Karaoke, with the right crowd and the proper level of “lubrication” can be a great time; a fun, low pressure way for friends to show off hidden talent or, perhaps a lack of talent coupled with great enthusiasm. We here at “The Fan” urge folks to “Always Represent,” we encourage singers of all talent levels to attack their karaoke performances with gusto and we hate to be haters, but the following tunes need to be banned from karaoke venues post haste until further notice.
Bonnie Tyler – “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
Invariably, whoever performs this song at karaoke will ape the profanity-laden version performed by The Dan Band in Old School (2003). Look, that joke worked really well the first time, in a movie that is now thirteen-years-old, but it is not your joke and, even if it was, the novelty has worn off.
Yeah, we’ve all seen Old School
Possible Alternative: Cher – “If I Could Turn Back Time”: You can’t add the “fucks” in the same way but the song caters to the same vocal type.
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Yeah, you and, like, everyone else in the world know all the words to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” As with “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the comic possibilities for “Bohemian Rhapsody” were discovered, perfected, and exhausted by a single movie; Wayne’s World (1992) in this case. You’re not brining anything new to this one.
Possible Alternative: David Bowie – “Space Oddity”: A different operatic “story song,” with more novelty in it still
Sir Mixalot – “Baby Got Back”
The problem with “Baby Got Back” is that it is a novelty song that non-hip hop fans think is representative of all of hip hop. Performers of this song often don’t know the words beyond the first verse and the immortal “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hon.” While it is good to remind people of your anaconda’s preferences, please do so outside of your karaoke performances.
Possible Alternative: Biz Markie – “Just a Friend”: A quasi-novelty rap tune to which the audience can sing along. It’s a popular song but not over done by the karaoke crowd.
“Summer Nights” from Grease.
This cute duet is no longer so cute, think of something more original. We know you like the part at the end where you go “Nighhh-hiiiites!” but it’s tired. It’s so tired.
Possible Alternative: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – “Time of My Life”: Also a popular duet from a movie, it’s incredibly well-known but the karaoke possibilities have not been exhausted to the extent that “Summer Nights” has.
Meatloaf – “Paradise by The Dashboard Light”
This is a similarly exhausted duet. Also, it’s long as hell.
Possible Alternative: Ann Wilson and Mike Reno – “Almost Paradise”: A different duet; shorter and will appeal to the “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” crowd. Bonus: Both songs have the word “paradise” in the title.
Neil Diamond – “Sweet Caroline”
I think we all get enough of this one at sporting events, knock it off, there are better options for when you want the entire crowd to sing along.
Possible Alternative: Queen – “We are The Champions”: This is a song that is constantly underrated because of its association with sports. It’s a great song and everyone will sing along, just like you want.
Journey- “Don’t Stop Believin’”
Another sing-along anthem that has been done to death.
Possible Alternative: The Outfield – “Your Love”: Surprisingly, not many people do this one for karaoke even though it’s a popular tune with which everyone will sing along.
Frank Sinatra – “My Way”
It’s understandable that you might want to show off the pipes with some crooning, just please don’t do it with, like, the worst Sinatra song.
Possible Alternative: Sinatra – “Fly Me to the Moon”: It’s Sinatra, it’s just as well loved, and, unlike “My Way,” it’s not a terrible song.
Alanis Morisette – “You Oughta Know”
It’s a classic but the novelty of performing Alanis’ angry/dirty anthem at karaoke has been exhausted.
Possible Alternative: Peaches – “Fuck the Pain Away” – It’s dirty as hell and you never hear it at karaoke.
Anything by “Weird” Al Yankovic, Tenacious D, or Flight of The Conchords.
This may be hard to hear, but performing someone else’s comic song is akin to telling another comedian’s joke; while you may get a few laughs, they’re not your laughs.
Possible Alternatives: Just don’t do these.