Monday, March 9, 2009

Top five karaoke jams

There was a time, not so long ago, when I would not have gotten on a stage in front of strangers and belted out soul classics.  That time is no more.  Now, when somebody suggests karaoke, I'm the first to agree, and also the one who makes sure we go to the kind of karaoke bar where all the patrons have to hear you sing, not just the people in your booth.  I make no boasts about being talented -- anybody who knows Jessie already knows who the undisputed ruler of all karaoke is, she being possessed of a great voice and the ability not only to dance, but to make up choreography for songs apparently on the spot.  (Either that or she spends a lot of time at home coming up with dances for Britney Spears songs.  Dave?)

Anyway, here are my top five karaoke jams.  I have not been karaokiing as much as I would like, so anybody who has been with me has heard at least one of these.

1. These Eyes (Guess Who); Although this song has the classic karaoke problem of being much longer and more repetitive than you probably remember it being, it brings tons of energy and possibly even creepy dudes pretending to play the trumpet to the dance floor.

2. I'll Be Around (The Spinners); It's all in the phrasing.  Not that I'm good at it or anything, but you have to sell it.  Sell it!  If you delivery is shitty, own the shittiness!  The singer in the linked video certainly is.  What happened to him?  It sounds like had to re-learn English after an extended coke bender.

3. Cat's in the Cradle (Harry Chapin); This is the song I've gotten the least positive reaction to, but it's really fun.  If nobody else gets it, fuck 'em.  Must be sung with maximum heartstring-pulling pathos.  Plus, the song "scares [Harry Chapin] to death," which is always a bonus.

4. Treat Her Like a Lady (Cornelius Bros. and Sister Rose); "Strange as it seems / you know you can't treat a woman mean."  Actually Mr . Cornelius, that doesn't strike as all that strange.  This one makes me wish there was karaoke for background singers.  If there was, though, "Midnight Train to Georgia" would be the best choice.

5. Twilight Time (The Platters); I've never actually done this song live, (not counting numerous family-only engagments) but it's definitely on the list for next time.  This song has everything: long coherent sentences, shitloads of metaphors, rhymed iambic pentameter -- and it does it all with such aplomb.  I look forward to slaughtering it. 

UPDATE: My brother reminded me of an infinitely better link for "These Eyes," so that has been updated.  Go ahead, click it.  Also, have you heard the Celine Dion "version" of "Treat Her Like a Lady?"  I have never liked Celine Dion even slightly, but I thought she at least had a modicum of taste and class.  Either I was very wrong or there is a wider cultural gap between the U.S. and Canada than I could ever have imagined.  This song is atrocious!  

1 comment:

  1. I just did "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" by Tammy Wynette this weekend. It was a lot better in my head, but I think that I had enough to drink not to really care. Prior to this I did "America" by Neil Diamond, which was also much more comical in my head than in practice. Again, thank you alcohol. I think I really need someone to match me with a song that fits my (non-existant) vocal range, personality and so on. Maybe Jessie can help..?