The subject of karaoke came up recently, as in “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to get a group together and go do karaoke?”. To which this embedded reporter replied, rather earnestly “They still do that? . . Sure! Yeah! Let’s!”.
Sure enough, my quaint little town has a place that specializes in the shit. Who knew? And so now I’ve got to write up a to do list that most likely is going to begin and end with Neil Diamond songs. Because karaoke is a kitschy throwback to the musical revolution of the sixties where power to the people was de rigeur and Neil Diamond? He’s a man of the people
A top five favorite Neil Diamond cuts? Oookay why not . . .
Song Sung Blue
Love on the Rocks
Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon
Forever in Blue Jeans
I Am, I Said
What? That’s more than five? Of course it’s more than five, this is Neil Diamond we’re talking about here. He’s not going to be contained inside one of my top five lists. And really, I pared it down significantly, because the truth is I could throw down to basically anything he’s ever spun into vinyl. With Neil Diamond, there really is no wrong answer. Maybe America. . maybe that one. As popping as the melody is, and it is pretty triumphal . . Imma say no only because of the theme. It’s no fault of old Neil, mind you. He just happens to be the unwitting victim of my aversion to rock songs about the United States. It’s not about being unpatriotic, it’s just that, these songs rub me as commercial endorsements more than legit get downs.
If I were to give you a top five Karaoke list for yours truly, there would be little concern for overpopulation considering the fact that there are precious few songs to which I will climb on a stage and bare my vocals to complete strangers. Singing in public is one thing, I do it all the time- whilst grocery shopping, working, running, walking in the park on a Saturday. Whatevs. But that’s wholly different from standing up on a stage with props and lights and a digital song sheet staring you down, because at that point it becomes about expectations. See . . when you sing in public, without solicitation, there is a prevailing respect for that kind of rugged improvisation that doesn’t exist on a stage- even a karaoke stage. So while expectations in a karaoke setting are oftentimes lower than Charlie Sheen’s penis, they still matter enough to keep me honest.
Top five karaoke must haves? Como no . . .
The Dock of the Bay- It’s an easy transition for me, with nary a high note to tamper with my harmony.
Sweet Caroline-Same diff. Neil is a most forgiving grader.
September Morn- My grocery shopping Hall of Fame song. Along with Song Sung Blue. Oh Neil . . what you do to me (sigh). . .
Lean on Me- One of my least favorite Bill Withers selections, but imminently singable.
I feel like a Woman!- Totally left field, I know. But it’s one of my favorite car ride songs, like ever. And while I do not possess the feminine wiles to carry this song to its best Gloria Steinem conclusion . . it’s actually a safer bet to break out than you might imagine. If you’re the dude who chooses this hot number to karaoke to, rest assured that the lyrics will cover for a multitude of disharmonious sins. The crowd ain’t gonna be judging your talent . . nope. They’ll be too busy wondering why you chose this song.
When it comes down to it though, it’s going to be Neil. And it’s most likely going to be Sweet Caroline since it just so happens to be one of the best good time songs ever recorded. And I know it six ways to Brooklyn (Neil’s birth place). It will serve me best of all when the lights go hot and the patrons are getting their ten o’clock rowdy on. I’ll take the blues to the corner of Good Times Square and then I’ll just ride the mood to wherever it wants to take me.
My trust in Neil, it rolls like that.