Ten of the Best Songs to Karaoke Like a Fool

Karaoke allows us all to feel like rock stars for an evening. Yes, I know that’s cheesy, but there’s something about being the center of attention while no one has any expectations for you and singing whatever makes you happiest that just really works for me. So here I’ve compiled ten great karaoke songs. Add your own in the comments!

“Under Pressure” ““ Don’t let the first few measures fool you ““ this is not “Ice, Ice, Baby” and thank god for that. When you smash Queen and David Bowie together, of course you get a musical gem that shines with the brightness of a million sequin suits. The best part is the potential to really get your emotions into the songs. Heck, dance along. You know you want to.

“Ms. Fat Booty” ““ If you don’t have the chops for this, stick with Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” a classic in its own right. Mos Def’s 1999 Black on Both Sides brought a lot of great music to the world, but with the twisty, turny almost-love-story, better than the twee not-love story that is 500 Days of Summer is fun to sing either to celebrate secret tattoo-reveals or revel in love stories that weren’t.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” ““ You cannot have a list of karaoke songs and not include Journey. To quote GOB, “come on!!” A perfect outlet for faux-passion or true passion, this karaoke staple allows one to showcase vocal stylings and creased brows to adoring fans/other drunken patrons.

“Respect” ““ Yeah, OK, no one’s going to be another Otis Redding or Aretha Franklin, but it’s never a bad idea to try to channel these musical geniuses. You get to spell in this song! How exciting is that, am I right?! If only there were more songs that let you do complex math, then maybe this tune would have a competitor. As it is, embrace your inner diva and hit those high notes like a boss.

“Lookin’ Out My Back Door” ““ So this isn’t the most famous or popular Creedence Clearwater Revival song, but it’s the one on my list for one simple reason: The Big Lebowski. I can’t listen to the song without remembering that movie and if there’s one thing a good karaoke song should do, it’s capture the audience’s attention and transport them to a magical place. A place like The Big Lebowski. Let’s all have Dude-ular flashbacks together!

“Friends in Low Places” ““ Maybe this is the Kentucky talking, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a karaoke evening that ended without someone singing this song. I don’t know, Garth Brooks is maybe not the most popular dude around this part of the Internet, but with the weird almost yodeling and the joyous exclamations regarding the medicinal properties of alcoholic beverages, this song just fits the mood. Let me spell this out for you ““ when someone is singing this song, YOU are the friend in low places.

“Straight Edge” ““ If you’re feeling ironic, or if you want to passive-aggressively get back at the friends that dragged you out to the bars to sing like cats, this Minor Threat song is for you. It’s high octane! It’s Ian MacKaye at his best (if you forget Fugazi and Embrace)! So good for you! You have better things to do than sit around and fuck your head and hang out with the living dead”¦you got straight edge, indeed.

“Sexual Healing” ““ Do you have something you want to say to a special someone, but you just don’t have the words? Well, Marvin Gaye’s got you covered. Take the opportunity to pour your heart out through karaoke. You can either woo your love-bug, make people twist uncomfortably in their seats from the weight of innuendo, or lead everyone in a bawdy sing-along: it’s really all in how you deliver the words, you know.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” ““ I’ll be honest: I don’t know anything about Bonnie Tyler. But I do know a thing or two about this song. First, it brings people together. Everyone will sing this song, preferably in groups so as to maximize eye-gazing potential. Second, it really allows the overwrought emotion flow like so many tears in a Lifetime movie. So really, grab someone, gaze into their eyes, and let loose the emotion.

Any song by Bob Dylan ““ An unconventional choice to be sure, but sometimes, when it’s really late and when you’re very tired or maybe even somewhat under the influence of one thing or another, you might want to sing but you might not be fully capable of doing so. Why choose a song with well-articulated words when you can pick one with intentional mumbling? True, no one can mumble like Dylan, but you can sure as hell try.

What did I leave off my list? What do you love to belt out?


10 replies on “Ten of the Best Songs to Karaoke Like a Fool”

I love karaoke. I go all-out for karaoke, and I love pop music. I love loud, fun, stupid, and peppy songs. I have been known to sing the following, usually to great applause:

Sk8r Boi by Avril Lavigne
Baby…One More Time – have never gone wrong with Brit-Brit. also Stronger, (You Drive Me) Crazy
Madonna also can’t go wrong: La Isla Bonita, Like a Virgin, Like a Prayer with a group, Express Yourself, True Blue
Telephone by Lady Gaga is a great duet
Barbie Girl – did this on a cruise ship, did the Barbie part in a duet, hilariously fun
No Scrubs – another great song to sing with someone else, did this with my best friend
I Want It That Way -Backstreet Boys
Cruel Summer – Bananarama
Escapade – Janet Jackson
Build Me Up, Buttercup – obviously you need a partner, but it’s also a crowd-pleaser
and yeah, I’ve also done Mmmbop…

Others I’ve seen but not done:
Beat It, Billie Jean – Michael Jackson, especially if you’ve got the moves
Bye, Bye, Bye – NSYNC, also especially if you’ve got the moves
You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi
Crocodile Rock – Elton John
A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash

And though I’ve never seen it, I’d love to bust out some Cascada for karaoke. I’d also love to do a Kesha song. I like acting like a fool during karaoke, drunk or not. I think I’d do Tik Tok, and drag my best friend into it.

“Wanted Dead Or Alive” – Not only can you scream every lyric at the top of your lungs, but you can invite a cadre of backup singers to echo your soulful “wanted” (also a potential drinking game in there)

“Sweet Child O Mine” – Also a scream-able classic, plus you can giggle at the Karaoke lyrics scrolling through the “oooooh-woo-oooh”s and “ai-yi-yi-yi-yi”s. You can play air-guitar during the solo.

Anything in the style of Cab Calloway – You may not find “Minnie the Moocher” or “St. James Infirmary Blues” in the catalog, but Calloway’s extemporaneous zany style could be applied to any jazz standard for a fresh and expressive approach. His style of dancing could be a bonus to your act, if you’re feeling limber or want to show off a floppy hairstyle.

“Ride A White Horse” and “Ooh La La” (Goldfrapp) – Both of these fall into the “My Sharona” genre in that they don’t take a lot of effort to sing; I think both songs have a total of four notes between them. Actually, aren’t most of Goldfrapp’s melodies like that? In a good way.

“I Touch Myself” – Because, why not. Pantomime optional.

“Like It Or Not” (Madonna) – Do they have this one in karaoke catalogs? I’ve always thought it would be a jubilant stomp-out-of-the-club-with-confidence anthem on which to end the evening.

I love karaoke. Love it! I think there are two keys to success: picking a song that everyone knows, and being confident. I’ve heard people who have pretty “bad voices” sound pretty good just because they had their own thing going. A friend of mine has a pretty decent falsetto and really awesome stage presence. He is ALWAYS the fan favorite. He gets the audience to sing along with him! It’s kind of amazing.
All that to say I think any song that you think you can sing and that everybody knows is a winner.

Country music tends to be my karaoke go to such as Dixie chicks- Goodbye Earl or Long time Gone, Carrie Underwood-Before he Cheats and Gretchen Wilson-Redneck woman. You got most my other go to songs but if your gonna have Journey you’d might as well sing Bon Jovi- Living on a Prayer for good measure.

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