Re: Ask The Mineshaft: Anything But Love Shack Edition

1

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" is always a hit.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:15 PM
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Heh. I totally sympathize. I love singing (in the sense that's completely compatible with doing it abysmally), but can't really sing karaoke because I can never find anything I want to sing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:17 PM
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I don't know if anyone has wished Dr. B. a happy birthday, but either way, I do so here, now.


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:17 PM
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1: Huh. I want to make fun, but I like that song.

What does "power" in "power ballad" mean?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:18 PM
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What does "power" in "power ballad" mean?

If you have to ask if a given song counts as a power ballad, it does.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:18 PM
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"Edge of Seventeen" worked like a goddamn charm for me not more than a month ago.

I always want to sing "Take on Me" by Ah-ha, but I forget about that fucking high note until it's too late.

A (very) pregnant friend recently knocked "Papa Don't Preach" out of the park -- maybe this is situational?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:20 PM
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5: That sounds like a fun rule. Does 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' count as a power ballad? I guess so!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:20 PM
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Not that I've done it more than a couple of times, but the answer is "Suspicious Minds"


Posted by: Sam Heldman | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:20 PM
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7: No, it's only if you have to ask.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:21 PM
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"Tiny Dancer" might be a good gender-crossing one.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:22 PM
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What's that one awful power ballad by Metallica? Or you could do "Closer".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:22 PM
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But my problem with this is idiosyncratic -- given that I don't actually listen to music much at all, all the songs I know and like singing are weird pointless shit like show tunes, or Hank Williams, or something. I don't know anything normal or current well enough to sing it.

Which is annoying, because the karaoke concept looks like fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:22 PM
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I recommend "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon". I sang that once, having forgotten that despite the title, many of the lyrics are gender-specific and about the singer's desire for men.

There's sometimes a surprising amount of material that isn't recent music or rock music. This would be ideal if they have the right backing track.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:23 PM
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"Islands in the Stream" is a great duet to do if you both actually know the song. Stupid, Sifu, stupid.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is easy, and a big hit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:23 PM
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I'd like to see a homoerotic version of Jesse's Girl.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:25 PM
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I think the most important thing is to identify a song where most of the notes fall within your vocal range. It totally sucks to get up there and have to sing in strained falsetto or double-chinned bass.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:25 PM
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I do think it's a good idea to do something that's not identified 100% with one particular singer. Like "Fly Me To The Moon" or "Shrimp Boats". That kind of thing can give you an instant veneer of class.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:25 PM
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I was thinking of "Nothing Else Matters".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:26 PM
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Patches.

You Better Shop Around.

Someday, We'll Be Together.


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:26 PM
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Who among us has not wanted to sing "The Banana Boat Song" in public?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:26 PM
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Oh I could tear "Fly Me To The Moon" a new asshole. I should try that one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:26 PM
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16: I dunno, I've had a whole lot of fun faking a bass for "Ol' Man River."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:27 PM
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"The Love Boat" theme -- crowds eat it up.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:29 PM
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'volare', or italian songs pupo for example
or 'and i love her', very easy to follow
and i love this song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wysJ7KeGpX4


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:30 PM
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Ooh, good one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:31 PM
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Read can you record some karaoke and upload it for us?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:31 PM
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15, that thread has a lot of great suggestions for this topic. "Brown Sugar"..."Butterfly Kisses"..."Little Panda McElroy"..."A Kiss A Toy"...


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:31 PM
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28

"We Didn't Start the Fire."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:34 PM
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29

Or "American Pie."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:34 PM
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30

i'm like suspicios of your question
like what does it mean something
but the answer is no, sorry


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:34 PM
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28: give us a tune you're the OH FUCK NO man / give us a NO ABSOLUTELY NOT tonight / for we're all in the mood for NOT THAT / and you've got us feeling THERE IS NO WAY


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:35 PM
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30: Given that it's Sifu, suspicion is entirely warranted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:35 PM
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33

I think the most important thing is to identify a song where most of the notes fall within your vocal range.

Modern rock has made this easy to do, as most of the songs are sung by people who can't do the traditional act known as "singing".

I bet I could do a very accurate version of your typical Smog song.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:35 PM
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34

30: just asking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:35 PM
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35

"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:36 PM
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36

Soul always works. Can you're voice handle Aretha Franklin? Diana Ross?

I think one of the marks of a power ballad is that the video shows live footage of the band in slow motion.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:36 PM
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31: Oh, man, one of the most painful moments of my life was in eleventh grade, sitting through a painfully serious closed-eyed, soulful rendition of that song by a classmate wearing a scarf with piano keys on it during "Arts in Our School Week." I was praying for some terrible nuclear accident to destroy NYC so it would stop.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:37 PM
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32: c'mon I would be thrilled to hear read sing, (a), and so would you, (b).

Read if you post an mp3 of you singing karaoke I will do the same. I bet we could get other people to do it, too; eventually we'd have a whole library of unfoggeteers singing karaoke. Cool!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:38 PM
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39

your


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:39 PM
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40

33: Actually, doesn't that kind of make it harder? A recognizable version of a melody is something most people can kind of come up with -- not well, maybe, but they can do it. When the original version of the song is sort of shouting in a pleasing fashion, you kind of have to imitate it pretty accurately to sound like anything at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:39 PM
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AVOID ALL BALLADS! No one wants to hear that. Sing something fun. Anything that could be described as a 'barn-burner' is on the right track.

"Jolene" is my favorite karaoke song.

And LB, Hank Williams is great for karaoke! 'Hey Good Lookin' works for either gender.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:39 PM
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Actually, doesn't that kind of make it harder? A recognizable version of a melody is something most people can kind of come up with -- not well, maybe, but they can do it. When the original version of the song is sort of shouting in a pleasing fashion, you kind of have to imitate it pretty accurately to sound like anything at all.

I was thinking more that the modern song has recognizable melodies which happen to contain a very limited range of notes, compared to those written for trained singers.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:41 PM
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43

'Long Gone Lonesome Blues'?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:41 PM
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44

41 gets it right. Clearly "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" is the best choice.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:41 PM
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45

43 to 41. To 42, yeah, but it means that just kind of singing the notes, unless you can do a pretty convincing imitation of the schtick, doesn't sound like much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:42 PM
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Yeah! (to 43)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:42 PM
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47

"Tiny Dancer" is a friend's standard. He has been a professional rock and roll singer before tho', so it kinda doesn't count that he kills with it every time.

I think I did "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" the last time I did karaoke, or maybe the time before that. Unfortunately the version was a little more down-tempo than I was expecting, so I kept having to bring up short and that undercut my confidence.

I've done "The Tide Is High" too, which is after all, originally to be sung by a male vocalist, but the Blondie version is really too pop for my taste. Maybe that would be a good one to try? Not that musically complex, and the lyrics are dead easy.

If they have it, I pretty much always do "Paint It Black", in sort of a punk style. That usually works well. In a similar vein, if you wanted to gender-bend, you could try doing "Lola", a la the Raincoats.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:43 PM
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48

"Sie Liebt Dich" would be fun if I could remember the words.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:43 PM
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49

Don't trust Blume, people. She's a trained singer with a lovely voice and spectacularly good at karaoke; what she says doesn't apply to us mortals execrable vocalists.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:43 PM
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48: Ja, ja, ja, ja.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:44 PM
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51

"Raus mit den Männern aus dem Reichstag."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:46 PM
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52

Saw a guy get the entire bar going to I Would Walk 500 Miles by the Proclaimers. I wouldn't have predicted that one, but it was a big hit. I like Offspring songs for myself (Get a Job or Self Esteem). Songs by women are too high for me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:48 PM
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53

sorry for being suspicious
but still no
a great idea though
i would love to watch other people's karaokes
like onlike streaming, may be you can go ahead and post yours?


