Monday, April 21, 2008

It Makes Me Want To Sing!

I know you all have been waiting for this one! Yep, even though you were clueless about it, I know you’ve still been waiting. In fact, I’m not really sure how you even were able to contain yourselves. I mean I barely could and I knew about it. It’s probably been tougher on me since I’ve had to wait while anticipating it. Isn’t waiting hard? It’s probably not as hard (that’s what she said) as weight lifting (sadly, that was the only other play on the word ‘wait’ that I could come up with), but still, it’s pretty hard. How hard is it? It’s like ‘smelling bacon coming from your neighbor’s house and having to fight the urge to barge in and join them for breakfast even though you didn’t return their weed whacker and you still have their cat (don’t ask why)’ hard. That, my friends, is hard.

You might be wondering what I’m talking about right now. Folks, it’s National Karaoke Week. That’s right, it’s time to honor that age old tradition where we get up in front of mostly complete strangers and belt out tunes that really weren’t that good when they were originally released 20 years ago. In anticipation of writing about National Karaoke Week, I decided to break with tradition and do a little research on the topic I was going to be writing about. It hurt my head, but I am now able to ask you the follow question. Did you know that ‘karaoke’ is Japanese for ‘those who sing look like ass of overweight water buffalo?’ Have you ever seen an overweight buffalo? Friends, that’s one big backside. Though contrary to popular belief, water buffalo don’t actually become ‘overweight’ in the terms we are used to. They actually bloat because they are retaining water, because they are ‘WATER’ buffalo. I swear next time you are drunk, going under from anesthesia or suffering from blunt force head trauma, you will find that funny. In fact, when any of those 3 things happen, you may want to reread most of my posts…or maybe add me to your will, or pretty much anything that will benefit me by virtue of you not being able to make sound decisions. And do I really have to tell you how thankful you’ll be when you get either the karaoke or water buffalo question next time you are playing trivial pursuit? I bet that pompous ass Alex Trebec didn’t even know about those two factoids.

You may be wondering what the best way for you to celebrate karaoke is. You may be wondering a lot of things after reading that last paragraph. Namely, if you were speed-reading this post because I write way too much for you to have to try to read every day, you could easily have missed the fact that this post is about karaoke. Maybe you thought it was about water buffalo or dungarees or maybe even a salutation to the hits of Engelbert Humperdink.

Don’t worry; I’ve known for a long time that I write too much. After all, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the connection when my ‘bullet’ posts continually get more comments than my ‘paragraph’ posts. Dang it, now it sounds like I am venting when this post is actually about singing. OK, I’ve ordered my microphone shaped cake, warmed my vocal chords and put on my ‘hustle’ shoes so that I can help you celebrate the one thing guaranteed to help ensure that you are ridiculed publicly by your friends and strangers. Friends, it’s time for karaoke!!!

It would be way too easy to jump on stage and sing ‘I Will Survive’ or ‘Friends in Low Places’ or Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Let’s Get Drunk’ and announce that you are doing so in honor of Karaoke Week, but I say dig deeper, try harder, forge some new musical ground. Try a tune from the back of the song catalog that doesn’t get picked so often. Try a song you’ve never sung before, throw in a few new dance steps and belt one out! I know this will seem intimidating, so I am going to provide you with a few gems that are sure to get the audience on your side in honor of this joyous week…

Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Alone Again Naturally’ – sure it’s slow, sure it’s depressing, sure it’s about suicide. That’s what is going to make this one a sure hit. No one will expect it and I bet you’ll have everyone singing the chorus with you before you are done!

Helen Reddy’s ‘Delta Dawn’ – Yes her version of ‘I Am Woman’ is a popular Lady-Anthem, but we don’t want to alienate the guys. After all, this is a holiday. Have you ever heard a room full of people sing the chorus of Delta Dawn? Well, I haven’t either, but 2 college girls in the car next to me heard me singing it at a red light once and they couldn’t stop smiling.

The Pips’ ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ – I’ve got two words for you: ‘Woo Woo.’ Just do the ‘ole ‘pulling the train whistle’ move during the ‘woo woos’ and you’ll have them eating out of your hand!

Don MacLean’s ‘American Pie’ – You may have never taken your Chevy to the levy, but I guarantee you won’t be the cause for the day the music died if you sing this one. It’s long (that’s what she said), the chorus repeats too many times and everyone has heard it. Plus, it mentions pie and people like pie.

