What should I sing at karaoke for someone I have a crush on?
August 26, 2010 2:46 PM   Subscribe

I lost a bet and now I owe the person I'm dating a karaoke song. My usual karaoke songs are useless here! What should I sing to impress and/or delight an awesome girl?

We haven't been dating long (like a month) so I want to avoid "love" songs, but I think a "crush" song is possibly the right way to go.

I'm female and sing in the alto range. Karaoke songs I know I can sing well include "Killing Me Softly" (the Fugees version), "Stay" by Lisa Loeb, and "Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna. I don't tend to be super up-to-date with pop music (I listen to more indie stuff, but know that I can't expect my karaoke joint to come through on that front), so that's one possible limitation. I'm 27 if that helps pinpoint what I might be old or young enough to know.

The recipient of this song listens to country music (with which I am entirely unfamiliar) so I'm not really able to pick something I can sing based on her musical preferences. I am currently considering "One Way or Another" by Blondie and "Why Can't I" by Liz Phair.

Thanks for your help!
posted by girlstyle to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (78 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
If it's karaoke, there is only one option:

Don't stop believing.
posted by chicago2penn at 2:49 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


After seeing Chris Evan's version in The Losers, I'd be hard pressed to suggest anything other than Journey's "Don't Stop Believing", done as over the top as possible.

But then, I find that humor and cheesiness is endearing, so I tend to go to that well first.

The nice thing is that it is goofy and memorable enough that it doesn't matter what musical style she is most familiar with, she will know this one. Everyone will.

Good luck!
posted by quin at 2:55 PM on August 26, 2010


On my complete failure to preview: See! It's awesome!
posted by quin at 2:57 PM on August 26, 2010


The bar we're going to doesn't have "Don't Stop Believing." The story goes that the staff removed it years ago because they got sick of playing it every single night.
posted by girlstyle at 2:59 PM on August 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Dangerous Type," originally by the Cars, remade in your range by mid-90s mid-level band Letters to Cleo.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:59 PM on August 26, 2010


Please don't subject people to the soul-crushing cliche of "Don't Stop Believin'." Piano bars and drunk singers all over the world have that covered. It's why people hate karaoke. That includes every Boston or Journey song.

I'd also advise against the Blondie song. If you listen to the lyrics it's actually really creepy.

If she likes country, maybe "Fast As You" by Dwight Yoakum.
posted by cmoj at 2:59 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


For Blondie I'd go with "The Tide Is High."
posted by rhizome at 3:01 PM on August 26, 2010


"Short Skirt, Long Jacket" would be pretty great; it's not so much sung as spoken, which you may or may not enjoy.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 3:06 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I wanna be your dog" by the Stooges with either seal the deal or send you screaming
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 3:08 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


send HER screaming
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 3:09 PM on August 26, 2010


"I Kissed a Girl" (Jill Sobule, not Katy Perry!)?
"Baby You Can Drive My Car"
"I Wanna Hold Your Hand"
posted by K.P. at 3:09 PM on August 26, 2010


How about "I Want You to Want Me" - memorably covered by Letters to Cleo but usually seen by Cheap Trick. I'm a high alto and it's pretty comfortably in my range, I think.
posted by muddgirl at 3:09 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh boy, you're in the same vocal range as me and I LOVE karaoke. Here are my standards:

"These Boots Were Made for Walkin'", Nancy Sinatra
ANYTHING by Joan Jett, but I prefer "Do You Wanna Touch," and "I Hate Myself for Lovin' You"
"Mickey", Toni Basil (gets slighly high at one point but I usually manage it)
"Mouth", Merril Bainbridge
"My Sharona," The Knack (this one has a really long guitar solo in the middle, which is awkward if you're uncomfortable with long stretches of no vocals)

Some of these aren't very flirty, and some may be a little too flirty, so it's up to your discretion. I know there are more I'm forgetting, but there you go. Have fun!
posted by a.steele at 3:10 PM on August 26, 2010


My go-to karaoke song is "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads. It is cool, it is well known enough, and it is easy to sing. Also, it is pretty short.
posted by palindromic at 3:12 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know "One Way or Another" is totally a stalker song, but I think she'd laugh.

I've tried to do "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" before and was utterly horrified by how terrible I sounded. I think you've really got to have a certain kind of voice for it (and I really really do not have that voice).

Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" is totally under consideration (and I cannot believe two people name-checked Letters to Cleo! I had their cassingle in middle school).
posted by girlstyle at 3:14 PM on August 26, 2010


I think it'd be funny to sing "Kiss" by Prince, although it's a pretty high falsetto. You'd maybe get bonus points for singing the line "You don't have to be cool to rule my world" in a dorky high-pitched voice.
posted by Team of Scientists at 3:15 PM on August 26, 2010


I'd always get really annoyed hearing Journey night after night at karaoke. And Bon Jovi. And anything from Grease. Kudos to that bar for pulling Journey.

"I'm Gonna Be" by the Proclaimers is always a hit. Everybody knows it but no one ever picks it, female friendly vocals, and awesome crowd interaction at the "dadadada da da" parts. You could even drag her on stage to do the backup "dadadada da da"'s.

It might be a little early in the relationship, but "I Swear" by All-4-One is a lot of fun to belt out.
posted by havemercy at 3:17 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


cmoj beat me to it -- I was going to suggest Dwight Yoakam as well. Not a lot of crush songs, but heartbreak songs that are easy to learn and so over-the-top cornball that they're fun to sing. Turn It On Turn It Up Turn Me Loose, Fast As You, Nothing's Changed Here, or It Won't Hurt.
posted by Killick at 3:17 PM on August 26, 2010


and substitute "girl" for "man" in the Proclaimers song.
posted by havemercy at 3:18 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm an alto. I always do Madonna songs and they knock 'em dead. "Holiday" went over big, as did "Express Yourself" last weekend. The intro, where she hollers, "COME ON GIRLS! DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE?" is fun to scream and wake up your audience.

You could also do some super cheesy vintage Etheridge, with as much sincerity as you can muster. "COME TO MAAAaahh WINDOooooW"...that would win ME over.
posted by Lieber Frau at 3:19 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just do a song you really like and OWN it. That will be way sexier\impressive\fun than some sudo love song, song about a girl or country song you're not really into.
posted by zephyr_words at 3:22 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a girl, who likes girls... When my girlfriend and I had been together for about a month, she made me a mixed CD (awwww, I still think it's so sweet); and, it included the following songs:

Extra Ordinary, Better than Ezra
Some Kind of Wonderful, Marvin Gaye
Better Together, Jack Johnson
I Drove All Night, Cyndi Lauper
Just Like Heaven, The Cure
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover, Sophie B. Hawkins

Some of those might work for karaoke.
posted by AlliKat75 at 3:28 PM on August 26, 2010


Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer. Most people have heard it, it's easy to sing, it's sexy and catchy...play it up!
posted by elder18 at 3:29 PM on August 26, 2010


I have only done karaoke once, but I brought the house down with a duet (with another guy) of "Just a Gigolo". The campy David Lee Roth version is best for this.
posted by elendil71 at 3:30 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm not sure if any of these will fit the bill, but I recently read 'Don't Stop Believin'" (the one about Karaoke, not the one about Jesus) and he has a list of what he thinks are 50 great songs for living it up at the k-bar at the end. Google books link.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, wow, I jut realized I left out a really important detail (a detail that made the "Psychokiller" recommendation sort of awkward): The terms of the bet dictate that my song has to be chosen with her in mind. I can't just sing a song; it has to be something that reminds me of her or is specifically somehow for her. That's why I'm kind of gravitating toward crush-type songs.
posted by girlstyle at 3:37 PM on August 26, 2010


Oh, c'mon. Challenge yourself.

"Unchained Melody"!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:37 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you want a crush song, why not "Crush on You" by the Jets? I guess it's kind of high, so maybe that rules it out. There's also the romantically ambiguous "Come Sail Away" by Styx, which has all kinds of amusement potential.
posted by Brak at 3:38 PM on August 26, 2010


You seriously can't go wrong with Madonna with your vocal range. My suggestion is "Open Your Heart"...it's perfect for a beginning-stage romance, though very slightly stalker-y. "Express Yourself" would be another great option.
posted by altopower at 3:53 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Neil Diamond "Cracklin' Rosie"

Comfortable baritone, so no straining, an easy yet impressive sounding vocal break, and lyrics of the type women love to hear.
posted by sourwookie at 4:06 PM on August 26, 2010


Neil Diamond "Cracklin' Rosie"

Comfortable baritone, so no straining, an easy yet impressive sounding vocal break, and lyrics of the type women love to hear.

