One of the cardinal rules of karaoke is not to start too early in the night. That said, sometimes you need to be the first singer to break the ice and it’s critical to have a solid warm-up song. This song needs to serve two purposes: first, to warm up your vocal chords (since you’ve likely had very little in the line of drinks OR sing-alongs, the two primary vocal lubricants at any karaoke event). Second, and just as importantly, you need a crowd pleaser. Everyone knows all the words to Faith, and let’s be honest: if George Michael doesn’t spell “crowd pleasure”, I don’t know what does.
Crowd’s warm, and so are you. What next? Jesse’s Girl has the perfect of Rick (I mean, you…) practically whispering the lyrics of the bridge, easy lyrics, and an awesome power-chord filled chorus that has awesome sing-along potential. Not screaming your way through the entire song is critical for endurance (there’s at 18 more songs in this list, remember?), and this becomes your first shot to really engage the crowd. Don’t eff it up.
Hey Juliet, looking for your karaoke Romeo? What better way than singing this seductive track by The Cardigans. What makes this song perfect for the female crooners in the room? Nearly every line ends in a pouty face. C’mon. Listen to the song. It’s practically an auditory striptease.
Let’s pour one out for the gloved one’s recent passing. Now that we’ve got that out of our way, I don’t think you need me to explain why almost ANY MJ track is critical for the ultimate karaoke trackset. That said, some important notes:
* You think you can’t hit Mike’s falsettos? It’s ok. Try. You might surprise yourself, and the crowd.
* Gratuitous crotch-grabbing will get you past any failed falsettos.
* MJ tracks are a secret weapon for people who are better dancers than singers. Use this to your advantage. If you’ve got any kind of pelvis-thrusting moves, now’s your chance to grab a karaoke microphone and make the most of it.
This highly underrated karaoke duet is worth it’s weight in gold. It’s got repetitive lyrics, and an awesome bridge that’s just long enough to bust out some two person choreography. The best part about this duet is how well it allows a couple to share a duet without stepping on each other’s toes. The lyrics, that is. I can’t help you with your dance moves.
Speaking of dance moves, this song only requires one; making it an IDEAL song for singers who can’t dance! Just twist…and shout…your way through the entire song. Remember what happened when Ferris Bueller sang this song? He took over an entire Chicago parade with impromptu dance moves. If you can execute this song well, you should be able to end with the entire bar dancing on the chairs and tables, and swinging from the ceiling fans. Just don’t let the principal catch you.
Time to take it down a notch with a mellow sing-along. Not much to say about this one, except bonus points if you can learn the harmonica part. If you can, you should probably carry a harmonica in your pocket for the rest of your life, just so you can bust out this song, with or without a karaoke DJ handy.
We’re now halfway through our set, and there’s a critical juncture: any songs with technical difficulty are going to start becoming dangerous, depending on how much you’ve been drinking. This song’s technical merit comes from it’s ridiculously fast lyrics. If you’ve been lucky enough to see me perform it, you’ll know that it can in fact be done. Just know that I’ve been practicing this song since I was in the 10th grade. Don’t act shocked. Perfection takes time.
Rocking the Beasties is a great way to get the crowd fired up again, since this anthem is more or less a directive for the rest of the night; nobody’s going to get in between us and our party! This song is among the easier Beastie Boys songs to sing, compared to tracks like Intergalactic, but you do get bonus points for singing in all three distinctly different NYC accents. Whatever you do, don’t forget to trounce around the stage and throw your hands in the air a lot.
While you’re trouncing around the stage and ruining your vocal chords for the rest of the night, this track from ‘99 is perfect for explaining exactly how you expect your night to end…tomorrow morning. Party anthem all the way, and if you’re not air-guitar-ing during the opening riff of this song, you’re doing it wrong. Even the lead singer of the band used to air guitar to his own song.
From one high school dance full of air-guitar-ing (mine) to another (George McFly’s), Johnny B Goode allows you to not only bust out some more great air-instrument moves, but to capitalize on the havoc you’ve wrecked on your voicebox. Chuck Berry’s gravelly voice is easily replicated at this point in the night.
A little something for the ladies. If you’re not a girl, it doesn’t matter, since gender-bending is one of the highest art forms in karaoke, and even dudes can kill it with this song.
Things I can’t promise:
* It’ll sound good
* You know all of the lyrics
* You’ll look as sexy as Madonna singing it
Things I CAN promise:
* Every woman in the bar will be singing along with you, so it won’t matter how you sound
You’re coasting into the home stretch, and need to keep your throne. Sing-along is going to be the name of the game from here on out, and the only thing better than a standard sing along is one where people shout out made-up lyrics between the actual ones.
XXX-version or not, it’s SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!
Speaking of x-rated…this song takes on a whole new meaning depending on how much you’ve had to drink. Everything from lude, masturbatory gestures to the removal of sweat-soaked clothing are fair game during this track. Your only goal should be to not be the only one doing it.
I don’t care if The Sopranos ruined this song for millions of fans, it’s still a crowd pleaser, if not one of the ultimate sing-alongs for our generation. The irony is, it’s really hard to sing well. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever head anyone sing it well except for Steve Perry. That said, if you sing this song, you could mumble your way through the entire thing and it almost wouldn’t matter. Someone else WILL be singing it louder than you. And you can bet that they’re singing it worse than you are.