The Carpenters’ ‘Close To You’ – Sure everyone is going to be hesitant to join in at first because they don’t want their social status questioned, but just sing it 3-4 times in a row without getting off stage even when people are hurling objects at you and eventually everyone will be swaying back and forth, arm in arm to this feel good love gem. I think.

Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ – This one just straight grooves baby! It tells a great story and you can do the little finger gun dance move to the ‘who shot who’ line. I don’t mind admitting that my friends and I made this one famous in college. But then, we were reduced to singing karaoke in a Japanese restaurant on Friday nights, so really, how popular could we have been? Don’t let this deter you though. Look where I am today!

The Tramps’ ‘Disco Inferno’ – Seriously, do I really have to explain this one? A room full of people singing ‘burn baby burn’ for 14 minutes at the top of their lungs? I can see the lighters being held up proudly now…and maybe a visit from the fire marshall.

George Jones’ and Tammy Wynette’s ‘We’re Not The Jet Set’ – We’re not the jet set, we’re the old Chevro-let set. If you can’t sing this one arm in arm with your neighbor then you must be a supporter of communism, or, you own a Ford, which might as well be the same thing. I’m kidding! Well…

Frank Sinatra’s version of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ – Does this song swing! That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is yes. Just make sure you have your totty glass handy and throw in lots of ‘goo-goo-go-joobs’ and ring-a-ding-dings,’ baby. That Mrs. Robinson is one cuckoo bird. And yes, for the record, that is how I talk when doing Sinatra karaoke.

And lastly, The Kingston Trio’s ‘Tom Dooley’ – Because there just aren’t enough good songs about hanging dead from a tree anymore.

So there you have it, just a few songs to help you get into the karaoke spirit. I know I am going to fire up my karaoke machine every night this week and sing like it’s going out of style. The only question is which song to do first, ‘You Light Up My Life’ or ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing?’ I’m kidding. It’ll be Kenny Rogers’ ‘Daytime Friends and Nighttime Lovers.’ Or maybe, if I’m feeling saucy enough, ‘Mr. Bojangles,’ the Sammy Davis Jr. version.

La, la, la, la, me, me, me, me, me…

***And now for the previews: stay tuned Wednesday for a special look at 70s TV and how we base our lives on it by me and Sonia Sunshine***


On a limb with Claudia said...

ARRRGGGG!! I just read the words DELTA DAWN and now that song is playing in my head. That's so cruel, so cruel.... so cruel.

Alison said...

I have sung "Copacabana" at a karaoke event. I say event because I can't remember where exactly I was.

I've also sung "Total Eclipse of the Heart," but that was because the people who started singing it were too drunk to continue, so I picked up the slack. Also, it happened in my own basement, so I felt only slight shame at singing it.

But my best karaoke song? The Who's "Squeezebox."

*Please note that I cannot sing karaoke when I am sober. On the other hand, the older I get, the less I care, so in a couple of years, I could probably do it in broad daylight in front of 200 people.

Cass said...

I have a confession. I love Karaoke and as a whole I'd say I'm a very outgoing person...but I have never sung at Karaoke....I always go with the intention of singing - but sing I never actually do.

When I go to Karaoke night I go with intention of singing something by Journey, or maybe Tracy Chapman or Carrie Underwood and then it just never happens.

It's on my list of things to do...the 101 things to do it 1,001 days...I need to find myself a Karaoke event.

Anonymous said...

"Everybody's talking and fighting to be heard
No one listens anymore, so no one hears a word

We eat our breakfast, work all day, hide inside our houses
The center of the universe is getting pretty crowded

We dream our dreams and cry our tears, look for easy answers
Hate what we don't understand, and run from what connects us

Seven billion people living on a little planet
Wonder what we're doing here but who can understand it

Seven billion people looking for a revelation
Could be life's a journey and not a destination"

Thank you, thank you; I'll be here all week!

Patti said...

I could see you singing "Happy Talk" from South Pacific, using the hand gestures and all.

"Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk.
Talk about things you'd like to do.."
You're a happy guy, right? The song just fits you.

Then you could crush them with a rousing finale of "Some Enchanted Evening."

give it some thought.

Sunshine said...

My best friend from high school is a Barry Manilow FREAK. When we were seniors, she had already seen him in concert 19 times or something like that.

Anyway, spent a mundane summer job once having her try to teach me the lyrics to all his biggest hits. I recall the lyrics to "American Bandstand" but that's about it.