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:50 PM
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54

I always sing "I heard it through the grapevine."


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:50 PM
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55

"Nutbush City Limits"? Probably not.

I used to have a Taiwan Chinese song that sounded great. Karaoke was big in Taiwan back in 1983.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:50 PM
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56

"Wooden Heart" is consistent with the suggestions so far. Or "Danke Schoen". Are we doing this for Blume?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:52 PM
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57

53: I'm not going to start!

If somebody else starts I'll gladly do "Baby Got Back", though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:53 PM
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56: nah she has her repertoire. She's rocking some Uta Lemper songs right now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:55 PM
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59

I like Cash's "It Ain't Me Babe," but I'm bitter.

May I suggest "Supernova?"


Posted by: cajunpunk | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:55 PM
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60

57: Make it this version, please.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:55 PM
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re: 54

Great song, but bastard hard to sing, I'd have thought?

I can't sing worth shit, so I choose things that can be half-spoken/half-bellowed [I am cursed with a very good ear for pitch, in other people, and so tortured by bad singing but absolutely no control over pitch, in myself].

Some musician friends of mine get together twice a year and hold big 'karaoke' sessions for musicians. It's freakish to see 5 guys who've never played together [in some cases never even met before] get up and play a note perfect rendition of some cheesy rock tune, complete with unison guitar solos, etc. It's also nerve-wracking waiting to play.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:57 PM
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I can't sing worth shit, so I choose things that can be half-spoken/half-bellowed [I am cursed with a very good ear for pitch, in other people, and so tortured by bad singing but absolutely no control over pitch, in myself].

If you have enough self-confidence you can follow the example of William Shatner and turn anything into such a song.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 5:58 PM
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60: oh if only there were a karaoke bar with that version.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:00 PM
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62: "Picture, yourself. In a boat. On a river. With tangerine, trees. And marmalade skies..."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:00 PM
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The Shatner advice is good!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:01 PM
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66

Ute, Sifu.

I bet I could do a very accurate version of your typical Smog song.

Maybe, but you know, I was listening to the incredibly self-pitying "Your New Friend" a while back, and the vokills are actually rather artful.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:03 PM
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"Jolene" is my favorite karaoke song.

Oh, awesome. I love that song so much.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:04 PM
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62: "Picture, yourself. In a boat. On a river. With tangerine, trees. And marmalade skies..."

Seriously, you know, dramatic readings of pop songs, or even serious songs, can be a lot of fun, as is easily proven.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:06 PM
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I was wondering how long it would take before people got to the awesome classic, "Total Eclipse of The Heart". One comment.

Hank Williams songs are comparatively easy to sing. Except maybe for the yodelling parts.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:07 PM
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Great song, but bastard hard to sing, I'd have thought?

I wouldn't think so. What's so hard about it?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:08 PM
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71

I've always wanted to do the Lit song My Own Worst Enemy, but no one ever has it. Now that I've seen the video, I love it twice as much.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:08 PM
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72

You Keep Me Hangin' On


Posted by: Pony | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:09 PM
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73

Except maybe for the yodelling parts.

I am all about the yodelling.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:09 PM
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74

71: That would indeed be a great karaoke song.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:09 PM
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75

I would do "Glad To Be Unhappy", of course.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:10 PM
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76

The one time I did karaoke I was surprised that the place had Squirrel Nut Z!ppers' "Su!ts Are Pick!ng Up the Bill". That was definitely a good choice, despite the fact that the vocals don't start until more than half the way through. You need to do some dancing and swinigng the microphone during the instrumental part.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:11 PM
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"Incident at the Grundy County Auction" is fantastic if you can belt it out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:11 PM
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Of course most Smog songs are too slow to do in this setting anyway. I'd love to do "Dress Sexy At My Funeral", though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:11 PM
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66: nice to meet you, Ute.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:12 PM
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80

Another serious suggestion - - -- "Love Potion #9"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:12 PM
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81

Aw, thanks, Napi.

The awesome thing about being 40, I've decided, is that I can say shit like, "I'm 40 years old. No fucking way am I going to sing karoke."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:12 PM
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82

What was your excuse for being so self-regarding before?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:13 PM
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83

"Frankie and Johnny."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:13 PM
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84

83: Also a good one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:13 PM
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85

I guess folk songs don't really work.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:14 PM
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86

81: And happy birthday!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:14 PM
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87

Perhaps I spoke too soon.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:14 PM
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88

Thanks, LB!

82: My innate awesomeness, obviously.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:14 PM
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89

I've done 'House of the Rising Sun' before, that's a good 'can't sing' song. Also, Hot Chocolate's 'You Sexy Thing' [complete with dodgy falsetto].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:15 PM
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I've done 'House of the Rising Sun' before, that's a good 'can't sing' song.

Also the original lyrics are from a woman's perspective.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:16 PM
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I would do "Glad To Be Unhappy", of course.
please, do it either karaoke or dramatization
how interesting
then Sifu Tweety will be the second one to post his karaoke
he said his word i mean promised :)


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:16 PM
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92

Ooh! "Ode to Billy Joe."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:16 PM
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93

"You Sexy Thing" is a good one. Some of the songs in that genre are vulnerable to heckling, though.

"I'm your boogie man"
(NO YOU AREN'T!)
"That's what I am"
(NOT EVEN CLOSE)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:16 PM
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33: Ned, if you post a video of yourself performing "River Guard", you'll make me very happy.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:16 PM
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95

Happy birthday, you ol' Bitch, you. What are you, a hundred?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:17 PM
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92: I was wondering if someone would mention that one. It's an awesome song. If I *did* sing karoke, I'd pick that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:17 PM
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94: Here ya go! Yes, my true identity is finally revealed!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:18 PM
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98

My kids' standard lullaby is the Pogues Lorelei. I wonder if there's a karaoke bar out there with that one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:18 PM
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98: gosh gotta figure there is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:18 PM
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100

Thanks, heebie. I'm 280 in dog years.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:19 PM
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101

Grundy County Auction would be fun to hear.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:19 PM
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102

100: What is that in mouse years?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:19 PM
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103

There's a tear in my bear 'cause I need clothes to wear
Fur is on my naked bod
Into these last nine bears I have made a million tears
Fur is on my naked bod
I'm gonna keep tanning 'til I can make a coat
And then maybe I won't be so cold
There's a tear in my bear 'cause I need clothes to wear
Fur is on my naked bod


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:20 PM
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104

Sorry, had to unburden myself.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:21 PM
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105

Why do you need to more clothing, if your body is already furry!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:22 PM
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106

"My Darling Clementine" is probably a good one. For extra credit, sing it in Arabic.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:22 PM
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107

OK, that reveals that my mind is elsewhere. Peach outk, y'all!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:22 PM
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108

97 - Dude, you were a real dick to Cat Power.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:22 PM
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109

My hair goes to my toes.
I never wears no clothes.
I wraps my hair around my bare
and down the road I goes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:22 PM
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102: I'm going to say, let's see--let me get a calculator--if I'm doing the math right here, and estimating a year and a half as 70 mouse years, I think it's 1,866.6666666666 etc.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:23 PM
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111

Talking Heads, Once In a Lifetime. Works even if you can't sing.


