Manimal's go-to song. He accompanies it with little high kicks and a joie de vivre which I have rarely observed in him. You will really bring the house down with this one especially if you deliver the seminal line, "I've seen a million faces...and I rocked em all" with gusto.
Pop/ Crowd Pleasers:
When someone has brought the mood way down by singing Nothing Compares 2 U or some other such nonsense, it's up to you to belt out a rip snorting crowd favorite to bring the party back to life.
Do NOT do:
Any rap: Young MC, Ice Ice Baby, Biggie - it NEVER works. It's much harder than it seems to pull off. Trust.
I Touch Myself- this usually is performed by an older woman who's desperate for validation after a nasty divorce or an annoying college girl who's trying to be an ingenue. Either way, bad.
Toto (again) with Africa:
This is my second favorite karaoke jam of all time. Who doesn't love a song that has lines such as, "I know that I must do what's right/ sure as Kilamjaro rises like Olympus over the Serengeti"?
Hall and Oates: Rich Girl
H&O are the best. You will not regret this one. It also fits in to my ultimate karaoke rule: keep it under 4 minutes.
My sister-in-law swears by Fantasy by Mariah Carey:
Beware the slow jam. It has the power to be a heartfelt showstopper, or a soul deadening exercise in torture.
Do NOT do:
Radiohead's Creep (or anything by Radiohead, really. I mean, I really like Radiohead. In my Ipod.)
MGMT/The Smiths/ Morrissey/ Arcade Fire/ Other pathetic hipster band. How did you even get an invite? Why is anyone even friends with you? Don't try to prove you have "elite" musical tastes, or look down upon the person singing Get Low. No-one wants to hear you sing the Velvet Underground, they just want to yell along to Sweet Caroline, really. How dare you sully the greatest activity in the world with your maudlin ways? Go home and put your head in the oven.
My good friend, and karaoke master, B$ always tears it up with Careless Whisper
My all time best song:
Alone by Heart
I have performed this in many karaoke establishments and once, notably, on a minibus in Thailand. It is the single greatest karaoke song of all time but you MUST commit. You cannot sing Alone if you are not doing a knee skid with your eyes closed at some point. Also, i think it wise to leave this performance until your traveler of moonshine kicks in. I would recommend being at about this level of wastedness to really get the full effect:
Finally, I would like to formally ban any of the following tunes:
(all extreme violations of my 4 minute rule as well as likely to make me stab someone in the face)
I Will Always Love You
Part of This World (unless you are Peabo Bryson OR the badass little man who drinks martinis alone at Japas 55)