I love the karaoke.
Oh, you knew that already?
One of the things you have to deal with when you go to a karaoke place on a regular basis you have to endure along with bad singing is songs that suck that everybody likes to sing or songs that may be good but should never be done by even good singers.
My top ten list in no particular order.
1."Don't Stop Believing" by Journey- I never liked Journey, the only song I like from them is "Lights". Part of the problem is that Steve Perry is an incredible vocalist that most people should never attempt to do. In the karaoke world this song gets "sung" at least once a night, one host I go to will not allow it to get done more than once. I hated this song from the day it was released in 1981. Usually a group of three or more people would get up there and sing it out of tune in at least two different ways. Time to pee.
2."Piano Man" by Billy Joel- I used to like this song until it became to "go to" song to play on the jukebox especially at the end of the night in the 80's and 90's. In karaoke world this almost always gets sung by a drunk who's either a Fratboy or a Wall Street douche bag. They always call out for the audience to sing along but if it's early enough no one is drunk enough to be in the mood. I accept is as a closing song of the night, because I can then leave.
3."What's Up" by Four Non Blondes- I hate this song with a passion! Always. First of all, Gee, what a clever name for a band "Four Non Blondes". They weren't blonde! And the insipid lyrics the song contains doesn't improve on the wordplay. Using words like institution and revolution doesn't make for a good song. In karaoke world the girls love the song. They feel its uplifting, with feminist leanings I guess but it's just a stupid song.
4."Killing Me Softly" by the Fugees version changes its meaning by giving a light hip hop beat to it- The original song by Roberta Flack is a decent "smooth jazz" song. You feel for the protagonist's feeling about being betrayed. The Fugees. It sounds like a spoiled little girl is singing it. Plus, I rarely go a night of karaoke without hearing it. It has a "cold start" whose cue almost everyone misses. I'm amazed that I have never heard anyone do the Lauryn Hill song "That Thing" in all my years doing karaoke. It's the same singer, it was a huge hit back in the day. It would be a refreshing change.
5."American Pie" by Don McClean- Is there a longer hit song on record that doesn't feature a 10 minute drum solo? No solos at all, and yet this song is 8 and a half minutes long. a very slow beginning , a very slow ending and a mid tempo middle that doesn't vary for 6 minutes. It starts off with him finding out about the death of a rock musician (Buddy Holly?) and everything that has happened from then until 1971, the year the song was written. It's a good thing he didn't write it in 1986. This song has the DJ walking away to smoke at Mad Hatters. It's a good time to take a piss, heck it's a good time to take a shit when this song comes on!
6."Paradise By The Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf- It's yet another 8 and a half minute song but at least this one is a duet with male and female lead vocals. It goes on and on but does feature a nice little baseball play by play by the late great Phil Rizzuto in the original. Now this song could be fun and is the only one I have done on the list if both singers are good and if some one does a good Phil Rizzuto. That almost never happens, although when I did it with a Icelandic girl with missing teeth, it was pretty good. Another time A girl asked me to do it in reverse. I was the female and she was a male. That was a hoot. Otherwise, the song is butchered from the start and 8 minutes is a long time to wait for it to end.
7. "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Bonny Tyler another long song also written by Jim Steinman for Meatloaf who couldn't do it. In karaoke world this always gets sung by men who love to shout out "fuckin" throughout the song. They play by the rule if I can't sing it good normal, I'll sing it LOUD! Apparently there's a scene in "Old School" that does the song with the "fuckin" words in it. People recommend that movie to me, doing the song that way is not an endorsement.
8. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood- American Idol. Has there been a worse pox thrown at the American public than this? The ultra popularity of this show has baffled me from day one. Bland singers singing even blander songs. Sure, there has been popular records that have come form the show but once the singers get out of the American Idol cocoon and strike out on their own, the success is fleeting. Carrie Underwood is an exception. Still she went from one cocoon to another. (Nashville) This song was a big hit for Underwood. Women like to sing it because it's a revenge song. A revenge song that in reverse, would get a man arrested if he did what the female singer in the song says she did. The lyrics are a celebration of red neck trailer trash culture. It's an annoying trend similar to the annoying trend of hip hop artists celebrating ghetto life. Also this song usually gets sung by a group of women singing high pitchily out of tune.
9. "Living On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi- I grew up in New Jersey but I don't like Bon Jovi. To me they're still a relic of the 80's, a decade of bland music that pales to the 70's, 60's, and even 90's. Bon Jovi has a voice that tries to be Springsteen but with less passion. This song gets done in karaoke because it allows the audience to join in, which for most people is a plus. Not for me.
10. "Baby Got Back" by Sir-Mix-A-Lot- This is probably the most popular rap song done in karaoke, or at least it's the most popular one done in white karaoke bars. It gets done by white guys who want to be down with their brothers, who aren't there of course. Almost every time this got sung at Ozzie's in Seattle all the skinny girls got up to shake their toothpick tushes as though they represent the desires of the singer.
Honorable Mention: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen- Oh how good this song is. But it should never have been made for a karaoke song. It's too complex, involves too many studio tricks to make the song work, and Freddy Mercury's vocals are too good for it to be tainted. How I cringe when I hear some one attempt it on the auditions for American Idol (Every year the promos features at least someone doing it). I've heard some damn good singers do it and it still kinds sucks. Queen didn't even try to so it completely live. I think in the future the karaoke hosts should prudently pretend they don't have it in their collection. And just because they did it "Wayne's World" doesn't mean you should do it! They didn't sing it, they lip synced.