Posted by: xyzzy | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:23 PM
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112

I had always imagined that Smog was more of a shlub than that video makes him out to be.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:23 PM
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108: Imagine my disappointment when Cat Power turned out to be just some spacy chick instead of an intensive training program designed to give me the powers of mighty wild animals.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:24 PM
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if I'm doing the math right here, and estimating a year and a half as 70 mouse years, I think it's 1,866.6666666666 etc.

You could be a half-paralyzed mouse on daily steroids and live for twice as long.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:25 PM
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115

In honor of this special day, I would suggest, "The Old Gray Mare."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:26 PM
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116

Imagine my disappointment when Cat Power turned out to be just some spacy chick instead of an intensive training program designed to give me the powers of mighty wild animals.

Ah, you want Wildebeest Power. That's next door.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:26 PM
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113 - You just weren't providing the kind of emotional support a woman like that needs. She's totally over you and giving other men the power to mangle the limbs of San Francisco youths now.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:26 PM
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118

I agree with Megan that My Own Worst Enemy is a great song.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:27 PM
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119

118 pwned by 74.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:28 PM
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120

Oooh! Or Talking Head's Wild, Wild Life, with 100 of your closest friends from your weird-ass small town, on stage, one at a time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:28 PM
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121

On a musical note, we rented Once last night. It was excellent.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:28 PM
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122

I AM TEH AGREER!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:28 PM
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123

It's probably a total cliche but I would like to see someone do "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:28 PM
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123: That would be good.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:28 PM
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125

122 to 124


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:29 PM
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126

Of course, the 40 yr old BitchPhd is probably much better than the 25 yr old BitchPHd was.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:30 PM
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Probably the 25-year-old BitchBA, no?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:32 PM
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126: "She ain't what she used to be" doesn't necessarily imply that she used to be better.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:32 PM
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Neither better nor worse, merely different.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:33 PM
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127: Indeed.

The half-paralyzed mouse on daily steroids is actually probably only about 30ish in mouse years. Which reminds me I have to go clean their cage.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:34 PM
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Am I reading the post correctly in that the Pressing Questioner is female?

I suggest "Creep", even though it's cheesy, mostly because the bridge is a blast to sing. Futz with the octaves as needed. (I find that most songs originally sung by men only work well for my voice if I can take it up a fourth, which doesn't really help.) I find Fleetwood Mac songs easy to sing, too. I've never tried "Nothing Else Matters", but I'm intrigued.

Last night I visited a friend who has Singstar for her PS2. Wayyyy too much fun.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:34 PM
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I suggest "Creep", even though it's cheesy, mostly because the bridge is a blast to sing. Futz with the octaves as needed.

TLC song > Radiohead song > Stone Temple Pilots song


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:35 PM
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Creep a la Crazy Sexy Cool or Because I wanna perfect body? I'm so very special?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:36 PM
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Classic 1950s honky-tonk doesn't get enough karaoke play. "Honky Tonk Man", "Wine Me Up", "Crazy Arms", etc.

For women with melodramatic tendencies, Dolly Parton's "Just Because I'm a Woman" should be a karaoke standard. (This is video is utterly surreal, but the only one of the song I could find):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrwhAJVrG38


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:36 PM
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Whatever. She runs runs runs runs runs. (Not coincidentally, this was the favorite song of the eleven-year-old singing at the PS2. RUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!)

Oh, also Alanis Morrissette is fun to sing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:37 PM
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113: You're so fucking special.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:38 PM
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What about Portishead's "Glory Box"?

The PopCanon songs "Ironica" and "Arthole" would be great if there were a remote chance of finding them anywhere; similarly "Penis Envy", "Make Reference", "Valentine's Day", and "Impossible", but probably not "Bloomsday" or "René René".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:39 PM
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Why thank you! You're fucking special too. I assume you meant 133.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:39 PM
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136: Chan? Is that you?


Posted by: Cryptic Bill | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:39 PM
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Bitch, now that you are 40, you have to put down the 25 yr olds with me. We are better than they are!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:40 PM
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you have to put down the 25 yr olds with me.

Like take them to the vet?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:41 PM
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put down the 25 yr olds

"Put the 25 year-old down, and back away slowly, keeping your hands where I can see them."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:41 PM
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(Arthole; Ironica, and more!)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:41 PM
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Yes, 133. We are all unique. And fucking special together.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:42 PM
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122: No you're not. What do you have to say to that?

My karaoke standby is "Cracklin' Rosie", although "Sweet Caroline" is more popular Neil Diamond (the crowd likes to sing the horn section). After that, I prefer gender-crossing in karaoke: I kick ass at "Flashdance", and I can rock "Estoy Aqui" by Shakira out the damn park.

Cross-language, cross-gender, and super-fast: no one touches Wrongshore. It's showoffy, but Friday nights at Acapulco they say look at that guero go.

On my favorite karaoke night, the karaoke master and the barmaid tried to end the evening with a turbo-charged duet on "Paradise by the Dashboard Light". We begged them to let us go out on "Closing Time" in group singalong; we did, and then ... it's a powerful song.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:45 PM
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There's more than one song called "Closing Time", you know.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:47 PM
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They're all powerful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:49 PM
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Bitch, now that you are 40, you have to put down the 25 yr olds with me. We are better than they are!

I'll get in trouble with Ogged, though, if I do.

Oh wait! I'm 40. I don't care what Ogged thinks. Heee.

Okay, off to a nice bday dinner.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:50 PM
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146: Fair enough. This was Semisonic. Leonard Cohen could work.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:51 PM
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"Put the 25 year-old down, and back away slowly, keeping your hands where I can see them."

That made me laugh.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:52 PM
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Leonard Cohen had a very limited voice so he should be easy to sing. On the other hand, he wrote very little fun party time music.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:53 PM
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"You Can Leave Your Hat On."

There's more than one song called "Closing Time"

I kinda like the Tom Waits, myself.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:53 PM
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PopCanon's good stuff, ben.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:53 PM
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152: It would be a terrible karaoke song.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:54 PM
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It would be a terrible karaoke song.

Oh, for sure! No, I switched thoughts. The Tom Jones was my karaoke nomination. The Waits is perfect for late-night kitchen clean-up after a party, with pensive thoughts and quiet moonlight.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 6:57 PM
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Thought-switcher.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:01 PM
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I hate screamy moonlight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:01 PM
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I love music. But, I am the world's worst karaoke singer. BR rocks. I stink. Stink, stink, stink.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:03 PM
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I scream right back at it. "Don't feed the troll moonlight", people say. But fuck that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:03 PM
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Thought-switcher.

Guilty.

I hate screamy moonlight.

Heebie, heebie, heebie. Obviously I was using quiet as in soft thus contrasting to sharp. But if you can't follow my idiosyncratic usage and whimsical re-definitions, it's okay. We understand you arithmeticians aren't like the rest of us.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:05 PM
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Witt is a tricky, tricky wordsmith.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:07 PM
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I hate jagged moonlight.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:10 PM
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After being abused by countless non-singing screaming males (How would I know this?), "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)" is probably ripe for a decent cross-gendered treatment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:12 PM
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Elton John is strangely difficult, I have found.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:24 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbAX9A8Cq0k


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:28 PM
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162: The moon was a silv'ry stiletto slicing through heavenly haze.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:32 PM
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My karaoke standbys:

"Tempted," "Don't Dream It's Over," and "Let's Get It On."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:37 PM
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Elton John is strangely difficult, I have found.

