Karaoke help.
January 15, 2007 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I have an awful, awful voice. Any suggestions for a go to karaoke song that is short, more like talking than singing and not too intimidating for someone who has never done karaoke before?

I've checked the karaoke cliche thread so I know what I should be staying away from. It would be great to have at least one song - so I don't always have to be the one who doesn't sing while everyone else tries to get me up there to sing. Many thanks.
posted by birgitte to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (40 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Ice Ice Baby, or any other old slow rap. No singing needed
posted by magikker at 7:07 PM on January 15, 2007

How about Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know"... It's almost like a spoken-word performance, and you can sing it low and angry (which works well for someone with a non-melodic voice).
posted by amyms at 7:08 PM on January 15, 2007

how about "Another Saturday night" by Cat Stephens?
posted by parmanparman at 7:09 PM on January 15, 2007

"I Know What Boys Like" by Bow Wow Wow?
posted by justonegirl at 7:19 PM on January 15, 2007

Through years of experience, I have learned that having almost no range is not an impediment to loving karaoke. Great options that don't require much actual singing:

Talking Heads
"New Sensation" by INXS (it's almost all shouting, not singing)

...and while it's almost definitely a cliche, if you choose Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," no one will hear you because they'll all be singing along.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:20 PM on January 15, 2007

Any '90s rap should work... I've done well with "Do Me" or "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe.
posted by k8t at 7:20 PM on January 15, 2007

That would be, "I Know What Boys Like" by The Waitresses. :) I'm assuming you'd have to search through the book by artist.
posted by tigerbelly at 7:20 PM on January 15, 2007

if you choose Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," no one will hear you because they'll all be singing along

My lord, I cannot emphasize enough how true this is. I have never seen Sweet Caroline performed without a bar-wide singalong.
posted by tigerbelly at 7:21 PM on January 15, 2007

"Rocket Man" and do it Shatner style.

Practically little singing involved and people get a huge kick out of it.
posted by champthom at 7:22 PM on January 15, 2007

These Boots Were Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra
We Will Rock You by Queen
Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles

If you're not much of a singer, go for novelty or group participation! It's more fun than being "impressive" anyhow. I really like to go with a group so game that we all pick for one another. If all else fails, sabotage everyone around you!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:28 PM on January 15, 2007

"I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor accompanied by overly animated movement. Maybe not the easiest, but it'll help you keep things in perspective while you're up there. ;-)
posted by eli_d at 7:31 PM on January 15, 2007

Prince - When Doves Cry
posted by dydecker at 7:38 PM on January 15, 2007

I promise you, Grasshopper, you can never go wrong with Hey Jude! (Beatles) The key is, is to just keep it low key, quiet and don't let anyone notice you until the "Heeey jude jedy juey jued JUEYDD!" part and just belt it out, "HEEEYY JEEEUDY JUDE!"

Just make sure to give the song a good listen right before going out, I always have it on my iPod on my way to the bar.

After the song is over keep singing the "Hey Judy jude" refrain and I give you the Benzle Guarantee that applause will follow!!

Oh yeah, and be drunk, very very drunk.
posted by nintendo at 7:40 PM on January 15, 2007

New York, New York
posted by LoriFLA at 7:49 PM on January 15, 2007

Don't do a rap unless you know all the words (and the timing!) before you go up there. You will look WAY worse than someone who just sings badly but clearly knows the song. I've made this mistake myself a few times, but a bad rap is really a room killer.
"Faith" by George Michael is a very easy song for a woman with not much range. But you're probably best off doing a group piece or something like the aforementioned "Sweet Caroline" (or "Piano Man") that everyone knows and will be singing along to.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:50 PM on January 15, 2007

If you're gonna consume some liquor to take the edge off (sound advice from nintendo, as noted above) be sure to have a LARGE glass of water at your side during your actual performance.
Holding on to something can lessen the jitters, you can use it as an effective prop to underscore the words, and you don't want to risk "dry mouth" when singing-- it'll be that much harder to produce a pleasant sound.
posted by Dizzy at 8:22 PM on January 15, 2007

Seconding ch1x0r -- most rap is a bad idea unless you really know all the words.

