5 Respect – Aretha Franklin
The number one song for a group of girls to sing, Respect by queen Aretha is one of those songs that will outlive us all. Firstly, it has a power that is inimitable. It continues to be relevant to our everyday life, in a world where rape culture is prevalent and leading politicians think it’s okay to call women who dare to speak out sluts. Karaoke night is not exactly the arena for these kinds of discussions, but the fact that we feel comfortable, and eager, to sing this song in front of huge groups of people shows that it’s a desire we, as women, still seek. As long as gender issues continue to be rampant, as they are, and feminism is a struggle still going on, which it is, every single girl – and anyone else who feels marginalized by the horrendous gender roles our society insists on maintaining, will demand, and belt out Respect.
4 I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
The perfect song for any recently dumped guy or girl to belt out in the midst of trying to cheer one up. I Will Survive is an amazing song in its own right, and the very fact that it continues to be on the tip of everyone’s karaoke tongue is proof of its longevity, and relevance to the human condition. No one sings it like Gloria, but we all try very hard – and we all fail. But the point of karaoke isn’t to imitate the prowess of any one artist, it is to find ourselves in the songs we’re singing – and I Will Survive perfectly encapsulates that essence.
3 A Whole New World – Aladin
For the younger karaoke goer, Whole New World is one of the best Disney songs to incorporate into the evening. Perfect for a duet, of whatever gender pairing you like, Whole New World’s conversational tone makes it an amazing song for a close group of people to experience. Since it comes from an incredibly popular movie, almost everyone knows the words. Plus, what’s better than a bunch of fresh-faced twenty-somethings reliving the hay-days of their youth while getting absolutely bombed? Whole New World is another song that no one minds ruining with shrill tones, because it unites people under the very special umbrella of Disney magic.
2 Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
One of the most popular ballads of the 80s, Don’t Stop Believing is another classic karaoke hit. Anyone who casually listened to the radio in the mid-80s, or enjoys pop culture, will know almost all the words, a key aspect of what makes a song karaoke-able. Another great aspect of Don’t Stop Believingis the reaction it evokes from the “audience”. Part of the art of karaoke is knowing just how over the top to go, and with Don’t Stop Believing there is a fine line that most walk quite well (unless they’ve had one too many, which can happen at karaoke night). Don’t Stop Believing affords a whole level of pantomime due to its simple, image based lyrics. Each line creates a very vivid mental picture, allowing everyone to enjoy the song whether they’re singing or not. And no matter how bad it gets, glass never actually shatters at the end.
1 Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
The epitome of karaoke songs, Bohemian Rhapsody also happens to be an amazing opus of a song. Knowing all of the words is a must, of course, when this song comes to the top of the queue. This song is number one for the sheer fact that I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t like it. Because the song has such wide popularity, even the non-singing karaoke goer doesn’t mind listening to a bunch of people massacre it. The emotion behind the song isn’t too depressing (a la Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s sad performance in the second half of “500 days of summer”. I mean, who sings Train in Vain on karaoke night?) yet there’s enough emotion to evoke a sense of passion in the singing. There’s variety within the song, from sweet, soft tones, to vehemently powerful lyrics, to spoken-word – making it sing-able by everyone, and that is precisely what a karaoke song needs to be.