Oh, word. At my last birthday, I did battle with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" and was defeated.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:38 PM
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The key Karaoke elements are a) pick a song in your range (as someone else said above); b) pick a song where you know the lyrics and tune fairly well; and c) take your performance seriously.

Once you have done that, you probably won't embarrass yourself, even if you're not a great singer. The worst Karaoke I've seen generally involves one or more of the following:

1) large groups. In large groups, no one has responsibility, so everybody sucks. Also, such people are much more likely to be inebriated to the point of incoherence. A bad scene
2) white guys rapping. The idea that rap songs can be karaoked is one that seems to only occur to white people. Does one ever see black people rapping at karaoke? THe answer is no - black people know that rap songs suck as karaoke. It's always lame white guys. And they always suck. I suppose there is a theoretical possibility that there could be a decent rap done at karaoke, but I am highly dubious.

The "singers who can't really sing" advice is good for people who can't really sing - I've always found the Stones to be pretty easy, because Mick Jagger can't particularly sing.

A popular favorite I don't think anyone has mentioned is "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers - that always gets the crowd going, and is really easy to sing.


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:42 PM
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"Tempted," "Don't Dream It's Over," and "Let's Get It On."

All of these good choices but require at least some knowledge of actual singing.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:43 PM
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Karaoke, eh? Don't think I could manage it. Dancing is not a problem. Singing is not a problem in private settings. Karaoke, no, I've never been anywhere where people were doing that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:43 PM
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The "singers who can't really sing" advice is good for people who can't really sing - I've always found the Stones to be pretty easy, because Mick Jagger can't particularly sing.

As long as you've vetted the lyrics beforehand. I'm sure the distressing experiences with "Brown Sugar" have been many.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:44 PM
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172 - see my point b) - knowing the lyrics is key for any good karaoke. I should have noted also, in terms of worst karaoke performances

3) people who can't fucking keep up with the damned song.


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:45 PM
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The Stones songs I've sung are "Ruby Tuesday" and "Paint It Black" - both went pretty well.


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:46 PM
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One might know the lyrics well enough to sing along, but not quite remember that THIS song is the one that contains THOSE lyrics.

Particularly relevant with some bands, for whom just about any of their choruses could be attached to any of their verses and make just as much musical sense.
Gr...... I can't remember the identity of either of the bands that I have repeatedly criticized for that. But they're out there.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:50 PM
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165: you know, I've noticed that read has good taste in music.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:52 PM
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You know what Elton John song is not hard to sing?

"Crocodile Rock"


Posted by: Cryptic Bill | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:55 PM
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John, you know, you're making a mockery of LB's attempts at pseudonym regulatin'.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:55 PM
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Yes, unless you're John Emerson, you ought to choose something more memorable. I suggest "¡EL TESTÍCULO GIGANTE!".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:57 PM
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178 - indeed. I read those, and then tried to come up with something clever, but was unable to.


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:58 PM
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"Wry Cooter" is still available.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:58 PM
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179 - isn't that already taken by EL TESTÍCULO GIGANTE!"?


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:58 PM
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HOW ABOUT THIS?


Posted by: OPINIONATED JOHN | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 7:59 PM
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Tour buses in Taiwan are outfitted with karaoke machines and microphones. This is not a good thing. Especially when your great aunt can't carry a tune and two of your uncles sing very, very loudly.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:00 PM
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182: Don't worry about me, I will never post again.


Posted by: ¡EL TESTÍCULO GIGANTE! | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:01 PM
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I read those, and then tried to come up with something clever, but was unable to.

Doesn't have to be clever.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:02 PM
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Ute Lemper sings Kurt Weill,
I sing Nina Hagen.

Karaoke is fine but amongst friends, norebang is better.

Slow ballads are overwrought.
Bring on the Offspring, Louis XIV.

I nominated Closer and 99 Problems for Hillary's campaign song, they would fit the question posed here, too.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:04 PM
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186 - it has to be something that is in some way meaningful, I guess. Clever is the easiest way to accomplish that, in absence of something obvious. I'll keep thinking on it.


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:04 PM
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How about John John The Johnny John?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:05 PM
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Or "The John"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:06 PM
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teh j0hnz0rz


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:06 PM
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John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:09 PM
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192: My name when I was 6.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:12 PM
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Too presumptuous?


Posted by: Prester John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:13 PM
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Too presumptuous?

Ask Jesus McQueen.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:14 PM
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When my dad learned that song, he apparently sung it with the "J"s pronounced like "y"s.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:16 PM
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I think I will go with this.


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:17 PM
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It is, unfortunately, a Simpsons reference, but I nonetheless find it amusing.


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:18 PM
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Excellent choice.


Posted by: Handsome B. Wonderful | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:18 PM
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It's too bad the H. in H. Ross Perot doesn't stand for Hercule.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:20 PM
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200: It doesn't?!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:20 PM
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193: Mine too.


Posted by: The singer of the song | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:21 PM
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A ridiculous handle, finally in place! Now I can begin my rise to well known regular commenter.


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:21 PM
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202: Billy Joel?!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:21 PM
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The y's would be correct for a dialect song.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:22 PM
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We always anglicized it to "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith". Presumably a relic of the war, or something? My mom would've learned it in the 50s.


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:24 PM
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205: Right. I assume it's because he grew up around Swiss and other German-speaking immigrants.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:24 PM
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My middle name is, in fact, Jacob.

There's another very similiar song "My name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin...." etc.

Not a karaoke song I don't think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:27 PM
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We always anglicized it to "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith".

I suppose it's difficult to anglicize "Jingleheimer."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:29 PM
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Maybe "Janglehomer"?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:29 PM
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"Junglehomer"?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:29 PM
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I can't believe this has gotten to 200 comments without the obvious answer being suggested: More Alcohol.

Really. It loosens you up, and you no longer care about the humiliation aspect.

I think the Boston crowd will vouch for the truth of this statement.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:30 PM
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Is "Jingleheimer" an actual German name? It's Germanness seems dubious.


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:31 PM
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Clearly the New York Unfogged contingent needs to find a karaoke bar with a CNN feed and WiFi for our Super Tuesday get-together.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:34 PM
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"No Woman, No Cry" is great for karaoke. Especially if you sing it like Axl Rose. "Goldfinger" is also great if your pipes are brassy enough. "Punk Rock Girl" is always fun, and less vocally challenging.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:35 PM
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"My name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin...."

I work in a lumbermill there! I forgot that song existed.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:36 PM
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Probably not.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:37 PM
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"No Woman, No Cry" is great for karaoke.

"Jammin'" is not so good, especially if you don't really know the words.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:37 PM
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Ask Jesus McQueen.

I insist that John be christened "Wry Cooter." We've been waiting so long for someone to adopt that one.

Aren't one's karaoke choices constrained by the availability of accompaniment? I'd suggest Elliott Carter's recent Wallace Stevens settings, but I doubt you could find those in your average karaoke bar.

Also: the pronunciation of karaoke as carry-okie drives me crazy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:38 PM
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217 - Just as I thought

218 - "Jammin'" is a classic "bad karaoke choice," I think. "Walk on the Wild Side" is also a terrible choice.


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:39 PM
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They say "Krauthammer" is really "Krautheimer", but the idea of generation ofter generation of that guy's ancestors hammering cabbages all their lives appeals to me greatly. Perhaps in a village where everyone hammered cabbages for a living.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:39 PM
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the pronunciation of karaoke as carry-okie drives me crazy.

I just pronounce it "rah." It's a little-known fact that all the other syllables are silent.