"Love Shack" by the B-52's is fun and energetic, has verses that can be spoken instead of sung, and you can probably get help from your friends and the rest of the audience on the choruses. Holler out "TIN ROOF! RUSTED..." with enough gusto and the love of the crowd will be yours.
posted by junkbox at 8:29 PM on January 15, 2007

I've always gotten good results with Jimmy Buffet songs and not due to my singing. Bar crowds usually react positively to the drinking and drug references.
posted by mmascolino at 8:49 PM on January 15, 2007

"It Was a Very Good Year" (probably listed in the book under Sinatra, though many have done it) can be mostly talked in a cheesily dramatic way. See if you can find Shatner's version to listen to first.
posted by lisa g at 8:52 PM on January 15, 2007

Ha, I found Shatner for you here (youtubage).

It's almost too much to bear.
posted by lisa g at 8:56 PM on January 15, 2007

King of the Road, by Roger Miller.
posted by paulsc at 9:18 PM on January 15, 2007

Oh, lots of Sinatra, but for bad singing, My Way is tops, baby.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:43 PM on January 15, 2007

"Mac the Knife"
posted by kirkaracha at 9:48 PM on January 15, 2007

seconding junkbox on the B-52s' "Love Shack." It's on pretty much every karaoke list, and the karaokeist's part is almost all spoken. Do, however, listen to it in the car before you go so you can get the rhythms right.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:50 PM on January 15, 2007

I always do "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." There's no singing required, and if you have a good southern baptist preacher voice you can rock it out.
posted by muddylemon at 12:04 AM on January 16, 2007

"Take a Walk on the Wild Side" Lou Reed.
posted by wsg at 1:30 AM on January 16, 2007

How about some late 80s/early 90s raps? "Bust a Move" by Young MC or "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot? You get irony/nostalgia points, too.

Or, you could just go with something that's so overplayed no one really cares if you butcher it -- "You Shook Me All Night Long" by ACDC comes to mind (and it's another not-really-singing number).
posted by AV at 5:20 AM on January 16, 2007

"Pasties and a G-String" by Tom Waits
posted by plinth at 5:26 AM on January 16, 2007

"Big John" by Johnny Cash.
posted by konolia at 6:04 AM on January 16, 2007

Here I Am by Lyle Lovett is almost entirely spoken, only the chorus is sung (maybe it won't be in the karaoke offerings then? I have no idea). You could have a lot of fun with that one, playing with spoken emphasis and so on.
posted by nelleish at 6:57 AM on January 16, 2007

When "Stay" by Lisa Loeb became popular in the mid-90s, my girlfriends and I used to say that you couldn't sound bad singing that song.
posted by amro at 7:29 AM on January 16, 2007

I"m like you; my girlfriend loves karaoke, but it makes me unusually self-conscious. I've had success with Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" -- just do the "WHOA-OH-OH...OH!" part with gusto, and the rest comes easily. (Do a search for "Viking Kittens" ... it's still online!)
posted by Sterling Hoyt at 7:59 AM on January 16, 2007

REM - It's the End of the World as We Know It
posted by ludwig_van at 8:53 AM on January 16, 2007

(Which, by the way, was sung in Greenwich village by our own armoured-ant about a week ago, shortly before I did Hey Jude, so I'm speaking from recent experience)
posted by ludwig_van at 8:55 AM on January 16, 2007

Cake - Going The Distance
posted by Quarter Pincher at 9:42 AM on January 16, 2007

Whatever song you choose, you can practice it in private here for free
posted by rhizome at 9:44 AM on January 16, 2007

I'm really surprised no one's mentioned any David Lee Roth era Van Halen... Jamies Cryin', Where Have All The Good Times Gone, Panama, Jump? Just get loud, get drunk, and practice going "Skiddley bop! Wow!!!"

The more Jack Daniels you've downed, or Camels you've smoked, the closer to the DLR experience you'll be.
posted by stenseng at 4:15 PM on January 16, 2007

definitely cake- maybe i will survive? a bonus is that every karaoke machine has this song, the gloria gaynor version, but the cake cover matches perfectly.
posted by twistofrhyme at 1:17 AM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the comments. I will go forth and sing.
posted by birgitte at 8:36 PM on January 24, 2007

"desperate but not serious"
posted by rhizome at 12:41 AM on October 6, 2007

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