I love karaoke. It’s a well known fact that Uncle Almie needs karaoke to function. I’ve learned a lot about karaoke. And I’m here to help you. I don’t want you to make a karaoke faux pax by singing something that is groan worthy. But please note: if you’re doing karaoke in a private room with your friends, by all means, sing whatever the hell you want. This is a guide to singing stage karaoke.
There are three basic rules: don’t sing something over 4 minutes, don’t sing something sad and don’t sing something done to death. Like these:
As soon as this song starts, everyone who is not in your group groans. My friend Max, karaoke expert, agrees that this is the worst possible choice. And his dad directed the freaking video. This song is just way too long. If you’re going to pick this, at least be in a group and have the dance down. That’s the only way you can compensate.
9. “Poker Face”
We’re done with this, okay? Lady Gaga is very fun to sing at karaoke. I’m in support of any Gaga song post 2008. We’re better than this. It’s a big, bright world out there.
There is no greater buzzkill in the world than “Imagine” at karaoke. When the first few notes of that midi-ized piano play, it’s basically announcing, “Cigarette and bathroom break, everyone!” It’s especially jarring if the songs before were from Ke$ha, Bon Jovi and Britney and then you get up and make everyone think about peace and understanding in a slow tempo. I want to down vodka and eat buffalo wings and get myself pumped for when I get up there and tear the stage apart. I don’t want to imagine there’s no heaven. It’s not easy and I’m not going to try.
Which brings me to this:
7. “Hey Jude”
I love The Beatles. Obviously. But this poor song needs to be retired from karaoke. Again, it’s way too long. They sing “na na na nananana, nananana hey Jude” for like six hours. And when you sing a song like this, it’s the kind of song that really takes off with audience participation: singing the chorus together and waving your arms back and forth in the air. And not every crowd is going to get into it. And it’s not a fast enough song where you can dance it off. It’s too repetitive for a live crowd. Unless of course you’re Paul McCartney. Then the audience will cry and hyperventilate and have your parents threaten to take you home if you can’t get yourself together. That’s probably just me though.
6. “Total Eclipse of the Heat”
It’s simple: it’s too long, it’s overdone and it has some high notes that people are just not prepared to sing. You don’t have to be an awesome singer at karaoke, you really don’t. That isn’t the point. But if a singer has a specific tone to their voice like Bonnie Tyler who growls and “really blows on those high notes, dawg” (Randy Jackson) don’t try it. It’s cringe-worthy.
5. “All By Myself”
At least “Total Eclipse of the Heart” builds to a fun ’80s rock song. But when you reach that high note in this song (“AAAAANYYMOOOOOOOREEEEEEE”) and you screech it, everyone will hate you. It’s also cliche. I’ve been to bars where it’s girls’ night and someone just broke up with their boyfriend and she’s wearing a tiara and someone is pressuring her saying, “Stacey OMG, just let it out girl, just get up there and let it out” and they’re pretending they’re doing it for the sake of irony, but they’re serious, and Stacey gets up there with a bottle of beer and her sad tiara and she starts singing with abandon and is on the border of tears and sounds like a cat fighting a baby.
4. “Don’t Stop Believin’”
There is an exception this this, and that exception is if it is later in the night and everyone is drunk and in a good mood and it hasn’t been sung already and you can slay it. The main issue with this song and karaoke is that it is one of the most popular karaoke songs of all time and you could hear it multiple times a night. And then the worst thing of all happens — you stop believin’.
3. “Lose Yourself”
Eminem doesn’t really translate in karaoke. The whole angry “YOU’VE ONLY GOT ONE SHOT DO NOT MISS YOUR CHANCE TO BLOW” quickly turns into a breathless, rushed, “You’veonly got oneshot DO NOT missrsssshanceblow.” I can’t really explain the sadness that comes with watching Joe McHoodie shuffling back and forth throwing out signs with his hands while trying to keep up with the lyrics.
2. “My Heart Will Go On”
There’s been a surge of 90′s nostalgia lately — almost too much — so I understand the desire to bust out a 90′s classic, but this isn’t the one, friend. This needs like 20 more years before we can bring it back. We’re all adults here. Let’s be reasonable.
1. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Way. Too. Long. Especially if you go up by yourself. Who does that? A surprising amount of people. If you’re going to do this song you should invite every single person there to come up with you on stage. Otherwise it’s punishment. I don’t want to see your bachelor or bachelorette party standing up there shouting, “SCARAMOSSH SCARARSSHSMM CAN YOU DO THE FANDAAAANGOOOO” I don’t want to exaggerate but anyone who does this deserves to be beaten to death by the ghost of Freddie Mercury.
What do you think?
All images from Shutterstock.com except Freddie Mercury is from Quick Memes.com and the Paul McCartney meme was made by me.
Note: Josh, you have to stop singing “Rock Lobster” every time we go to Karaoke. It’s like 7 minutes and you do the voice and you get into a trance and it’s worrisome.