"Jammin'" is usually a mistake, yes. "Legalize It" is good, though.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:42 PM
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221 - Were Jews allowed to hammer cabbages in the old country?

219 - What does everyone else think? Is "Wry Cooter" better than this ridiculous moniker?


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:43 PM
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If I had a hammer, I'd hammer cabbage in the morning.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:43 PM
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224 - That is also a bad karaoke choice.


Posted by: Hercules Rockefeller | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:44 PM
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It's a little-known fact that all the other syllables are silent.

Brilliant. That's how you beat the Japanese at their own game.

What does everyone else think? Is "Wry Cooter" better than this ridiculous moniker?

Oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:45 PM
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Were Jews allowed to hammer cabbages in the old country?

Only as long as they wore distinctive clothing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:46 PM
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"Wry Cooter" is pretty damn great.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:47 PM
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Almost forgot: Happy B-day, B.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:48 PM
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Actually Krauthammer's ancestors did not hammer cabbage - they were ahead of their time, among the few people in 19th-century Germany who used "Kraut" as a term for Germans. They were very unpleasant, unpopular people.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:51 PM
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Apparently, Krauthammer's parents were French citizens. So perhaps they were popular.

(Does everyone approve? "Hercules Rockefeller" was a bit overdone, I think)


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:53 PM
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My favorite racist epithet to describe the Krauts, however, is les schluhs. I'm not sure how it's spelled, but that's how the French pronounce it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:54 PM
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Gin a body meet a cooter
Comin thro' the rye,
Gin a body kiss a cooter,
Need a body cry?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:54 PM
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Yay! Someone has taken up the "Wry Cooter" challenge! A birthday gift to B!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:55 PM
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212 is the truth. If you're conscious of whether or not you're able to hit the right notes, or know the words or are signing in tune, you're insufficiently drunk for karaoke.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:55 PM
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Hurrah! The dream is realized!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:57 PM
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235 - It depends if you're any good or not. But this is certainly true for the vast majority of us. Still, I feel better coming off of even a drunk performance where I acquitted myself well than one where I sucked.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 8:57 PM
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Thank you, Jesus!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:20 PM
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I think "Wry Cooter" is more a bday gift to Jesus, but what the hey. Thanks, Wry!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:21 PM
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Wow, a birthday give to Jesus Himself? What more could I want?


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:28 PM
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Everyone who said 'Jolene' is the best singing choice is correct.

It is the best karaoke song, other than 'Mandy'. You may laugh at the idea of singing 'Mandy', but if you are not sloshing your arms around wildly by the 'You CAME and you GAVE without TAKING' part I am a Spanish guitar. Which I am not, so far as you all know.


Posted by: winna | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:36 PM
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(I still have 21 minutes left in this time zone, so: Happy Birthday, B!)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:39 PM
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I always want to sing "Take on Me" by Ah-ha, but I forget about that fucking high note until it's too late.

I had the same problem with Kansas' "Carry on my wayward son".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:40 PM
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Thanks, Witt!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:40 PM
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243: "Take on Me" was on the Singstar rotation and I think we all forgot about the high note. I went for it, and only scalded a few passersby.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:46 PM
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Are we doing this for Blume?

I recommend "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt" for Blume.

Oh, and happy birthday, B.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:51 PM
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Thank you, KR.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:59 PM
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Karaoke was big in Taiwan back in 1983.

I was in Japan with some other Canadians in 1984. The guys went out for the evening...they came back and couldn't even describe what they'd seen (businessmen at a Karaoke bar). We thought they were making it up.

You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin' is great sung by a woman.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 9:59 PM
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While I'm giving unsolicited advice, let me suggest this tune for Jackmormon. No need to thank me, J-Mo.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:02 PM
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You kids probably don't know Patches. That someone will try it is an accurate measure of excessive blood alcohol content.



Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:02 PM
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From upthread: I karaoke'd "Jolene" once and it went over well, although at the time I'd been listening to the very slow version by Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, so I was surprised just a bit by the vigor of Dolly Parton's version.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:05 PM
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You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin' is great sung by a woman.

In stark contrast to certain other songs by the same artist.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:05 PM
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When I lived in Tokyo, there were few songs in English on the karaoke machines, and they invariably included "Country Roads," "Yesterday" and "My Way." I tried to switch over to one or two catchy Japanese pop tunes, but my reading was too slow to follow the monitor.

My first trip to a karaoke bar, I ended up sitting with a sumo wrestler and a salaryman whose English was virtually unintelligible except when he sang "Love Me Tender," when he suddenly sounded exactly like Elvis. Years later, nothing in Lost in Translation seemed particularly remarkable to me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:07 PM
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250 - Is that w-lfs-n in that video?


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:08 PM
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Ack, stupid new name. It is harder to remember than my actual name.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:13 PM
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252: Yikes, vomit. Thought it was by John Prine.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:14 PM
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Wry, all you have to do is check the box that says "remember personal info" and the computer will remember it for you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:17 PM
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happy birthday, ma'am grandma bitch!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:27 PM
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Happy birthday, Bitch. Happy name day, Wry.

The BB King version of Patches is particularly good.

While we're talking music, The Negro Problem is a rare treat, and I recommend it to those who love lyrically wry pop. Not for karaoke, though. No one knows it.

my name's Ken
and I like men
but the people at Mattel
home that I call hell
are somewhat bothered by my queer proclivities

Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:32 PM
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So it does. Happy Birthday.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:34 PM
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I think if I saw a girl do a good kerryokee version of "Maps" I might fall for her.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:35 PM
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Thank you thank you thank you, everyone.

Now get off my lawn.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:36 PM
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Also: "Billy Joel celebrity karaoke"


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:36 PM
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261 reminds me (via Ted Leo's cover of the two together) that "Since U Been Gone" is an awesome karaoke song, if you can pull off the fury and the octave leap.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:43 PM
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262. where's the cake??


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:45 PM
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I was given to understand that there would be delicious cake.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:46 PM
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I think that someone should establish an annoying indie karaoke bar -- you know, Radiohead's Fitter Happier, Mogwai's entire oeuvre, etc. Stuff people couldn't sing along to if they were Pavarotti, basically.

Then just sit back and laugh. Admittedly, it'd probably get old fast, and the long term economics are still to be worked out, but it'd still be funny for hours -- hours! -- at a time.

Oh, and happy birthday Bitch.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:48 PM
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Thanks, Keir. Michael, there's cake in the kitchen. Help yourself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 10:52 PM
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Michael, there's cake in the kitchen. Help yourself.

is that a euphamism?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 11:00 PM
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euphamism

it's not my fault. i blame the system.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 11:03 PM
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Nope. Go get yourself some cake.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 11:29 PM
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Twist and Shout and Sweet Jane have worked for me in the past b/c they're basically not sung.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 01-27-08 11:56 PM
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I'd suggest Elliott Carter's recent Wallace Stevens settings, but I doubt you could find those in your average karaoke bar.

Carter setting Stevens. The mind boggles.

In other news, the Tom Waits "Closing Time" is just the first of Waits' many excellent album-closers, and other good songs of that name have been recorded by Lyle Lovett and the Willard Grant Conspiracy.

I recommend "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt" for Blume.

Have Sifu learn Blixa's parts for "Stella Maris".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 12:05 AM
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Twist and Shout...basically not sung

If you want to sing it 'John Lennon circa 1962'-style, you damn well better be able to sing. I saw someone do this in a karaoke bar and just nail it -- guy's voice sounded like Kurt Cobain channeling the Hamburg Lennon, it was pretty extraordinary. Made all the better by the fact that the guy looked like a 50 year old bin man.

Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_59n86U3Dvs


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 12:07 AM
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"Sweet Jane" is a great song. Y'know that women never really faint, and that villains always blink their eyes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 12:25 AM
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Subterranean Homesick Blues (one of two successful patter songs in rock): 1. 90% on one note. 2. Not on any Karaoke machines, so you can politely excuse yourself.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 2:58 AM
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And happy yesterday, B


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 2:59 AM
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266: I was given to understand that there would be delicious cake.

The ratio of people internet personas to cake was too big.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 3:42 AM
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Again, probably not on your average karaoke machine, but "After Hours" by the Velvet Underground is sweet and easy to sing. If Moe Tucker can sing it, so can you!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 5:23 AM
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I'd like to sing "Push the Little Daisies" sometime when I only have 6 months to live and don't care if I get beaten to death by an angry mob.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 5:32 AM
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I dream of finding a karaoke machine that has Velvet Underground's "Heroin" on it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 5:34 AM
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Made all the better by the fact that the guy looked like a 50 year old bin man.

My friend used to date a fella who drummed for the PunkRock/HeavyMetal Karaoke house band, and so I spent a fair amount of time there. It was fucking priceless to see this khaki-pantsed, braided-belted middle manager dudes hop on stage and perform a positively ripping version of, say, "Ace of Spades."

Karaoke in certain places in NYC is wildly risky. It is filled with people who are "trained" rather than "drunk" and they natter on about their key.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 7:46 AM
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re: 282

Yeah, the karaoke bar I saw that guy in has a lot of regulars who are amazing. It's a working class bar in Glasgow [there are two places there like this] but it attracts a pretty hard-core crowd who can really sing. I don't think you'd want to get up unless you knew you were pretty good.

Also, in one of them, a fair number of older men in expensive suits and facial scars, if you know what I mean.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 7:48 AM
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belated happy birthday, bitch!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 7:50 AM
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282: Karaoke in certain places in NYC is wildly risky,/i>

I assume you mean risky to self-image, or are they prone to physically attack the unworthy?

It is interesting to see the staggering range exhibited across this "amateur" endeavor.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 7:54 AM
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Time for a new post! On Modern Love! It even mentions karaoke this week!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/fashion/27love.html?_r=1&ref=style&oref=slogin

This one's a nice proper young love story, that follows accepted rules for the genre (wistful middle-aged nostalgia subdivision).


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 7:59 AM
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283: Yikes! The hard men of Glasgow are some pretty fucking hard men, I'd imagine. (The girl who babysat me as a tot married a Scot and lived here in the States. Some pals came to visit and they went out and ended up in a bar fight. They also ended up charged with attempted murder or something insane because they countered badly thrown punches with face-splintering head butts. Everything ended up dismissed, happily.)

285: No, they are likely to cock an eyebrow and pierce you with a withering stare. Of course I'm the gal who nearly got removed from a bar for elderly married gay men who are straight for caterwauling along to the score from Pippin in the piano bar.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:03 AM
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Takeaway lesson from this week's ML: it's a blast to be beautiful.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:03 AM
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thanks PGD for 165
hope you didn't mean cheesy something
coz i love the 'cheesy' songs with beautiful melodies and lyrics


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:07 AM
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||

The hiring process for the job I want has lurched forward yet again. Still not to the point of an offer, but that's the next step, and I should hear in the next couple of weeks.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:12 AM
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Yay! Elbie! The glacier proceeds . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:16 AM
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a fair number of older men in expensive suits and facial scars, if you know what I mean

/nods/

I was waiting for my boy to get his hair cut the other day, and listening to the owner chatting with a friend of his. He pointed to a photo on the wall, loads of blokes in suits, and said it was his old firm. The conversation carried on, and it turned out that the picture had been taken at one of the Kray twin's funerals - oh right, his old FIRM! I haven't heard much of that sort of thing since I left South London.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:16 AM
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They're not in any hurry are they? It must be driving you up the wall.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:17 AM
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Oh, it is. I was warned at the beginning of the process that it was ridiculous, but I hadn't realized quite how bad it was going to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:19 AM
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290 - good! Keeping things crossed for you.

btw, how do Americans pronounce 'glacier'? Is it really "glaisher"? I didn't know that before.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:24 AM
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282 Karaoke in certain places in NYC is wildly risky. It is filled with people who are "trained" rather than "drunk" and they natter on about their key.

There is a fine balance here. One wants to go to a place where one will not be too harshly judged. At the same time, as a listener to karaoke (which is, indeed, what you will be doing most of the evening) one doesn't want to go to a place where there's six drunk girls up at once singing "Hit Me Baby One More Time", or some drunk frat boy doing the Beastie Boys.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:26 AM
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btw, how do Americans pronounce 'glacier'? Is it really "glaisher"? I didn't know that before.

Yes.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:26 AM
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a bar for elderly married gay men who are straight

How does that work?


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:28 AM
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298: They're married and have kids and fancy jobs and disposable incomes and tell you about their wives and kids and jobs and above all their straightness whilst hitting on hot young men.
A dying breed, I think. But still to be found at The Townhouse.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:40 AM
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282 Karaoke in certain places in NYC is wildly risky. It is filled with people who are "trained" rather than "drunk" and they natter on about their key.

This gets to another point, which is: there is more than one -sort- of karaoke. I actually prefer the sort (a la Sing Sing in the east village) where there's no real stage area, and they simply pass out the mics to people around the bar--it lends itself less to showboating and more to crowd-pleasers. But then, I can't sing worth a damn, and I prefer my karaoke on the drunker side.

But the point is--some songs are better for certain venues, others for others. "Don't Stop Believin'" will make you a hero at certain places (except to the bartenders, who have to hear it twice a night ever fucking night) and get you nothing but contempt at others.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:43 AM
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re: 292

Yeah, these older men probably weren't your pukka gangsters, but definitely aging hard men who'd been in their prime during the 'razors and tongs' period back in the 50s and early 60s [lovingly documented by the movie Small Faces].

I remember explaining to some middle-class friend that older men in suits probably weren't the best sign late at night in a city centre pub unless they'd clearly come from work. Pub semiotics, etc.

They also ended up charged with attempted murder or something insane because they countered badly thrown punches with face-splintering head butts.

Yeah, sounds par for the course. Tbh, I take the attitude that you shouldn't chuck punches at someone if you aren't prepared for them to counter with the face-splintering head butts [so I wisely stick to not chucking punches at people in pubs]. Sudden and dramatic escalation being a possibility I am all too wary of.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:12 AM
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It's a working class bar ... but it attracts a pretty hard-core crowd who can really sing.

My town needs this.

OFE, what's the other patter song?


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:50 AM
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We have one like that in Brooklyn. It's mostly overweight dudes with mullets in Hawaiian shirts and nebbishy accountants doing really impressive hard rock, country, and metal. One of the biggest karaoke songbooks in the world.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:52 AM
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so I wisely stick to not chucking punches at people in pubs

This really is the best policy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:00 AM
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Hey, this is my question! Thanks, Becks.

I guess I should start reading the comments now.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:01 AM
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Penny, I was thinking of this. Arguably neither really rock nor patter, but delivered as if it was.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:03 AM
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304: Agreed. Sometimes people just want to fight, though. A friend of mine from Paris nearly got her boyfriend's ass kicked (Sexism: It Can Work for You!) for asking, in a bar in Marseilles, what MTP meant (Marseilles Tout Puissant -- football thing).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:07 AM
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Sexism: It Can Work for You!

