Tag: karaoke

A Jewel in the Crowd

by on Jul.15, 2010, under music

“If I was not who I say I am, I could have easily overpowered you already. You have just seen how I willingly gave the Ring back to your master. In fact, if I wanted to kill you all, I could do it — NOW!”

He stood up, and suddenly seemed to grow taller and well-muscled. In his eyes gleamed a light, keen and feral. Throwing back his cloak, he laid his hand on the hilt of a long sword that had hung concealed by his side. Sam stared at it, horrified.

“But I am the real Strider, fortunately,” he said, looking down at them with a suddenly kinder eye. He smiled. “I am already betrothed to an elf-maid, and I have no need for the power of the Ring. I am Aragon son of Arathon; and if I can save you from your own stupid mistakes, then I will.”

There was a long silence. Pipsqueak and Morrie stared at Strider with new-found respect at this revelation of his state.

The Fellowship of The Ring, J.R.R. Tolkein

In this Funny or Die video, Jewel dresses up as a Woman in a Grey Flannel Suit named Karen and, shyly persuaded to sing by her fellow “conventioneers” (“She only sings at the Christmas party”), blows the crowd away with a couple of Jewel songs.

She then comes back out and does an encore as herself.

This is terrible. Karaoke is the exact wrong place to stage what tvtropes.com calls a King Incognito moment. That works in two situations: where the king needs information that he won’t get if he asks people who know who he is (consider Henry V walking among his troops on the eve of the attack, or, for a variation, Zeus rewarding mortals who treat him kindly not knowing his identity), or when, as in the excerpt above, the king must travel for his own safety.

Karaoke has an exact opposite mythopoetic gesture. We’ve all been to the bar where amid the drunk jocks and party girls (bless them) moaning through “Light My Fire” or “Lady Marmalade” there’s a shy, old man, talking to no one, who reveals as golden a throat as ever ran with the Rat Pack. Karaoke is a scene where an ordinary person can reveal talent that only celebrities are suspected to have.

By mixing with the rabble and then revealing her powers, Jewel sucks the fun out of karaoke. The message of this video is that, actually, most people can’t do the things celebrities do, that privilege follows a natural order, and there’s no point in trying to join the elect if you’re not already in it.

Jewel’s own life story is one of rags to riches. What an awful revision this gives it.

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I Approve!

by on May.12, 2010, under New York, Politics

Apart from my rooting on anybody who’d challenge the odious Pedro Espada, I actually know this guy and can vouch for his karaoke skills. We duetted on “Forgot About Dre” this one time and it was HYPE.


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Karaoke Favorites

by on Jan.04, 2010, under music, Uncategorized

The video in Josh K-sky’s post below has the Carpenters’ “Superstar” as its soundtrack. That’s not only my favorite Carpenters song, it’s one of my favorite karaoke standbys. Others include:

David Bowie, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” or “Life on Mars,” usually not both on the same night

Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”

Dr. Dre, “Forgot About Dre”

LL Cool J, “Momma Said Knock You Out”

Merle Haggard, “Carolyn”

Digital Underground, “The Humpty Dance”

Eminem, “The Real Slim Shady” (Admittedly I haven’t yet sung this one in public. I’m itching to, though.)

The list reflects the implicit karaoke philosophy of the group I usually sing with: pick songs that are actually fun to perform rather than the usual 80s hair-band anthems with high kitsch value. That usually means songs that are in some way challenging to pull off. Also, always spring for the private room.

I’ll probably add more titles as I remember them. Yours?

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