Natalie said...

I can always bring the house down with The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground. No one can touch the flow I got. I am also a huge fan of doing the following: What's Up- 4 Non Blondes, The Weight- The Band, Dancing With Myself- Billy Idol, Weak- SWV, and Livin' on a Prayer- Bon Jovi. It should be noted that the only song I do by myself is Humpty, the rest tend to be group undertakings. Needless to say, my friends and I totally rule at karaoke

Mel Heth said...

I think I must have had karaoke telepathy: My friend and I just threw a party over the weekend! And we sang "Copacabana" (it made me sweaty - that's a long song).

As Natalie noted, "Livin' on a Prayer" also seemed to be a big crowd pleaser. But my fave was "Magic" from the Xanadu soundtrack.

Hannah said...

When I was in high school we made a trip up north for my cousins wedding. It was in a tiny little hillbilly town. Our hotel room was above the hotel bar that had karaoke.

Now I am not a karaoke buff, but you truly have not lived until you have heard "dust in the wind" sung over and over again by various drunken truck drivers four nights in a row. Though it sounded more like "duss inza win"

One word: AWESOME.

sari said...

You know, I've never sung karaoke, and if I have my way, I never will.

The world will thank me, believe me.

chefmom said...

First of all, I DID NOT receive an cake order for a microphone...
Second, This has to be the funniest post EVAH!!
I have never sung karaoke, and now that I know what it actually means, I don't think I will. People will thank me. My son yells "ENOUGH" when I sing Old Mcdonald.
And can we just start calling people "Karaoke". I like the thought of calling someone the overweight ass of a water buffalo.

Amy said...

Fun post...I do have the Carpenter's in my head now...thank you!

I have sung Karaoke and my two songs I have sung are pretty lame...but fun!

'Stand by your Man'...

'Who bed have your boots been under?'...lame, I know! Sing's fun!

What song did you think I was listening to in the car during my accident? I actually can't remember the song that was playing...

Can't wait to see tomorrow's post...oh, the anticipation!!!

Sizzle said...

I will never ever ever sing a Barry Manilow song again (unless alone in my apartment) because his songs are sooooooooo long. It was torture for me!

Love that pic of Frank. I just bought a similar print of him to hang in my apartment!

Amy said...

Michael...No, it wasn't 'Jesus Take The Wheel'...although the first time I heard that song I cried...fresh memories!

I do like country music and I liked the old stuff too...I liked Randy Travis before he became 'cool'... : )

It was actually from a Christian group called Superchick...'We Live' Pretty fun and upbeat song...but the words are powerful! Check it out.

There's a cross on the side of the road
Where a mother lost a son
How could she know that the morning he left
Would be their last time she'd trade with him for a little more time
So she could say she loved him one more time
And hold him tight
But with life we never know

When we're coming up to the end of the road
So what do we do then
With tragedy around the bend?

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
Today we remember to live and to love
We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
Today we remember to live and to love

There is a man who waits for the tests
To see if the cancer has spread yet
And now he asks, "So why did I wait to live till it was time to die?"
If I could have the time back how I'd live
Life is such a gift
So how does the story end?
Well this is your story and it all depends
So don't let it become true
Get out and do what we are meant to do


Waking up to another dark morning
People are mourning
The weather in life outside is storming
But what would it take for the clouds to break
For us to realize each day is a gift somehow, someway
So get our heads up out of the darkness
And spark this new mindset and start to live life cuz it ain't gone yet
And tragedy is a reminder to take off the blinders
And wake up and live the life we're supposed to take up
Moving forward with all our heads up cuz life is worth living

Michele said...

speaking of water buffelo did you know fresh mozzarella was originally made from their milk? More info to add to your trivia vault.

I'm sorry to report that I was unable to participate in karaoke day. For the simple reason, that I didn't want to make anyone's ears bleed, or have them run screaming into the night thoroughly traumatized. Yeah, I'm kinda nice like that. :) Although if I could have, despite your excellent choice of song suggestions, I still would have had to choose, "I will survive" :)

magickat said...

Karaoke week! Sweet. I am reading this late so I hope there is still time to join in the revelry.

Love Shack is my favorite song to sing at Karaoke. I also love Captain and Tenniles "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Hanky Panky" by Madonna.

Haha - whenever people get up to sing "Friends In Low Places" I am going to laugh and think of this entry now.

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