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How to Pick a Karaoke Song If You Can’t Sing

Just because you’re tone deaf doesn’t mean you can’t take the mike at the next karaoke night.


  • Step 1: Get partners Get a talented person or two to sing with you, so you can mostly just mouth the words. Or find someone loud enough to drown you out entirely.
  • Step 2: Keep it simple If you’re on your own, begin by narrowing down potential songs by complexity. Look for a simple verse-chorus-verse structure and a reasonable tempo.
  • TIP: Down a shot before you take the stage—alcohol is a time-honored inhibition-reducer.
  • Step 3: Stick to the middle Stick to songs that are sung mostly in the middle of the standard vocal range, with as little variation as possible. In other words, stay away from tunes by Mariah 'I Can Shatter Glass with My Vocal Cords' Carey.
  • Step 4: Rap it up For an easy way out, pick a rap song, or anything that is more spoken than sung, like 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.' It’s kind of cheating, but what do you care?
  • TIP: Favor songs whose lyrics you know. Yes, karaoke machines show you the words as you go along, but this way you can concentrate on your pitch and tone.
  • Step 5: Consider weird songs Consider weird songs. If no one really knows how a song should go, they won’t know you’re massacring it.
  • Step 6: Keep it short Keep it short and sweet—three minutes of bad singing is less likely to get you pelted with lime garnishes and maraschino cherries than six.
  • Step 7: Have fun Most important, have fun. And don’t worry about the audience—if people wanted real music, they would have gone to a jazz club.
  • FACT: Karaoke was popularized in Japan in the 1970s, and spread to the rest of the world in the 1980s.

You Will Need

  • A talented or loud singing partner or two
  • Bravery
  • Booze

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