That and Violent Femmes "Add It Up" have always been my go-to songs.
posted by sourwookie at 4:06 PM on August 26, 2010


Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders.
posted by telegraph at 4:09 PM on August 26, 2010


Can you clarify the venue? If it's an LGBT audience, this matters. There are certain artists who will be surer than others to elicit an enthusiastic response.
posted by Lieber Frau at 4:09 PM on August 26, 2010


Prince, When Doves Cry
posted by jabberjaw at 4:22 PM on August 26, 2010


If you're still thinking about One Way or Another - there's a karaoke rendition of it on the show Veronica Mars (12th episode, 1st season) that's super-cute and might inspire you.
posted by synchronia at 4:24 PM on August 26, 2010


I wouldn't sing I Want You to Want Me -- it's pretty repetitive, not that energetic, and kind of whiny. Good song, but not the best for karaoke.

Why not I'm a Believer, by Smashmouth? It's a song everyone knows, kind of flirty / fun, and has a rock-out moment. ("When I wanted sunshine, I GOT RAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!!!")
posted by ElfWord at 4:42 PM on August 26, 2010


Why not I'm a Believer, by Smashmouth ?

It was originally done by the Monkees!

posted by phatkitten at 4:47 PM on August 26, 2010


Is your ladyfriend a classic country fan? Because Patsy Cline is a heartbreaker. "I Fall to Pieces" could do the trick.

If you're cheeky enough and she has a good sense of humor, "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls would be awesome.

I will tell you a tale of successful karaoke song dedication. My girl sang me "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles while we slow danced and made the entire bar suffer through our treacly sappiness.
posted by Lieber Frau at 4:47 PM on August 26, 2010


(hit post too soon)

and Neil Diamond

posted by phatkitten at 4:47 PM on August 26, 2010


I think a gesture to her taste in music would be a nice complement.

Carleen Carter's I Fell in Love

Shania Twain's version of You're Still the One

Roseanne Cash's “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me

Big list of 90s singles here.

posted by Ideefixe at 4:50 PM on August 26, 2010


"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen?
posted by runningwithscissors at 4:50 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anything by Darkthrone.

Bonus points if you actually know Norwegian.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:50 PM on August 26, 2010


"I've Got a Crush On You" is the Linda Ronstadt/Nelson Riddle version, very lush and romantic.
posted by QuakerMel at 4:52 PM on August 26, 2010


If you're cheeky enough and she has a good sense of humor, "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls would be awesome.
This.
posted by Night_owl at 4:54 PM on August 26, 2010


Come Dancing, by the Kinks, or something by the Violent Femmes (Add It Up, Blister in the Sun)
posted by theredpen at 4:54 PM on August 26, 2010


Touch Me by The Doors. It's full of cheese!
posted by wherever, whatever at 5:01 PM on August 26, 2010


Seconding Brass in Pocket (original video here). Really good for an alto, and it's about getting someone to notice you.

I Touch Myself isn't a bad idea, either.
posted by bethist at 5:09 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm a guy, and even I would sing Lita Ford's Kiss Me Deadly at karaoke if they had it. Instant triple mega Valhalla win. You will seriously win so many cool points from the whole bar. Fights may break out, lifelong friendships formed, legends born. All because you had the ovaries to belt that one out and OWN IT. Spray them bangs up.
posted by Askr at 5:20 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the ironic but obvious vote, "I Kissed a Girl" by Jill Sobule.
posted by Leezie at 5:23 PM on August 26, 2010


The venue is a dive karaoke bar in the middle of the city. It's in the gayborhood/hipster neighborhood and the bar tends to reflect that pretty well. Ack, I have a lot of YouTube-ing to do to check out all these songs! Thanks for all the awesome recommendations so far!
posted by girlstyle at 5:27 PM on August 26, 2010


No contest, as far as I'm concerned: Joan Jett, "Crimson & Clover".
posted by Aversion Therapy at 6:04 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about the Country version of Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson?

Pet Shop Boy's version could work in a pinch and more likely to be available.
posted by Cog at 6:07 PM on August 26, 2010


Not to spam but I found the Willie Nelson version off YouTube.
posted by Cog at 6:11 PM on August 26, 2010


FWIW, since your special lady friend likes country, you're looking for a "crush" song and it's popped up several times in the thread, see if the DJ can dig up the Dwight Yoakam cover of "I Want You To Want Me."

