Monday, June 22, 2009

Karaoke: Music from the Masses

How many pastimes can boast entertainment value without talent? Karaoke is unique, both as an activity and as a spectator event in that respect. You don't have to sing well to enjoy singing karaoke. You don't even have to speak the language (reading is required, however.) In fact, the worse you are, the more inebriated you are, or the more like a Japanese businessman you appear, the more entertaining you are for your audience. With karaoke, people want to see either great performances or colossal failures. Either extreme is equally entertaining for different reasons.

This is why bars are the perfect setting for karaoke. Alcohol provides the lubrication. It provides shy, talented singers with the courage to perform. It takes untalented hacks and turns them into sloppy messes of fun. It creates unique opportunities for artistic expression, and versions of songs never imagined or intended by the original artists. And it creates audiences receptive to nearly any level of performance.

I've always really like karaoke. For a while Kate and I were going with friends after work to a local bar for drinks and singing. Two of us entered a karaoke competition as a result. Unfortunately I had to drop out after missing two weeks because of a bad cold. One day I'd like to try it again. It's just fun. Whether you going for a serious or a goofy performance doesn't matter. You just have to get up and sing. And get most of the lyrics right.

Or not.

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