Karaokefilter, fast talker edition
June 10, 2019 3:47 PM   Subscribe

I don’t have a huge vocal range, but I love karaoke and do have a good sense of rhythm and a natural tendency to speak/sing quickly. Nailing “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” by REM is my favorite karaoke party trick. What other fast, wordy, mostly spoken or low-range songs can I use to impress a crowd? More criteria behind the fold.

In addition to End of the World, I’ve also done okay with “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al; didn’t 100 percent get the words, but I could nail it with another try or two. I would be all over ”Heavy Boobs” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend if my local karaoke DJ had it, but alas no. I also do more melodic stuff, but my vocal range is low and narrow so I want to add more spoken/half-sung options. (In case it helps, more melodic things that I enjoy doing include “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrissette, “Because the Night” by Patti Smith, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by CCR, and “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger).

-Any era is fine so long as I run a good chance of finding it at a karaoke place.
-I’m okay, even enthusiastic, about raunch and over-the-top innuendo and euphemisms as long as there is no overt misogyny.
-Nothing with n words or other content that would be wildly inappropriate coming from a white woman.
-Short instrumental breaks or none at all; I am terrible at filling in those awkward gaps with improv.
-The more words I can squeeze in at once the better!

Thank you in advance, got a karaoke event coming up this week and I want to branch out and try new things!
posted by ActionPopulated to Media & Arts (46 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
"We didn't start the fire" is a classic example of this genre. Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" is another good one.
posted by brainmouse at 3:50 PM on June 10 [15 favorites]

Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" is like the canonical example of this.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:50 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

But also "Ain't Goin' Down" if you want to country it up!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:52 PM on June 10

If the karaoke place has musicals/novelty songs, there's always La Vie Boheme from Rent. And The Elements by Tom Leher.

With a little more melody, but not much: American Pie by Don McLean.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:55 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

"9 to 5" by Dolly Parton is surprisingly fast and predictably fun.
posted by unknowncommand at 3:58 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]

I've Been Everywhere, by Johnny Cash
posted by umber vowel at 3:58 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]

Oh! And a lot of stuff by Salt-N-Pepa works for this!
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:59 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

"Life is a Rock," by Reunion? It's pretty much a 1974 version of "It's the End of the World," at least in terms of that vocal trick, and the chorus is great if you want to get the crowd involved after one 'teaching' round.
posted by WCityMike at 4:01 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]

Can’t really guess if a karaoke DJ would have it, but Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) has always been my personal example of this - and The Elements. (dammit)
posted by Calibandage at 4:01 PM on June 10

Calibandage, jinx.

Also, see TVTropes' Patter Song and List Song articles.
posted by WCityMike at 4:02 PM on June 10

side note: "Life is a Rock" got co-opted for the McDonald's menu song.
posted by WCityMike at 4:07 PM on June 10

I've found TMBG's "Birdhouse in Your Soul" in a karaoke catalog before -- their songs have plenty of fast clever wordplay.

Really though, anything can be done spoken word if the crowd is drunk enough. For example, "Rocket Man" in the style of Wililam Shatner.

"Jump Around" or other Cypress Hill, US3's "Cantaloop" if they have it, maybe even "Baby Got Back" or "Humpty Dance" if appropriate...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:07 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Lots of good suggestions here. I’d add: “Pump It Up” by Elvis Costello, a lot of Kesha (Tik Tok, Die Young, Your Love Is My Drug).
posted by SoftRain at 4:15 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Also "Buffalo Stance" by Neneh Cherry would be pretty fun.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:16 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Have you ever considered... rap? I myself have a couple of Hamilton numbers down pat, though sadly no karaoke place I've ever been to has those songs :(
posted by MiraK at 4:24 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Two a little older: Jerry Reed: She Got the Gold Mine (I Got The Shaft), Leroy Van Dyke: The Auctioneer.
posted by straw at 4:24 PM on June 10

Mary Jane’s Last Dance-Tom Petty
Short Skirt/ Long Jacket- Cake
Life is a Highway- Tom Cochrane
Subterranean Homesick Blues- Bob Dylan
Popular- Nada Surf
Teenage Dirtbag- Wheatus
El Scorcho-Weezer
posted by Champagne Supernova at 4:27 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Tom Waits - "Step Right Up" fits 790 words in 5:40 and is right in the spoke-sung range you mention.
posted by Lexica at 4:38 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

