Your Uncommon Song
October 4, 2016 4:26 PM   Subscribe

So I love karaoke. I go to karaoke. I got my usual song choices. What might my not-so-common song choices be?

Friend and I have been hitting up a bit of a dive bar with karaoke every other week, and it is one of the best regular experiences of my life. I seriously love it. We're becoming regulars. We're in with the hostess, we're in with the crowd. The drinks are cheap. We get to sing like 10 times most nights. It is awesome!

BUT, with so many times to sing, I'm running out of things to sing and quickly. So throw some more at me. I am really, really, really good at the strong 80s ladies thing. I rock Pat Benatar and Bonnie Tyler. I can also do soft 90s Lisa Loeb pretty darn well as well as Sheryl Crowe. I've done Journey and Marc Cohn. I have a pretty flexible voice, and I can carry a melody pretty well, though my rhythm is not the best. I'm not looking to impress. I'm looking to have fun! I will seriously consider ANY suggestion, so throw your favorites at me! Especially if they are not ones done at karaoke all the time! All genres welcomed!
posted by zizzle to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (34 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You sound like you have a similar karaoke style/repertoire as I do. Here are some songs I've had success with:

Alanis Morrissette-You Oughta Know (put some extra emphasis on the "are you thinking of me when you fuck her," people go nuts for that).
Patti Smith-Because the Night
Jefferson Airplane-Somebody to Love
Janis Joplin-Mercedes Benz
Garbage-I'm Only Happy When it Rains
4 Non Blondes-What's Up
No Doubt-Just a Girl
Harvey Danger-Flagpole Sitta
Credence Clearwater Revival-Have You Ever Seen the Rain
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:37 PM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Jewel, Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac (esp Landslide), Heart, The Carpenters, and Alison Krauss are some of my stand-bys. But I also love doing Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet, It's Oh So Quiet by Bjork, Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes, PotUSA (Little Dunebuggy, Peaches, and Some Postman), and if I can get a few people up with me, a rousing rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. The whole bar always gets into that one. When I've had a few drinks, I'll also do Dreams by The Cranberries.
posted by weeyin at 4:39 PM on October 4, 2016

Girls Talk a la Linda Ronstadt
Picture This - Blondie
Black Velvet - Alannah Myles
Anything by Heart - Here's Magic Man
posted by carmicha at 4:41 PM on October 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Sounds like you could do well with Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt.
posted by telegraph at 4:42 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not looking to impress. I'm looking to have fun! I will seriously consider ANY suggestion

A friend of mine who has a good voice told me that Once In A Lifetime was her most disastrous karaoke experience. I've never heard it karaoke'd, and because I'm an irascible curmudgeon I actually get sort of annoyed when people who can obviously sing come up and knock softball songs out of the park. That is not what I want - I want glorious failures. So, Once In A Lifetime.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:48 PM on October 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh, Kiss Me Deadly by Lita Ford is one of my favorites. Tends to be unexpected. I also liked singing Baba O'Reily by The Who. Kiss Them For Me by Siouxsie and the Banshees (if you ever find Cities in Dust, do that one, but I've never seen it available at karaoke). Sounds like you're a lot of fun!
posted by vivzan at 4:54 PM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

One more: Your Love by The Outfield.
posted by vivzan at 4:56 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Linda Rondstadt is basically the best for this. But if I were you, what I would do, is invest in a few hours at a local karaoke BOOTH (instead of a bar) and just plug in every song you can think of. Go alone or with your regular friend. Just try out a bunch of songs you wouldn't risk in a bar. And see where that takes you!
posted by pazazygeek at 4:57 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oddball rockers I've seen done well by female karaokists:

"My Own Worst Enemy," Lit
"Flagpole Sitta," Harvey Danger
posted by HeroZero at 5:00 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Neil Diamond. Sweet Caroline, obviously, but there's a lot to work with. A lot of cheese.
posted by kerf at 5:06 PM on October 4, 2016

I don't hear enough Joan Jett at karaoke, and Bad Reputation and I Love Rock 'n' Roll are both lots of fun. Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield) and Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin) also tend to go over well for me.
posted by EvaDestruction at 5:40 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Danny's Song, Loggins and Messina. It is the ultimate as a karaoke uniter. Easy to sing, everyone knows it.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:41 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not sure how common it is at karaoke, but still: Kim Wilde's Kids in America.
posted by Wobbuffet at 5:50 PM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

On the "not done at karaoke very often" tip, one of my friends once sang "Help the Aged" by Pulp at a karaoke night. That was awesome, and ever since I've been thinking of what they most unexpected song to antagonize an audience would be, while still being fun to sing and entertaining. I've come up with "King of Carrot Flowers" by Neutral Milk Hotel for a man and "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush for a woman. Try it, please!
posted by kevinbelt at 6:31 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

You want fun? Sing something by Jimmy Buffet. All the drinking and drug references in the songs are always crowd pleasers.
posted by mmascolino at 7:01 PM on October 4, 2016

"These Boots are Made for Walking", Nancy Sinatra.
posted by Lucinda at 7:03 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Back for Good by Take That
posted by Fig at 7:04 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Now that I'm having a flashback to my late nights of karaoke... Some other favorites:

Wind of Change (whistling optional), The Scorpions

Toto's Africa is a classic, not uncommon but still good.

These Dreams and Alone, Heart

The Flame by Cheap Trick
posted by Fig at 7:16 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

My defaults are "Give me one reason" by Tracy Chapman and "Running on empty" by Jackson Browne.
posted by sucre at 7:24 PM on October 4, 2016

If rocking 80s ladies is working for you, I'd consider the Pretenders, "Hong Kong Garden" by Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Sweet Dreams are Made of This" and "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurythmics, "I Touch Myself" by the DIVinyls, "Barracuda" and "Magic Man" by Heart and "The Warrior" by Patty Smythe/Scandal and definitely "Never Say Never" by Romeo Void.
posted by layceepee at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2016

"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" The Looking Glass
"Rich Girl" Hall and Oates
"Peg" Steely Dan
"Roam" The B-52's

and my new favorite:
"Valerie" Steve Winwood

My hard-earned experience? Proceed with caution when attempting Heart.
posted by cakelite at 8:14 PM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Heart and Soul by T'Pau
Joey, I'm Not Angry Any More by Concrete Blonde
Friday I'm in Love With You by The Cure
Give Me Back My Man by the B-52s should properly be considered a pinnacle of Western civilization
Everyday Boy by Joan Armatrading
Avalon by Roxy Music
Mamy Rivers to Cross is a pretty good 'last call' song. Jimmy Cliff wrote it, and many people covered it.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:25 PM on October 4, 2016

What's New, Pussycat? in the style of Tom Jones
All Around the World, Lisa Stansfield
Call Me, Blondie
Take My Breath Away, Berlin
Touch Me, Cathy Dennis
Groove is in the Heart, Deelite
Missing, Everything But the Girl
Destiny, Zero 7
Don't You Want Me, Human League (fun as a duet)
if your voice is truly versatile, anything by Goldfrapp... or Prince
posted by infinitewindow at 10:33 PM on October 4, 2016

We have the same karaoke repertoire and enthusiasm, and I am dying to absolutely nail Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Lights complete with baseball commentary.
posted by athirstforsalt at 11:43 PM on October 4, 2016

Oh lord. I used to have a list saved on my phone in case I found myself in an "emergency karaoke" situation.

Gypsies, Tramps and Theives by Cher
Hunka Burnin Love
Don't You want Me Baby (fun duet)
Just a Gigolo (Diamond Dave or Louis Prima version)

I have a friend who's standard is Too Drunk to Fuck. I have another friend who can flawlessy sing both parts of Shaggy's It Wasn't Me. It's AMAZING.

But I definitely go for glorious failures, a la Jon Mitchell above.
posted by Brittanie at 5:08 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

After watching Emma Stone nail it lip syncing on Jimmy Fallon (starts at 1:50), I've though Hook by Blues Traveler would be hysterical.
posted by cecic at 5:37 AM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I always feel out the crowd with Natalie Imbruglia's Torn.
posted by evoque at 6:15 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Reggatta de Blanc by The Police
posted by Rob Rockets at 9:01 AM on October 5, 2016

First, congratulations on living the karaoke life; as someone who was pretty meh about it until four years ago or so and is now on a mission to do karaoke in all 50 states before I die, I understand how it can become a weird thing you suddenly crave.

There are a lot of good suggestions here for you; reviewing my karaoke spreadsheet (which is overkill but I do suggest starting a list you can easily access so that when you hear a song and think "That'd be great for karaoke" you have it for later), the only thing that I see missing that fits what it sounds like you are going for is The Go-Gos.

Also Suddenly Last Summer by the Motels is pretty great. And Harden My Heart by Quaterflash.

Another suggestion: I put songs I might want to try or have done successfully on a Spotify list and from that use it to create a station based on that playlist. The suggestions that comes from that has given me lots of winners.

a dive bar with karaoke every other week, and it is one of the best regular experiences of my life. I seriously love it.

Please continue to cherish this as much as it seems you are; a good karaoke location that you love is a precious gift. (RIP Blue Frog)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:25 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yes!!! These are all awesome! Keep 'em coming as you have them!
posted by zizzle at 12:02 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by exogenous at 7:43 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Shit, I'm gonna add Goldfinger to my list. So great.

I forgot another one I used to do a lot: Squeezebox
posted by Brittanie at 2:01 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I heard 'Psycho Killer' by Talking Heads this morning, and immediately thought of this question.
posted by Fig at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Savage Garden I Want You lets you show off how skillful you are at singing those really fast lyrics. And you can dance during that break at 02:40!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:20 PM on November 11, 2016

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