Yep. I had an interesting incident in a bar in Samoa, where some scary Scottish guy had picked up a friend of mine, and somehow the conversation turned to the IRA and violence in Ireland. And I said something drunkenly Queens-Irish dimwitted about there being something to be said for violence when politically necessary, and suddenly the scary Scottish guy was in my face explaining how he'd served in Northern Island, and he'd had friends come home "in a bag, man. In a BAG!" and being generally sort of frighteningly shouty. And then he reassessed the situation, and seemed to realize that (a) he was shouting at a young woman, who, (b) was friends with the woman he was hoping to have sex with later in the evening, and we were friends again, to the point where he was informing me that I was a brave lassie for working out in the backwoods where I did. But I was pretty sure that I were a guy who'd said the same thing, that would have been my moment either to flee the bar or get hit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:17 AM
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There's a missing 'if' in there somewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:18 AM
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There's a category of bars like pickup bars where a guy can go specifically to get into a fight. Walk in, make eye contact, hold it, and the other guy will say "Whatcha lookin' at, buddy?" Easy.

So I've been told by more than one credible witness.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:18 AM
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1: I count that as a power ballad.
2: Yes! I find choosing a song more stressful than actually singing.
14: I am always choosing songs that I find have way through I don't know well enough. But I know the chorus! Also,
36: I am kind of intimidated by the thought of singing Aretha in public. I have had success with the Supremes (You Can't Hurry Love).
59: You mean Liz Phair? It's one of my favorites, but not always available.
72: Oooo, good one!


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:22 AM
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310: There's a charming scene in the movie Victor/Victoria where James Garner's character, having spent the evening close-dancing in gay bars with the Julie Andrews character that only he knows is a woman, walks into the most soft-cap wearing Pigalle-y joint he can find, bellies up to bar (in full evening dress, mind), and says, "Milk." Manful manliness ensues.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:26 AM
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310 is absolutely true. Hey, everyone's entitled to a hobby, right? I've known a couple of guys for whom drunken brawling was a favourite pastime.

307/308: There is a complicated dynamic about this stuff, though. Or rather, there are more than one.

Maybe the worst off are people who are taken out of their element. I made the mistake once of taking a friends fiancee along to a bar I liked, but it had a bit of a hard crowd.

I knew this guy came from a frat-house, drunkenly fighting with your (mostly) friends sort of background, so I told him to watch his p's and q's. No problems that night, but he went back with friends a while later and they ended up getting mixed up with some locals without anyone there to smooth things over. Anyway, all three of them were hospitalized, one quite badly. All of them have visible reminders.

His fiancee told me later the thing that he kept coming back to was that these guys didn't stop when they were down. He had a conception of bar fights that was mostly friendly --- this lot were out to teach him a lesson (which they did).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:27 AM
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re: 307 and 308

Yeah. I'm really good at reading these things, and by the time scary-wanker is making plans to belt me one, I've already thought several steps ahead and am on my way.

I was with a friend and my wife in a pub the other week and the there were four pissed up Geordies trying [REALLY trying] to start a fight. They started a fight with one guy and he left before he got a kicking, then with the next few guys that came to the bar, and then with one of the bar men.

The rational thing to do would have been for half a dozen sober blokes to have taken them out the back and methodically fuck them up. But that doesn't happen in nice bars [and if it was the sort of bar where it did happen regularly, I wouldn't want to drink their anyway].

As it was everyone kept their head down until they left.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:28 AM
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His fiancee told me later the thing that he kept coming back to was that these guys didn't stop when they were down.

Yes, exactly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:29 AM
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ttaM: Until you've seen it or been (peripherally, with luck) involved it's really hard for a lot of people to understand how bad it can get, how quickly.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:42 AM
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re: 316

I've seen it. I've been close to being on the receiving end -- I have a couple of minor scars, but nothing that required me to be hospitalized.

I have absolutely no interesting in getting in any kind of pub fight, ever, as a result. That said, if (god forbid) it did ever happen again, I'd not be inclined to Queensberry Rules it, either. I'd not want to be the guy in intensive care because he thought he was fighting 'fair' while the other guy(s) were not.

However, I'm pretty good at picking up on a 'vibe' and know when it's time to shut up and leave and since I'm in my thirties now, the odds of some random stranger picking a fight with me are pretty slim anyway.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:47 AM
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111: I am considering "And She Was," which seemed to work well in my car this morning on my way to work. The problem is that I have a friend that I karaoke with who does a great Talking Heads - he brought down the house with "Burning Down the House" on Friday. This is also a problem with some other suggestions - my friends have laid claim to Radiohead, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, and Elton John, and they can do them better than me. They are boys, for one thing.

131: Fleetwood Mac might work. Which ones?

167: "Tempted" is a good suggestion. This Mineshaft thing really works!

169: I'd like to be able to sing "The Gambler," but I don't think the vocal range works for me. I just tested it at my desk. Good thing I have my own office.

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. I am busy looking up the songs I don't know on YouTube instead of working.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:49 AM
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317: My grandparents both grew up in Wigan (sort of bopping back and forth between Wigan and Ireland, actually -- not uncommon in their time) and we still have the iron-shod clods they wore as kids, with which the previous generation used to kick the shit out of each other for fun.

My personal experience with the creepy end-of-the-night vibe change comes from one stunning night where I stayed too close to closing at a particularly cheezy nightclub. There was a palpable sense of male entitlement in the air and by God they were owed a woman to go home with. There were men laying hands on me caveman style to drag away. A female friend and I were there with one male friend who had to insist that we were both *with* him, causing one poor fellow to exclaim, "You don't get to have TWO!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:55 AM
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Um. Should be "clogs." Duh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 10:56 AM
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I'm thinking the rule might be phrased as "Assume Begbie until conclusively proven otherwise".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 11:11 AM
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308. You do understand that, with all due allowance for you being young, American, and absolutely right, that was a spectacularly dumb thing to have done?

The English have been getting the Jocks to fight their colonial wars since about 1750.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 11:24 AM
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Some of the nastiest-looking people I've ever met in bars were British Navy, in Hong Kong and Portland OR.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 11:27 AM
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322: Oh, yeah. For Irish Americans, a certain amount of thoughtless "Yay, IRA; let's all get drunk and sing 'The Boys of Wexford' now," is totally conventional. I'd never thought about it much or run into anyone taking it seriously. I certainly wasn't trying to be anything more than lightly argumentative -- my first clue that he was taking it seriously was the shouting about his dead friends, at which point I was backpedaling and trying to defuse the situation as quickly as I could. I just got the impression that I got enough slack to cool the conversation back down because I was a girl, and that had I been a guy, it would have gotten violent.

(I like the quiet life. While my friend was getting picked up by the Scottish terrorist, who later showed her a series of passports with his picture and several different names, while muttering darkly about how he could tell her why he was in Samoa, but then he'd have to kill her, I was chatting up a very pleasant sewage treatment engineer from New Zealand, who showed no signs of wanting to get into a fight with anyone, particularly me. I like that in a man.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 11:29 AM
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319: It is terrible. I always get taken aback at the way a relaxing evening can fall to pieces when everyone starts getting like that, especially around here at the 4 am bars since there aren't too many and they're the last joints open.