If you could pull off "I Am the Very Model of the Modern Major General," you would receive standing ovations.
posted by Dr. Wu at 4:49 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]

Okay there is a bit of an instrumental break, but You Can Call Me Al is a good choice if you’re up for pantomiming some saxophone.
posted by jeoc at 5:08 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

It is in fact a penny whistle solo in You Can Call Me Al, not a saxophone.
posted by jeoc at 5:15 PM on June 10

If you have a partner who can sing the chorus with you, the non-chorus bits of ABC are surprisingly fast.
posted by joycehealy at 5:52 PM on June 10

I regretted doing Bowie’s Golden Years once because I forgot about the fast talky bit :/ (which I do *not* enjoy. One of those karaoke moments where you realize midway through that you really just wanted to *hear* a particular song.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:19 PM on June 10

Blink-182's Party Song is idiotic but fits this genre well.
posted by gatorae at 6:35 PM on June 10

"Guns and Ships," or really anything featuring a Daveed Diggs character from Hamilton.
posted by praemunire at 6:41 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Here's a short, fun song (with somewhat complex lyrics) that only late-70s/early-80s pop-punkers will know :) Packed full of words, no breaks, done in 3 minutes.

Squeeze - Up The Junction (karaoke)

Squeeze - Up The Junction (original with video)
posted by intermod at 6:49 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

I like to do this too, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us is a holy grail for me.
posted by capricorn at 7:06 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

"88 Lines about 44 Women" - The Nails
"So What Cha Want" - Beastie Boys
"People Who Died" - Jim Carroll Band
"Add it Up" - Violent Femmes
posted by jzb at 8:19 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

“Two princes”- Spin Doctors
“Lose Yourself” - Eminem
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 9:10 PM on June 10

Letters to Cleo, Here and Now
posted by armeowda at 9:59 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

I'm not a karaokist so I dunno about availability, but maybe:
Denis Leary - Asshole
TLC - Waterfalls
posted by inexorably_forward at 11:10 PM on June 10

"Bust A Move" - Young MC is a fun karaoke song and a crowd pleaser (depending on the age of the crowd)
posted by emd3737 at 2:42 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]

Most songs by Cake!
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:07 AM on June 11

The full version of Woke Up This Morning by Alabama 3 (you will already know the remix as the theme song to The Sopranos) has a really fun, fast spoken/rap part.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:51 AM on June 11

My brother was booed off stage at a karaoke night for being incapable of keeping up with the spoken parts of Bad Babysitter by Princess Superstar. YMMV.
posted by cardinalandcrow at 9:29 AM on June 11

Seconding the suggestion to rap. I started karaoke-rapping about 5 years ago and it is SO MUCH MORE FUN than karaoke-singing.
posted by millipede at 10:56 AM on June 11

Eminem - the real slim shady
Eve 6 - inside out
They might be giants - Instanbul

I'm not sure about karaoke availability, but just about anything from The Lonely Island would work.
posted by euphoria066 at 11:21 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

Give It Away Now by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]

I once brought the house down at a college formal event by doing Wild Wild West by Will Smith at karaoke. I think a lot of Will Smith's bigger singles would probably also do well at karaoke—Miami, Gettin' Jiggy Wit It, etc.

Also, I've never seen someone do Ice Ice Baby (at least who knew all the words by heart) who didn't have the entire bar stoked out of their minds. YMMV, depending on how much you like that song.

Also, yes, for sure Cake is GREAT for relatively fast talk-singing. Never There and The Distance might fit the bill.

Finally, this is sort of an edge case for your ask, but one of my favorite karaoke songs (as someone with a similar singing range to what you describe) is Staring at the Sun by The Offspring. Not much wordplay there, but after the opening salvo, the whole song is just a frantic quest to keep up with shouting the words while also continuing to breathe enough to keep shouting.
posted by helloimjennsco at 12:48 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]

Rocky Road to Dublin
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:16 AM on June 12

Any Squeeze song
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:56 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]

I can’t believe I forgot Blackalicious’ Alphabet Aerobics! (Link goes to Daniel Radcliffe doing it, which is amazing).
posted by Weeping_angel at 10:48 AM on June 16

« Older How to fight the curse of the divergent thinker?   |   How are you digitally keeping tracking of your... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments