7 songs to sing at karaoke — and 3 not to sing

Karaoke is one of the best ways to let loose during a weekday Happy Hour. But let’s face it, most of us don’t sound as great as we think we do when we’re three $4 margaritas deep. However, a lack of real talent doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time and get the rest of the crowd jamming with you.

Go solo

“We are the Champions” by Queen

Let’s start this list off right and focus on this ’70s classic. Chances are you already know the words, so let’s work on maybe hitting some of the correct keys. Even if you do fail to bring out your inner Freddie, this song will have the crowd so high on nostalgia, they won’t notice you can’t actually hit any of the notes.

’90s pop standards

Speaking of nostalgia, pretty much any song classified as ’90s pop music is a good choice. Destiny’s Child, N’Sync and Britney Spears can get you through any challenges. You really can’t go wrong with a song like “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” that takes you back to your days of jamming to boomboxes in bedrooms plastered in Backstreet Boys posters. Worst case, if you’re really horrible, just lip sync; Britney’s been doing it for 20 years.

Songs with friends

Girls go country

If drinkin’ brings out your sassy side, try a Miranda Lambert song like “Mama’s Broken Heart” or “Gunpowder and Lead.” Cut your eyes in a playfully dangerous way at a few hotties in the bar. Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country” is another great option. The power chords on the electric guitar keep the energy high, and don’t forget to put extra emphasis on the “Georgia peach” line.  

Hey Ya! by OutKast

Your group will get the crowd shakin’ like a polaroid picture with this hip-hop tune.

“American Idiot” by Green Day

We all want to stick it to the man, whether that man is your boss, your parents or the government. Rock that black nail polish and guyliner and use your voice to fight the system.

Rock a duet

“Summer Lovin’” from Grease

If you’re going to be one of those couples that has to flaunt your relationship in front of a bunch of strangers, there are few songs as cheesy and perfect for karaoke as this one from one of the greatest musicals of the 20th century. The film’s mostly 30-year-old cast members captured the essence of a high schooler’s first love as Danny and Sandy met on that warm beach in California. So if you must profess your love on stage, go ahead and try to emulate their saga.

“A Whole New World” from Aladdin

Disney will always hold a special place in our hearts, and a lot of that has to do with the blockbuster soundtrack from the House of Mouse’s take on “One Thousand and One Nights.” What girl didn’t want to be like Jasmine, flying off into the sunset bursting into song with a guy she just met. This musical number has a good hook, a killer chorus and just enough high notes to make you look ridiculous by the time the carpet lands back at the palace. So make old Walt proud and belt it out. Or if you suck, maybe you’ll make him roll over in the secret vault hidden under Cinderella’s castle at Disney World. The choice is yours.

Just stop

Unless you have the voice of an angel, there are some artists’ songs that you should stay away from when handing your selection to the karaoke master:

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

You’ll never be Whitney.

“Hello” by Adele

You’ll never be Adele.

“Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey

You’ll never be Mariah.

So now that you’ve chosen your song and realized your confidence in your singing abilities is shaky at best, it’s time to get up on the stage and make your friends’ Snapchat stories light up with your vocal prowess (or lack thereof). At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re Grammy ready or would make Simon Cowell’s ears bleed, the important thing is to have fun.

Grab the mic

37 Main

Where: 212 Spring St., Gainesville

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays

Branch House Tavern

Where: 5466 McEver Road, Flowery Branch

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays

Mule Camp Tavern

Where: 322 Spring St. SW, Gainesville

When: 9 p.m. Thursdays

Riggy’s Sports Grill

Where: 2145 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

When: 9 p.m. Fridays

Wild Wing Cafe

Where: 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville

When: 9 p.m. Tuesdays

Brought to you by staff members Steven Welch and Amanda Cameron. A couple of other folks may have chimed in.

Want more stories and videos like this one? Get them delivered to your inbox weekly.


Regional events