F.N.V. – My Karaoke Greatest Hits

I love karaoke.  I mean I love karaoke.  David and I have been doing it for years with a revolving group of friends and it never gets old.  At a high point in our twenties we were doing this three times or more a week.  Ahhh, those were the days!  There’s just something magical about standing up in a dark bar and belting out questionable covers of your favorite songs over a prerecorded musical backing track.  I’m certainly not a professional vocalist by any stretch of the imagination but still, I do alright.  And what I lack in professional polish and skill I more than make up for in enthusiasm.  So this week’s Friday Night Video playlist is comprised of my karaoke greatest hits, so chosen based on the fun I have singing them, the frequency they show up in the rotation, and the memories tied to them.  Feel free to imagine what my renditions would be like as you read/listen to these too :).

“Weird Al” Yankovic – “Amish Paradise” – 1996

I proudly and unapologetically love “Weird Al” Yankovic.  I have for years and I can’t imagine ever stopping.  As will probably be unsurprising, he’s a regular choice for my karaoke nights.  I have no idea why other people don’t flock to his tunes the way I do but it’s their loss.  While I have no way of proving this, I bet I’ve sung this song in karaoke more than any other.  It’s been years since I’ve had to look at the lyrics but I still do because it seems eerie to do an entire karaoke song and never look at the screen.  Plus, it’s like a security blanket!  Anyway, I love me some Al Yankovic and as long as I’m singing karaoke the man will be featured prominently in my setlist.

Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know” – 1995

This song is fun.  First, it totally lends itself to my…melodramatic nature.  Heh :).  And I go all out too!  Second, it tends to surprise people when I sing it, which I enjoy as well.  I’ve noticed women singing songs by men rarely catches anyone off guard in a karaoke bar but for some reason flipping that is often unexpected.  My favorite memory of doing this song was, after a wonderfully angsty rendition, a(n admittedly rather inebriated) woman came up to me to make sure I was “alright.”  She planted herself at the table next to me and for the next several minutes patted my back and told me she could tell I was hurting and that I needed to let it all out.  I told her I was just into public antics with my karaoke, assuring her I was fine, but she persisted, trying to help heal my fractured soul.  Sure, the amount she had to drink probably contributed to her concern…but I also like to think the authentic passion in my delivery helped fuel her need to console me too.

Barenaked Ladies – “Be My Yoko Ono” – 1992

Hahaha, this one’s fun too!  As you may be sensing, there’s a goofiness I like to build my karaoking around.  But I’ve legitimately always thought this was a really sweet song!  This is my all-time favorite Barenaked Ladies song in fact.  And, if I do say so myself, I think I do it justice!  I’m proud to say I commit to singing like “Yoky” too.  Also, as it’s a peppy tune, it allows ample inspiration for my dancing.  I mean, c’mon, you can’t karaoke and not dance when you’re up there.  Granted, not all songs lend themselves to a dancing component.  But for those that do, you gotta groove with it.

Shakira and Wyclef Jean – “Hips Don’t Lie” – 2005

When Matthew and I performed this song in a lip sync battle at work (to great acclaim I must say), I was Shakira.  And I rocked as Shakira.  However, when Hannah and I sing this in karaoke, she does Shakira and I do Wyclef.  I’d say I manage both parts with equal skill.  I’ve even translated the Spanish parts of the song so I know what I’m singing and can put the right emotion behind it.  But, at a wedding once, I said I wished the DJ would play this so I could get my dance on.  Kalie said I was missing my partner, to which I replied, “I hope you’re talking about Matthew because, outside of karaoke, I’m Shakira.  I’m always Shakira.  That’s how I live my life.”  Kalie smiled at me with compassion and love and sweetly told me, “Honey…Hannah’s Shakira.  You’re good but you need to accept this.”  Ouch.  Still, Hannah and I do nail this song.  Buuuuuut it can feel a bit awkward to sing a song largely about the experience of refugees when Hannah and I are both super white sooooo we’ve semi-retired our award winning (take my word for it…don’t like google to fact check that or anything) duet.

Billy Joel – “We Didn’t Start The Fire” – 1989

To prove I could, I once sang this song with my eyes song.  NEVER QUESTION MY LOVE OF BILLY JOEL, WORLD.  And I could do it again now too!  Boom.  There you have it folks.

Aerosmith – “Big Ten Inch Record” – 1975

Hahaha, this is always a crowd pleaser too.  It’s an early Aerosmith tune that very few people know/remember.  It is also 100% ridiculous.  I’ve had a lot of fun with this song but my FAVORITE performance involved a tying a scarf made of a chain of napkins scarf, assembled by a friend of ours, to the mic stand.  And yes, you can rest assured I whipped the mic stand around in true Steven Tyler fashion after that too.  You can’t have a napkin scarf tied to your mic stand and not use it people.

The Divinyls – “I Touch Myself” – 1990

I first encountered this song on the Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery soundtrack.  As a result, I thought it was a lot older than 1990 for a long time.  Regardless of the year of its release, as with the Aerosmith song above, this lends itself to a lot of goofy interpretation too.  The first time I put this song in to sing the DJ looked at me and asked, “Are you sure?  Is this the right song?”  I laughed and knew I had a potentially crowd-pleasing choice on my hands.  I was correct…and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Weird Al” Yankovic – “Smells Like Nirvana” – 1992

Here’s another Al Yankovic classic I like to karaoke.  However, this one necessitates a team act.  Whenever I’ve sung this song, David’s gone first and sang the actual Nirvana song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”  Then I follow immediately with “Smells Like Nirvana.”  It’s always extra funny to see the faces of the people in the bar as they hear the opening chords and wonder how it worked out that they’re listening to the exact same song back to back.  But then the majesty of my “Weird Al” talent washes over them and it all becomes clear.

