Mating, Dating, Relating, Medicating

Feb 15

9 Karaoke Songs to Avoid Like Syphilis

1. Bye Bye Miss American Pie. This is the one that people inevitably use to lure their drunk guy friend onstage, because he loves that song, bro, and he knows all the words. First of all, no he doesn’t, and secondly, this song is so much longer than you think it is. It’s only fun for the first three minutes, and then it’s just endless and awkward, and your drunk friend is either resenting you for making him do this interminable thing, or obliviously hamming it up long past the point when it’s funny to do so.

2. Sweet Dreams Are Made of This. Turns out this song is essentially about a thousand repetitions of two lines, and those lines are really more “chanted” than “sung”. If you try to sing it, you will wind up in a weird fugue state where part of you is twitching your hips in time with the relentless tempo and trying to chant in a hypnotic manner, part of you is frantically wondering when this stupid song ends, and none of you resembles Annie Lennox in any way, shape, or form.

3. Anything by Adele, Whitney, or Mariah. I was going to say “any one-named female pop diva” but you can pry “La Isla Bonita” out of my cold, dead mouth. You know how good you sound in your car with the windows rolled down singing along with “Rolling in the Deep”, how you feel it deep down in your bones, and Adele has that low register anyway and you know the crowd will be with you? I admire your self-esteem, but no.

4. Informer by Snow. Although this was only a minor hit and is now old, I’ve seen several people try to perform it, and it has been excruciatingly painful for everyone each time. Don’t be one of those people. You think you know the lyrics, but you don’t, and also you don’t have the breath to spit them out even if you did. It’s way too fast, which is why it’s unintelligible to begin with.  Many Blues Traveler songs also fall into this category, as do many hip-hop numbers and that godawful thing by Chumbawumba.

5. Songs where you only know the chorus. Yes, you’ll have the words in front of you, but still. You have to have a basic grasp of the song’s structure and story or you will do it wrong, and then get nervous, and be so anxious to get to the part you do know that you’re stumbling all over the place. Trust the woman who tried to sing “People Are Talkin'” by Bonnie Raitt and nearly died from the stress of it. There was phrasing in there I couldn’t nail with a hammer.

6. Soulful ballads from Disney cartoons. Can you paint with all the colors of the wind? If you are a man and you try to sing about it, ESPECIALLY if you gesture with your arms while doing so, your penis automatically shrinks by 25%–and everyone sees it happening. (There are a few exceptions to this rule, but I’m nearly certain that you’re not one of them. If you were, you would already be triple-sure of it and your friends would have marveled several times, unprompted, about how great your rendition of “A Whole New World” was. Don’t you dare close your eyes!) (Certain exemptions also apply for gay men.)

7. Songs in another language. Yes, Spanish is largely phonetic, but guess what? Los Lobos actually understood what those words meant! That’s why they did such a bang-up job delivering them. You, sir or madam, are no capitan. You can baila la bamba, but don’t sing it.

8. Anything that requires more than two people to be on stage. If you are drunk enough to think that you and all your girlfriends should perform “I Got Friends in Low Places”  or “All the Single Ladies” together, you will live to regret stepping up on that stage. One per mic.

9. Son of a Preacher Man, Me and Bobby McGee, Black Velvet, I Will Survive, She’s in Love with the Boy. These songs are mine, so step off.

Of course, none of these rules apply if you a) are genuinely good; or b) genuinely don’t give a fuck what other people think.

Except rule number nine. That stands.

13 Responses to “9 Karaoke Songs to Avoid Like Syphilis”

  1. Rachel says:

    The first time I sang karaoke was to Bye Bye Miss American Pie — IT IS THE LONGEST SONG EVER.

  2. Pish Posh says:

    I thought you were going to sing Fancy?

    Also you can’t sing Devil Went Down in Georgia and I REALLY wish people would stop singing “Like a Virgin” “Bad to the Bone” and “When I Think About You… I Touch Myself” its just TMI

  3. Melospiza says:

    I pretty much agree with this list, except in place of “nine songs,” I would substitute “all songs.” Ugh. I so do suck at karaoke.

  4. Other c says:

    I refuse to do karaoke under any circumstances, but this isht is fuuuuny.

  5. rooth says:

    I think I’ve violated all of these rules. And it was worth it!

  6. Swistle says:

    Ha ha! “I admire your self-esteem, but no.”

  7. Kristin H says:

    I would have to add “Love Shack.” Because you might be a decent chanteuse, but you can’t do that thing with your voice like CIndy Wilson does. Trust me on this.

  8. Nicole says:

    No way, Me and Bobby McGee is MINE. Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train. Feeling as faded as my jeans. Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained, rode us all the way to New Orleans.

  9. Slauditory says:

    I am in total agreement about the 65 drunk people sharing one mike (“Dead or Alive,” never again, bro-dudes!) and about “American Pie,” or “the most excruciating oldie in existence.”

    The two songs that have ever thrown me for a loop at karaoke were “Doo Wop (That Thing)” (a friend’s request) and “I Wanna Sex You Up.” One was too fast for me and the other had words I didn’t know existed.

  10. asplenia says:

    Lol! “I was going to say “any one-named female pop diva” but you can pry “La Isla Bonita” out of my cold, dead mouth. “

  11. Roxanne says:

    hahaha! I used to do Karaoke, I admit and I had rules as well. I called it “Karaoke Courtesy” — anyway your rules are like mine, especially no Whitney, Mariah or Adele. The songs, the singers are too big for most mortals. A rare person can pull it off, but better not to try. And under no circumstances should anyone sing a solo as a duet or group. One person, one mic. The only group song that can work is Love Shack but only if there is a guy to sing the guy’s part. And I love your last one — don’t touch my karaoke standards, just step off: Get Here, Moondance, You Outta Know, Sweet Dreams (Patsy Cline), Last Dance . . .

  12. Nikki says:

    I agree with you on all songs! I especially like the ones when people sing the songs they only know the chorus too…very entertaining.

  13. Suniverse says:

    I like to sing the Clash, because, you know. It’s The Clash and also my voice is terrible.

    Actually, my voice is so terrible that I just like to sing. FOR EVERYONE!

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