Don't Stop Believin'... It's Karaoke Night

By Lauren Lampasone, Reference and Research Services
January 24, 2014

Karaoke: either don't you get the appeal, or you are completely and utterly obsessed with standing in front of a room of strangers, belting your heart out over the cheesiest of MIDI sounds, guided along only by words on a screen (and maybe a little liquid courage). Where did this tradition come from, why do people like it so much? Here are a few books on the topic of karaoke, the Japanese phrase for "empty orchestra."

Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke is Rob Sheffield's follow up to 2007's Love is a Mix Tape and 2010's Talking to Girls about Duran Duran. It's a memoir of his life starting in his 30s after moving to New York City following the death of his wife. He learns to love life again, in part because of karaoke.

I was inspired by Stevie's Morrissey post and decided to keep track of karaoke songs mentioned as I read along. The number is the Kindle location for the place in the book.

Some good karaoke quotes I also highlighted in the book:

  • "Karaoke is a relatively new development in Western culture. It might seem like it’s been around forever, but it didn’t arrive until recently, and we still don’t know its long-term effects, like some new drug that hits the market before it’s properly tested." 737
  • "There’s no way to age out of karaoke. It doesn’t recognize time or history. All music, whenever it came from, whoever made it, it’s all right now. In addition to everything else it is, karaoke is a way for people to keep connecting to music as they get older." 2528
  • "You have to bring the Neil. It makes you engage with your own emotions on a more extravagant level. And when that spills over into your everyday life, it brings out the sequins in your soul." 2612

Reading this book made me wonder what other kinds of resources on the topic of karaoke we have at the library. The answer is quite a few! Some are research materials available at the Library for the Performing Arts. The library also has a clippings file on the topic. See the list of materials I gathered in BiblioCommons called: Karaoke Night. We also have some CDs if you'd like to try at home, though YouTube is also a good place to find practice material.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Ultimate Guide to Karaoke Domination by Raina Lee is a guide full of history, tips and tricks, karaoke etiquette, extensive song suggestions for different moods and situations, karaoke games, a directory of further resources, and a glossary. There is a pop quiz at the end and colorful photos and illustrations throughout.

What is your favorite song to do at karaoke?