George Michael – “Faith” – 1987

This song has an exceptionally long (at least by karaoke standards) musical intro, complete with church organ music.  For some that could be a deterrent.  For me, it gives me time to do a little “karaoke homily” for the crowd.  What can I say?  I like to talk.  My personal favorite mini-sermon involved riffing on the magic and beauty of love for a just-married couple who happened to come into the bar as I was getting ready to sing.  I dedicated the song to them and then let the magic of George Michaels music do the rest.  This is another song you have to dance to, as you sing it.

The Rolling Stones – “Beast Of Burden” – 1978

How can you not love singing this song??  There are so many great lines!  The, “Ah sister, you’re a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty girl / You’re pretty, pretty, SUCH a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, girl” is especially fun.  I’ll never forget the first time I tried this song.  I knew we were going to karaoke that night after work and I thought this would be fun to do.  You can’t go wrong with the Stones, right?  So I, having a particularly quiet day in the world of Youth Ministry, went into my friend Anne’s office (as she was out that day (and her office was secluded across the parking lot at the school, not in the middle of the rectory at the church as mine was)) and listened to the lyric video for this thing like a zillion times.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t that many.  But I listened and sang along until I knew I had it perfect.  And I totally nailed it that night.  PLUS, given the trend I’m sure you’re picking up on by now, this lets me strut my stuff in my best Mick Jagger homage.

Dolly Parton – “Jolene” – 1973

I’ve always loved this song.  Admittedly, my favorite version is by the White Stripes but that’s not a karaoke option so I do the classic Dolly one instead.  No matter whose version it is though, there is SO MUCH raw emotion in it!  There’s desperation and heartache and fear and cheating and talking in your sleep!  It’s got everything!  Also, it lets my naturally melodramatic performer side come out.  And I get into this.  I’m running my hands through my hair, closing my eyes, singing in pain, reaching out into the nothingness before me…sometimes I even end up kneeling on the floor of the bar clutching the mic in my clawed hands as I cry out in anguished sadness.  So yeah, it’s got something for everyone :).

Violent Femmes – “Blister In The Sun” – 1983

This was the very first song Kalie and I sang together at karaoke!  Admittedly, Kalie isn’t the attention-driven, spotlight-chasing, shameless person that I am.  So she isn’t as quick to the mic.  However, she was a champ and came out with David and I early in our dating and, even if she doesn’t always sing, she’s up for coming and enjoying the show.  Still, sometimes she does sing :).  And those nights are extra fun!  I love the process that leads her to sing too.  I enjoy seeing the idea start to grow in her mind, indicated by the playfulness that starts to shine in her eyes.  Then I wait for the call.  Suddenly it hits!  She suggests a song and we are off.  Kalie’s almost always a duet karaoke singer which (obviously, given my love of the spotlight) I’m totally down with.  So we get our duet on.  We’ve done many songs over the years but this one will always have a special place in my heart as it was our first.

And there you have it folks!  This has been another edition of Friday Night Videos.  If you’d like, feel free to share your favorite karaoke songs with me below.  What do you love to do?  Or, if you’re not a big karaoke fan, what do you think you’d love to do?  If you have any ideas of songs I should do in the future, well feel free to include those too.


What, this wasn’t enough tunes for you?  Well, if you’re in the mood for more music, you can check out these other posts in the F.N.V. series:

Here’s a nostalgic look at some of my favorite songs in honor of my birthday!

Here’s some socially conscious tunes to reflect on for the Independence Day celebration in America.

Here’s a look at some of the music that was important to Kalie in her early 20’s.

Here are some of my favorite Guilty Pleasure songs.

And here are some of my choices for best songs of summer.

4 thoughts on “F.N.V. – My Karaoke Greatest Hits

  1. I love We Didn’t Start The Fire! It has such a funky beat that I can’t help but move along to.

    I must confess that I’m not one for karaoke but I have the upmost respect for those confident enough to belt out a song or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Confidence” is one way to put it…”shamelessness” is another :). Either way it’s a lot of fun.

      I’m glad you dig “We Didn’t Start The Fire” too! I remember in high school just deciding one day I needed to have all the words memorized. So I’d sit in my room, listening to the song over and over again, with the lyrics in front of me. It was a great moment when I finally mastered it.

      The next goal is to be able to do REM’s “It’s The End Of The World” with my eyes closed but I am soooooo nowhere near ready for that!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You know…that’s a good point about “Born To Run.” For as much as I sing it in the car (and I DO sing it, as loudly as I can, all the time in the car) I rarely do it in karaoke. Hmm, I wonder why. That might be something I have to rectify. And “Dream On” I do sparingly after my epic (or lame, depending on how you slice it) karaoke throat injury of singing “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Dream On” back-to-back. My throat was sore and raspy for days afterwards. People would ask if I was sick and I’d say, “No, this is from karaoke.”


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