Friday night was one of those nights for sure. I was just out to go drinking with a buddy, ended up breaking up a fight and cooling him down just enough to not get kicked out. He went home with a girl who'd sidled up to us in the last 15-20 minutes, and I wrapped up the night talking to someone we'd met earlier in line until she got nearly dragged out by the ultra-yuppie she'd been talking to/being bought drinks by for much of the evening. Pulled together all the threads of this bar conversation nicely, if only there had been karaoke.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 11:31 AM
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Oh, yeah. For Irish Americans, a certain amount of thoughtless "Yay, IRA; let's all get drunk and sing 'The Boys of Wexford' now," is totally conventional.

It is pretty unfortunate, and I've never understood it in the slightest. Sinn Fein used to (and possibly still does) get substantial amounts of funding from an annual trip by Gerry Adams through the US, gathering donations from people at least 2-3 generations removed from the Emerald Isle.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 11:41 AM
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316 was agreeing (?) with 315, not questioning it ttaM. I was just trying to note it's not the sort of thing that is easy to convey to someone who fundamentally isn't really ready to believe you.

I've been pretty lucky with all that myself, far more than I deserved. Not something I ever really want to revist.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 11:51 AM
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324: An Irish-American friend ran into (post 9/11) some trouble for the thoughtless singing/etc when he was up for a position that required a security clearance and someone in his background checks mentioned the thoughtless singing. Drama and a personal interview ensued, but he didn't end up in Gitmo, at least.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 12:15 PM
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What time is the Superbowl? When does it usually start and when does it usually end?


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 12:16 PM
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re: 327

Yeah, I understood you were agreeing with me. Perhaps I was ambiguous in my response. I was agreeing with you also.

re: 324, 326 and 328

FWIW, re: the thoughtless singing: people singing Irish rebel songs in the wrong place pretty much deserve what they get. It's a fucking stupid and insensitive thing to do. That applies on both sides of the sectarian divide, so ditto singing 'The Sash' in the wrong place, too. British people, even ones who were substantially in agreement with the Irish 'cause' can be a bit sensitive about something that led to the deaths of so many people and which was still causing those deaths up until really very recently.

Also, I'd imagine a Scot with military service in Northern Ireland, with several passports, might possibly be working for i) a private security/mercenary firm that employs gentlemen with certain kinds of specific military experience [the various secretive outfits with three-letter-acronyms for names tend to be substantially composed of people from the bleaker and/or northerly fringes of the UK], or ii) still be in the actual military but in a 'civilian adviser' sort of a role. Either way, 'bad news'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 7:56 PM
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people singing Irish rebel songs in Samoa the wrong place pretty much deserve what they get.

Don't mention the wars.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:14 PM
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To most Americans, the rebellious Ulster struggle is about as relevant to the present day as the romantic exploits of Garibaldi or Bonnie Prince Billie. It's easy to forget that it's actually an ongoing news story in some places and therefore it must actually be still taking place in some way involving actual human beings.


Posted by: Crispix Attacks | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:18 PM
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That should be "Billy". And possible "Bonny" too. Or maybe it doesn't matter.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:20 PM
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Bonny Prince Charlie? King Billy is a distinct figure.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:25 PM
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Ugh, you can see how much we Americans know. That's right of course. And me having just bought a bottle of Drambuie.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:26 PM
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I was confused by my dad's occasional light-hearted songs about to hell with King Billy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:27 PM
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308, 324: heh, the very best friends I met in Spain I met by drunkenly explaining how tickled I was by the exploits of ETA; luckily they were (a) Basque and (b) had drugs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:29 PM
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the very best friends I met in Spain I met by drunkenly explaining how tickled I was by the exploits of ETA

Damn. You're a very lucky man, Mr. Tweety.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:33 PM
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I'll say. Rather than going to jail, my evening was a drunken whirlwind of vandalism, nightclubs, and casual drug use! Whee!!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:36 PM
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They called me "Yanqui Loco".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:36 PM
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Quite rightly.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:48 PM
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Here's a story about clueless Americans in the other direction:

I have a distant cousin (of my grandmother's generation) who runs an Irish pub in Northeast Philadelphia. Not one of those trendy ersatz Irish pubs you see all over the place, but a real, traditional pub serving an overwhelmingly working-class Irish-American clientele. His wife's father was Catholic from Northern Ireland, so given that, and the fact that sentiment in Irish-American communities like his runs heavily pro-IRA, the pub is very much an IRA-friendly place. I don't know that he ever funneled money directly to the IRA, as many owners of such pubs did and do, but he may well have.

Our family had been largely estranged from most of our Irish cousins ever since my grandmother converted to Judaism, but recently we've started to get back in touch with them. One of my mom's sisters has been particularly interested in doing this, and this cousin is a particularly good person to go to for information on the family (though he's not that closely related to us) because he knows a lot about it and is very interested in genealogy and such. So one time my aunt and her husband and my sister and I went to his pub.

It was very pleasant, and we talked to him and his wife a lot. They're very nice people. The political leanings of the pub crowd couldn't have been more obvious, though. There were some young men singing in the front, and many of the songs they sang extolled the IRA by name. Also, at one point our cousin's wife mentioned that her dad's dying wish was to "see Ireland free."

None of this seems to have registered with my aunt, though, and when she was talking about the trip she and her mom took to Ireland in the early 70s she told a story about how she was talking to this little old lady in this tiny rural village and she (my aunt) asked her (the old lady) what she thought of the IRA and she responded that they were just a bunch of young hooligans (or some such; I forget the exact wording she used). My aunt, who, being Jewish, was not automatically inclined in a pro-IRA direction, thought this was funny and it seems to be one of her stock "everything you know is right" funny stories to tell when discussing Ireland. When she told it in this IRA pub, though, everyone just got really quiet until someone changed the subject.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:50 PM
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Teo: conflicted IRA / Zionist.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 8:59 PM
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ditto singing 'The Sash' in the wrong place, too.

Singing The Sash is a pretty stupid thing to do full stop -- I guess it's a step up on songs about wading through Fenian blood/any song praising the IRA by name, but still.

Oh, and Emerson/Teofilo, if you're Jewish, you've got to be pro-Unionist, because the IRA are Marxist/anti-colonial, therefore pro-Palestinian, therefore anti-Israel. On the enemy of my enemy principle, die-hard Ulster Unionists are pro-Israeli, and if the Israelis gave a damn, presumably this would be reciprocated.

(This is dumb, yes. This is very, very dumb.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:12 PM
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The only curse word I was allowed to say growing up was in the lyrics to Rock On Rockall, because my (very Irish-proud) grandma insisted it was important that my brother and I learn about history. My mom reluctantly accepted this reasoning, not wanting to get into an argument with my grandma.

My brother and I just relished the opportunity to say "ass", largely missing the historical significance of the song.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:14 PM
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Oh, and Emerson/Teofilo, if you're Jewish, you've got to be pro-Unionist, because the IRA are Marxist/anti-colonial, therefore pro-Palestinian, therefore anti-Israel.

So you see the difficulty in being of mixed Jewish and (Catholic) Irish stock.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:16 PM
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The solution, of course, is to find some other bitter sectarian divide, and choose sides in that conflict. Suddenly, you've got a new identity!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:38 PM
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347: Cummerbund at the opera vs. no cummerbund at the opera.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:41 PM
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346: But it gives you such angst! You are at war eternally with yourself.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-28-08 9:50 PM
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Look to sitcoms of the 1970's for answers to all problems. In this instance (Jewish... Catholic... OOoh whaddamess!!!) 'Bridget loves Bernie'.

Meredith Baxter-Birney was once a goddess......


Posted by: Mister Pain | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 7:37 PM
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