Saturday, September 1, 2007

In Search of the Perfect Karaoke Song...

Last night found me in another karaoke bar, but this one topped the others. This one, in the vicinity of St. Marks, was a fine Japanese establishment that actually had private rooms, like the one in Lost in Translation. (Naturally, I've never been to Japan, so I can only make a pop culture reference, as usual.)

We didn't get a private room, because the main bar area got pretty crazy as the night wore on, and I spent the night, aside from getting pretty hammered off Sapporo and Sake (ah, Sake, its like getting drunk on boiled Rice Krispies), trying to figure out the perfect song to sing along to. Now, this is an ongoing struggle for me. Sure, you've got your easy crowd-pleasers: Elton John, U2, Oasis, even Billy Joel or some 80's throwback. But I'm constantly trying to up my game. Maybe some Kenny Loggins? Maybe some Elvis? Or even the Kenny Rogers classic "What Condition My Condition Was In."

The key to good karaoke is not to sing a song you personally love, or a song you think people will recognize, because it's not about that. It's about getting that vibe going in the room as you belt it out. People don't need to know the words, they're on the screen. People don't need to like the song, because you'll do that for them. You have to croon. You have to sing to the ladies. So you gotta pick a song that's going to do that. The main example is The Cable Guy:

I mean, Jefferson Airplane...just a classic choice. Judd Apatow once again, ladies and gentlemen.

So what did I do? I didn't toe the line, I just sang a sure hit. Oasis...Don't Look Back in Anger...again. I crooned. I sang to some ladies. And I found a pocket of folks in the corner who sang along every word with me. It wasn't my best performance (that would be the time a couple years ago when I sang Elton John's Your Song and had a girl asking to go home with me afterwards...nice), but it was still pretty solid. Sigh.

It's have so many Japanese cocktails and you grow impatient. The song selection books are huge, and how are you supposed to wade through all those thousands of songs to find the right one for the right moment for the right crowd? So I think I'll start carrying a "karaoke grocery list" with me, for just these cases. But that's going to be a process. But the next time I'm faced with a karaoke will be legendary.

And not like this poor bastard:

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