If you want to tread on dangerous ground/ignite the next ironic craze that will likely have a sizable backlash by the same people who perpetuated it, you can also try Toto's "Africa" or REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Lovin You."
posted by KingEdRa at 6:20 PM on August 26, 2010


If U Seek Amy by Britney Spears for being a really tight song, about a crush, aaaand having a risqué double entendre.
posted by salvia at 6:28 PM on August 26, 2010


"Because the Night" by Patti Smyth
"Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon
"El Scorcho" by Weezer
"Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones
"Do You Wanna Touch" by Joan Jett
"Your Kiss" by Hall and Oates
posted by 23skidoo at 6:35 PM on August 26, 2010


She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 6:39 PM on August 26, 2010


"This Kiss" or "The Way You Love Me", both by Faith Hill. In your range and country, but not TOO country.
posted by lhauser at 7:18 PM on August 26, 2010


"What I got", sublime. Loads of fun to sing. And if this girl is as cool as you suggest, she'll like the song I'm sure.

If she likes older country, You never even call me by my name is a great song to sing too.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 7:30 PM on August 26, 2010


You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart by Sinead O'Connor
The Crystal Ship by The Doors
Gone Away by The Offspring
Shine It All Around by Robert Plant
I Want You (She's So Heavy) by the Beatles
Nantucket Sleighride by Mountain (I know you're the last true love I'll ever need.)

Can you tell I'm older than most MeFites?
posted by Bruce H. at 7:58 PM on August 26, 2010


A couple more oldies:

Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young
Darkness, Darkness by Jesse Colin Young
posted by Bruce H. at 8:11 PM on August 26, 2010


By the way... please let us know what you decide to sing... and how it goes, of course. I hope the girl in question is thoroughly wooed, after all this effort. :-)
posted by AlliKat75 at 8:16 PM on August 26, 2010


When my husband and I were just dating (18 years ago!), we went to karaoke night at my college and he sang a song for me.

It was absolutely sweet and adorable and funny, and we still joke about it to this day.

The song is timeless, a classic, a sure winner.

It's Close to You by the Carpenters.

Trust me, it's perfect!
posted by platinum at 9:04 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I thought of one more which might work, depending on the girl's sense of humor (and whether or not the song is overaoked where you are):

"Fuck Her Gently" by Tenacious D
posted by 23skidoo at 9:14 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mary Chapin Carpenter: It's been too long since somebody whispered, "ooooooooooooooh, Shut Up and Kiss Me."
posted by ambient2 at 10:11 PM on August 26, 2010


What about You're The One For Me, Fatty by Morrissey. It doesn't matter if she's fat or not, the song is just hilarious. I'd die laughing if someone sang this to me at karaoke.
posted by wherever, whatever at 10:31 PM on August 26, 2010


sudo love song
sudo make me a sandwich


They're bound to have the Chiffons' He's So Fine, which is recognizable, yearny, simple, gender-editable, and doesn't require a huge vocal range or any difficult interval leaps. Plus, if you're in the mood and feel like flexing your hilarity/lawsuit chops, you can sub in the lyrics from My Sweet Lord once in a while.

If she likes country music, Charlie Rich's The Most Beautiful Girl is sentimental and not difficult. You can corn it up if you can't face it unironically.
posted by Sallyfur at 12:14 AM on August 27, 2010


Absolutely Cuckoo.
posted by mbrock at 6:10 AM on August 27, 2010


Just Like Heaven by the Cure?
posted by electroboy at 6:28 AM on August 27, 2010


There is a country version of Snoop Dogg's Gin n Juice that never fails to crack me up. As with most Snoop songs, it is fairly offensive, but the real lulz lie in the delivery.
posted by elizardbits at 9:06 AM on August 27, 2010


The terms of the bet dictate that my song has to be chosen with her in mind.

I totally missed this point, ignore my suggestion of utter madness plz.
posted by elizardbits at 9:12 AM on August 27, 2010


With less than 12 hours to go, I'm totally nervous! I'm going to have to pick a few of these to speed-learn in case some of them aren't in the book. You guys are awesome!
posted by girlstyle at 12:34 PM on August 27, 2010


Oh, man, I'm probably too late, but for posterity:

"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" Lauryn Hill version. *Great* crush song, and if you can sing Killing Me Softly, you can sing this.
posted by lunasol at 3:25 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let us know what you pick. :)
posted by salvia at 7:37 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Commodores, Easy.
posted by brand-gnu at 6:22 PM on August 28, 2010


Well? What did you pick? How did it go?
posted by platinum at 4:56 PM on August 29, 2010


The suspense, it is killing me!
posted by altopower at 9:59 AM on September 1, 2010


An old friend came into town unexpectedly the night of our karaoke rendezvous and I never got the chance to sing for her. Such a let down after all this preparation! She had a family emergency and moved away two weeks later.
posted by girlstyle at 12:27 AM on September 27, 2010


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