Monday, March 07, 2011

Songs no New Englander Should Ever Karaoke

(I have no idea who is pictured above, I ran a Google image search for "New England Karaoke" and that's what popped up.)

As a rule, I don’t do karaoke. For one thing, it’s not the late 90s and the other is I can’t sing at all. Well, that’s not absolute true, I’ve done karaoke twice and each time I’ve been pretty hammered*. Once me and a couple of my buddies did the Doors “Alabama Song” at a newspaper Christmas party—and how a tune from a 1920s German opera didn’t get the crowd rocking, I’ll never know.

The other time was at a bachelor party—yes, this was probably the inspiration for both Hangover movies, I’m still working on suing the writers of the movie. While at a Cape Cod bar, a friend (the groom) put a bunch of our names in a hat and when the Karaoke DJ chose us, each one of us ambled on stage to sing our song. For the record I did Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” and two things: it wasn’t that bad of an experience—I can see why Huey Lewis and Gwenyth Paltrow wasted a lot of money and did a movie** about this phenomenon. And two, I wasn’t half bad either, or at least that’s how I remember it.

* It’s amazing that I’m as old as I am and I still use the excuse “I’ve was pretty hammered”. I guess some things never change.

** I happened to catch this movie one lazy Sunday, why didn’t Huey Lewis sing “I Want A New Drug” or “Heart of Rock N Roll” or one of his jazzy tunes? Did the director think that the audience would be shocked out of the fantasy that the movie portrayed? Fuck that, half the time I was watching this flick I was wondering where Lewis had been for the last 20 years, why he chose this movie to mount a comeback and tried to figure out if he actually could be Paltrow’s father.

Anyhow, I was thinking about these experiences the other day and it occurred to me that there are certain songs that New Englanders should never perform under any circumstances. Let’s list them, shall we?

Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin. Double whammy. Heart become “haht” and breaker becomes “breakah”. If Zeppelin had been made up of New Englanders, they’d have to steal a different blues song, wouldn’t they?

Hard Days Night by the Beatles. Ever hear someone from New England say the word “hard”? It’s the reason why there aren’t many famous Boston porn stars.

Hard Times by Run DMC, Achy Breaky Heart by Bill Ray Cyrus, Hard Charger by Jane’s Addiction, Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley, Hard to Handle by the Black Crowes, Heart of Glass by Blondie, Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue, Harden My Heart by QuarterFlash ... pretty much any song that has one of these two words in it.

Warm It Up by Kriss Kross. Not just for the pronunciation of the word “warm” in the title. But everyone knows that New England is where the East Coast Family was born. Back in the day, Kriss Kross messed with Another Bad Creation and got Bell Biv DeVoe, BoyzIIMen and the whole East Coast. Some feuds will never die no matter how many years go by. True fact: in some areas of Vermont, it is still legal to shoot someone when they are wearing their clothes backwards.

Piano Man by Billy Joel. Try a little originality on stage, my friend. Everyone sings Piano Man.

(You Got It) The Right Stuff by New Kids on the Block. This is true only in Roxbury.

Mr. Telephone Man by New Edition. This is true only in Dorchester.

Poker Face by Lady Gaga. Another mispronunciation miscue, however with dastardly results. You start singing polka face and the next thing you know, some asshole busts out his accordion. And unless that asshole is Weird Al, you’re in for a lot of trouble.

New York, New York by Frank Sinatra. You do remember what state you’re in, right?

You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi. Simply for the chorus alone. Also, don’t touch Living on a Prayer, either. That’s my song.

All Night Long, Hello, Dancing on the Ceiling by Lionel Richie. Lionel Richie? Fuck that guy.

Macarena by those two Spanish dudes whose names I’ve forgotten and are too lazy to Google. A New England accent in Spanish? No gracias.

There you go. Next time you find yourself in 1998 and stuck in a Massachusetts karaoke bar; remember these tips and you’ll leave the place with your life, a song in your heart and a lady on each arm.

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