There's a time and a place for everything, even karaoke, and that's all the time and everywhere. There's never a reason not to be singing karaoke. But you do have to choose your songs wisely, as not every situation calls for "Build Me Up Buttercup." Here are some helpful examples of appropriate song choices for the many places you'll encounter karaoke.
Live Band Karaoke
The one place where it's not only acceptable to choose a song with a 3-minute instrumental break, but actually encouraged by a large portion of the room who wants you to stop ruining their favorite song with your terrible vocal chords. Not that you shouldn't sing all of the parts in "Bohemian Rhapsody," but make sure whichever song you choose is one you know by heart, with a rhythm that will allow for at least a couple of manic pelvic thrusts.
Ideal Selection: "American Girl" by Tom Petty.
In order to fill their customers' social interaction void with booze and false confidence, karaoke bars typically maintain a wide array of drinks and an extensive list of songs. Binders upon binders of songs at your disposal, all sorted by artist and song title. Every genre is represented, including a lot of forgotten gems and some brand new chart toppers. So don't fucking sing Journey. OK???
Ideal Selection: Remember that song from the 90's that you never hear on the radio anymore but is instantly recognizable from the opening chords? Yeah, that one.
Chili's Karaoke Wednesday
Nothing overtly sexual. It's a family restaurant and you can't get loaded enough to mimic Prince anyway. While you reconcile the fact that you're spending an evening looking for entertainment at Chili's, fill out a song slip and take it up to the DJ, trying not to slit your wrists with it first. Then order another seven margaritas; it's going to be a long, thoroughly depressing night.
Ideal Selection: "Sweet Caroline," though an obvious and overdone choice, might score you a free app if you perform it with gusto and change the chorus to "Sweet Potato Fries." Boy, that would sure make your life seem less terrible, wouldn't it?
Your Office Christmas Party
You want to be festive, sure, but no one wants to hear your off-key rendition of "We Three Kings." To be more accurate, no one wants to hear your off-key rendition of anything, but because your boss supplied an ample amount of booze, they're willing to tolerate anything other than a traditional religious song. If you have to pick a seasonal song (which you don't), try a modern one. Or you could use this as a failed opportunity to make your coworkers think you're clever or humorous by singing "Working For the Weekend." Ha! That won't make you look like a fucking dingus.
Ideal Selection: "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC, if you're looking for street cred. Something by Def Leppard if you're following your heart.
Your Grandmother's Funeral
Something respectful and preferably in a minor key, but with a groove that will still get all those bodies moving. (Well, almost all those bodies.) After all, this isn't just about mourning a death, it's also about celebrating a life, right? Still, this doesn't mean you can bust out Bloodhound Gang or They Might Be Giants. This is no time to be goofy. Keep it classy and keep it old school. For Gram Gram.
Ideal Selection: "C U When U Get There" by Coolio.