Get us in your inbox

Best karaoke songs
Image: Time Out/Antonio Scorza/Shutterstock

The best karaoke songs ever

Dial up one of the best karaoke songs next time you feel like grabbing a mic and soaking up the spotlight

Advertising

One of the keys to acing these karaoke songs is having fun with them. No one will care that you’re no Mariah Carey if you project a little confidence and don’t take it too seriously. The other key is picking the right song: as a general rule, steer clear of anything dirge-like and focus on failsafe party songs, tear-jerking love songs and undeniable ’90s bangers. Choose any of the 50 karaoke songs in this list and you’ll be well on your way to karaoke MVP status.

Listen to these songs on Amazon Music

RECOMMENDED:
🎶 The best ’80s songs
🎉 The best party songs ever made
🎸 The best classic rock songs
💔 The best breakup songs
🕺 The best pop songs of all time

Best karaoke songs ever, ranked

‘Purple Rain’ by Prince
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Amazon

1. ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince

Now that our patron saint of frilly-bloused, pan-erotic, disco-rock-sex-funk has sadly shuffled off this mortal coil, his signature slow jam can serve as much as tribute as a “let's-slow-things-down” showpiece in your karaoke rep. If it's not too lofty to put that pressure on what is—let's face it—a mostly frivolous activity, a karaoke run at ‘Purple Rain’  might even lift some spirits. Sung in a gracious middle key (Eb, as the preview screen helpfully reminds you) rather than Prince's frequent falsetto squeal, it should allow you to bare your soul without any embarrassing high-register mishaps.

‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes

2. ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes

Nearly every list of the best songs ever recorded has ‘Be My Baby’ somewhere near the top, and deservedly so. Ronnie Spector was rock & roll’s first bad girl, so pay your respects by putting this gem in the karaoke song queue. Phil Spector’s studio magic made the song a pop touchstone, but Ronnie’s spunky charm makes it a karaoke classic.

Advertising
‘I Want It That Way’  by the Backstreet Boys
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Jive Records

3. ‘I Want It That Way’ by the Backstreet Boys

Lurking behind the shimmery Nordic production of this megahit is a great soul ballad. The lyrics are famously nonsensical, owing to Swedish producer and songwriter Max Martin's tenuous grasp of English, but poetry's beside the point when you've got one of pop music's catchiest choruses. Kevin Richardson—BSB's ‘The Old One’ —perceptively nailed the song's appeal with his assessment: "There are a lot of songs out there that don't make sense, but make you feel good when you sing along to them, and that's one of them." Couldn't think of a better karaoke endorsement than that.

‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen

There’s something about an Americana ode to blue-collar youth that makes for a surefire karaoke classic, and no one knows this better than the Boss. Released in 1975, this song was his first charting single, the one that laid the foundation for decades of battered blue jeans and working-class anthems. And all these years later, a well delivered ‘Tramps like us / Baby we were born to run’  will still slay a crowd. 

Advertising
’I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney Houston
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Arista

5. ’I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney Houston

Whitney’s 1987 smash remains an invigorating blast of lovelorn pop glory, her powerful, agile voice soaring effortlessly over spritely synths and funk-syncopated guitar. The whole thing makes the achingly lonely search for a dance floor soulmate sound like the best Friday night ever. Of course, nobody’s alone at karaoke. Especially if you nail that third-act key change.

‘Love Shack’ by the B-52s
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Reprise

6. ‘Love Shack’ by the B-52s

The B-52s’ 1989 signature hit – sorry, ‘Rock Lobster’ – works fabulously at karaoke because it’s kind of an audience participation number. After you deliver Cindy Wilson’s classic ‘your what?’ line, the entire room can yell back: ‘Tin roof... rusted!’ But really, ‘Love Shack’ is so much fun to sing and listen to that the whole shack will be shimmying long before then. 

Advertising
‘Since U Been Gone’  by Kelly Clarkson
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. ‘Since U Been Gone’ by Kelly Clarkson

The simple chord progression and the restrained vocals in the beginning of Clarkson’s 2004 hit make for one of the greatest buildups to a powerhouse chorus is pop music. Sing this in front of a room full of strangers and the whole lot will be scream-belting, ‘But since you’ve been gone, I can breathe for the first time!’ Don’t worry though—you’ll likely get your chance to shine solo again come the verses. 

‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E. King
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Atco Records / Atlantic Records

8. ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E. King

No karaoke outing is complete without a teary moment, and here's yours, courtesy of the 1961 classic ‘Stand by Me’ which has been covered more than 400 times (no, we're not including your karaoke version in that count). Written by Ben E. King with song gods Leiber and Stoller, the song has its roots in a gospel standard called ‘Lord Stand by Me’ and certainly its reach goes beyond regular pop romance—as evidenced by its inclusion in the 1986 right of passage movie Stand by Me. Watch, listen, sing, cry—oh, and enjoy.

Advertising
‘Royals’ by Lorde

9. ‘Royals’ by Lorde

Lorde’s unexpected breakthrough was game changer for pop music, though it remains a kind of karaoke dare. Take away the voice and what's left? Some finger snaps and stark synthetic drums. There are no great string swells to hide behind, no opportunities for air guitar antics, no climactic key changes. It's like Run-D.M.C. for sopranos. And yet, because of the subject matter, your skill matters not. We are not pop stars. But here, in the bar, ‘Let me live that fantasy.’ 

‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ by Eurythmics
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Dell9300/Eurythmics

10. ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ by Eurythmics

Who are we to disagree with the power of one of Annie Lennox’s most prominent new wave anthems, written with musical partner Dave Stewart in the wake of the demise of their former band, The Tourists. There’s a decent chance that you already know the repetitive lyrics to this ’80s bop built around a pair of intersecting synthesizer riffs, so hold your head up and sing this karaoke song loud.

Advertising
‘Killing Me Softly’ by The Fugees
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Ruff House

11. ‘Killing Me Softly’ by The Fugees

A hip-hop-inflected cover of Roberta Flack’s interpretation of a ballad by ’70s singer-songwriter Lori Lieberman (inspired by her experience at concert headlined by ‘American Pike’ troubadour Don McLean), this hit by the Fugees works best as a karaoke song if you’ve got a whole lot of confidence or a killer set of pipes. Backed only by a sparse drum beat, you’ll be able to put your own spin on Lauryn Hill’s silky vocal melodies— and don’t be afraid to designate a hype man to take care of the ‘one time, two time’ asides or to help belt out the chorus.

‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Polydor Records

12. ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor

Sometimes you need to get in front of a group of strangers and make it clear that, no matter what challenges or misfortune the world throws in your path, you’re going to persevere. In those situations, you can’t go wrong with disco diva Gloria Gaynor’s iconic breakup anthem, which brought empowerment to the dance floor when the track debuted in 1978. Settle for ’90s alt-rockers Cake’s cover of this tune if you must, but Gaynor’s original version is infinitely more groovy.

Advertising
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Queen Productions, Ltd

13. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen

The high pomp of opera and the gutter circumstance of rock & roll tangle memorably in Queen’s classic 1975 art-rock epic. No one can sing like Freddie Mercury, of course, but the motley nature of the song—which segues from plaintive ballad and quasiclassical choral harmonies to guitar-driven rebel yell—means that pretty much anything goes, from melodramatic group sing-along (‘Bismillah! No, we will not let you go!’ ‘Let him go!’) to Wayne’s World–style head-thrashing.

’Call Me Maybe’ by Carley Rae Jepsen
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

14. ’Call Me Maybe’ by Carley Rae Jepsen

The concept of giving your number to someone and having them actually call you was already extremely quaint when Canadian singer-songwriter Carley Rae Jepsen released this infectious single in 2011, but that didn’t stop her rise to pop stardom. Assuming you can request this tune early enough in the evening (it’s a pretty popular karaoke song choice), you can remind folks that this song has a couple verses before they start screaming along to the refrain.

Advertising
‘The Best’ by Tina Turner
Wikipedia

15. ‘The Best’ by Tina Turner

Do you need to be ‘simply the best’ to belt out Tina’s soft rock warhorse? Of course not – it’s all about attitude and your ability to sing it like you mean it. Just make sure that you don’t choose this number too early in the night because, well, after ‘The Best’, where else is there to go? 

‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’’ by Nancy Sinatra
Photograph: Supplied/Phillip Booth

16. ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’’ by Nancy Sinatra

Sassy ladies (and hey, gents too), your moment has arrived! This sultry, defiant ’60s pop staple is among the crowning jewels of Sinatra's glittering collaborations with songwriter Lee Hazlewood and works best in performance when its singer is backed up by a troupe of go-go dancers. Bribe your friends.

Advertising
‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’ by the Righteous Brothers

17. ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’ by the Righteous Brothers

When it comes to musical moments in Top Gun, the greatest is undeniably Kenny Loggins's ‘Playing with the Boys’ set against the homoerotic gloss of a beach volleyball game, but Cruise and Goose crooning the Righteous Brothers in a bar is probably more remembered. That scene is the genesis for every impulse to dial up this doo-wop in a karaoke parlour, because a 1986 fighter-jet movie remains more relevant than blue-eyed balladry produced by Phil Spector half a century ago. It's cheesy and effective, like Cruise himself. But heed the warning of Goose: She's lost that loving feeling? I hate it when she does that.’

‘Faith’ by George Michael

18. ‘Faith’ by George Michael

As soon as this song’s iconic, Bo Diddley-inspired riff kicks in, you’ll have the karaoke crowd in the palm of your hands. Channelling the soulful vocal style of the late, great George Michael isn’t going to be easy, so make sure you throw everything into the climactic ‘baby!’. And if you want to shake your ass like GM in the video, hey, who is anyone to judge? 

Advertising
‘Rehab’ by Amy Winehouse
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/SnapSnap/Jack3mani.filed.wordpress.com

19. ‘Rehab’ by Amy Winehouse

Right off the bat, you get the chorus: ‘They tried to make me go to rehab!’ It’s fantastic when pop songs do that, no dillydallying, no buildup. The audience will know immediately what you are singing, and they will respond, ‘No, no, no!’ Of course, you must sing this karaoke song completely blitzed out of your mind. Sobriety is to this tune what satanists are to gospel. If you don't fall off the stage by that final ‘I won’t go,’ spilling into a cocktail table, ending the night in stains, you did it wrong.

‘Say It Ain’t So’ by Weezer
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/From the Garage

20. ‘Say It Ain’t So’ by Weezer

Okay, so this song made its name on its monster guitar riff. But with its esoteric, affecting lyrics and Rivers Cuomo’s bellowed ‘say it ain’t so, whoa, whoa,’ it’s simply made to be one of the best karaoke songs. The only problem you’ll have is figuring out where to stash the mike as you furiously air-guitar.

Advertising
‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X
Photograph: Shutterstock

21. ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X

A viral TikTok hit that turned into an inescapable pop juggernaut, there aren’t many people who haven’t heard Lil Nas X’s infectious amalgamation of country tropes and hip-hop swagger. That makes “Old Town Road” the ideal karaoke song for capturing the attention of the crowd, especially if you take the stage in a cowboy hat and Wranglers. Plus, there are so many different remixes of this track—featuring folks like Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug and members of South Korean boy band BTS—that you could probably sing multiple versions in a single night.

‘Ice, Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice
Streamy Awards/Flickr

22. ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice

Every human should be able to recite at least one couplet from this 1990 global smash, do so without shame. Yes, the song is so stupid in so many ways, but it's also a stone-cold specimen of pristine pop. Theres that perfect bassline, swiped from ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen and David Bowie, Ice’s ludicrous braggadocio (‘Quick to the point to the point no fakin’ / Cookin’ MCs like a pound of bacon’) and, of course, that dance routine with those pants. Word to your mother.

Advertising
‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)’ by Beastie Boys
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Def Jam/Columbia/David Gamboli

23. ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)’ by Beastie Boys

There are few requirements involved in performing the Beastie Boys’ brazen ode to youthful rebellion. You must be awake. You must be able to read. The barrier to entry is low for this karaoke song, making it one of your easiest and best options for some sophomoric fun. It’s also highly recommended to have a gaggle of friends on stage all yelling with you into one microphone. But really, in the spirit of the song, there are no rules. If someone tries to tell you otherwise, throw a pie in their face.

‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ by Aretha Franklin
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Atlantic Records / Columbia Records / Screen Gems

24. ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ by Aretha Franklin

Just the sound of those opening piano chords is enough to send anyone with ears into a swoon, such is the singular beauty of this 1967 Goffin and King classic. The question is, do you have the pipes—or the chutzpah—to take it on? Aretha’s spine-tinglingly sung point here is that her man makes her feel like a red-blooded, musky, perfect-as-she-is woman, and she wants to bust open her heart to tell you this glorious truth. Sing it like a queen, or not at all.

Advertising
‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

25. ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

There are few things quite so rare and precious in life as those places and people that feel like home way down in your bones, and this cute, stompy duet from 2010 hits the nail squarely and sweetly on the head with its heartfelt chorus: ‘Home is wherever I'm with you.’ Bonus: There’s ample opportunity for group whistling here.

‘Suspicious Minds’ by Elvis Presley
Wikipedia

26. ‘Suspicious Minds’ by Elvis Presley

There’s a reason Elvis’ version is remembered over Mark James’ anemic original: The King understood that this is a song that needs to be bellowed, and legions of drunk karaoke enthusiasts have been doing exactly that for decades. A guaranteed stomp-along classic.

Advertising
‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ by Wham!
© DR

27. ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ by Wham!

This Motown-inspired pop banger has more energy than a labrador puppy. That makes it a guaranteed karaoke crowd-pleaser even if music snobs might try to tell you it’s ‘a bit cheesy’. They’re wrong, obviously, and do not let his put you off. If you’re not much of a singer, just play Andrew to your singing partner’s George and deliver a Grammy-winning performance on air tambourine. 

‘Islands in the Stream’ by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
© Piper Ferguson

28. ‘Islands in the Stream’ by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Written by the Bee Gees, this chart-topping 1983 duet has become a karaoke staple. Even if your singing voice lacks even a trace of country grit, it’s a song you can’t really go wrong with, not least because everyone in the room will be singing along by the time you reach the chorus. Best performed in a cowboy hat with a hint of a line-dancing shuffle. 

Advertising
‘Tears of a Clown’ by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/FuriousFreddy

29. ‘Tears of a Clown’ by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

When that opening calliope riff hits, everyone in the bar will know you’ve just cued up Smokey’s timeless ode to weepy bedroom solitude. To sell it, you’ll need to summon the gods of skyscraper-topping Motown vocals (the original was recorded at the famed label’s studio A) so why not take a tip from the pros. Legendary Apollo Theater performers like Robinson would rub a lucky tree stump before heading out on the stage. Find the nearest arboreal equivalent (most likely some formica paneling) and go for it.

‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline

30. ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline

When everyone else is screaming out pop hits like cans of spray cheese gone amok, class up the joint with Patsy Cline’s mournful country classic, written for her by Willie Nelson in 1961. The simple melody doesn’t require vocal pyrotechnics, so this is good choice for less showy singers. And the slow, steady tempo gives you plenty of room to croon, back-phrase and otherwise make the song yours.

Advertising
‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir Mix-A-Lot
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/MindsEyeTHPS/American Recordings/Universal Music Group

31. ‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir Mix-A-Lot

Like the Nostrodamus of butts, Sir Mix-a-Lot foresaw a future in which we’d all be as obsessed with ass as he is. Nicki Minaj sampled him heavily for ‘Anaconda’, J. Lo and Iggy Azalea gifted the world with a track simply titled ‘Booty,’ and Kim Kardashian is a person who exists. No karaoke night is complete without a salute to the song that started it all.

‘Drunk in Love’ by Jay-Z and Beyonce
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Adabow/Columbia Records

32. ‘Drunk in Love’ by Jay-Z and Beyonce

Sure, it’s a duet, but really you know who's wearing the pants (or at least, tiny underpants) here: This is Yoncé's joint, from its trap beats and shuddering subterranean bassline to the singer's febrile, sometimes cartoonish vocals (‘grainin’ on that wood’ ). Select this song for karaoke, and be prepared to go the distance with its delivery: not recommended for work parties. 

Advertising
‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ by Def Leppard
Foto: Cortesía Def Lepparad

33. ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ by Def Leppard

‘Gunter glieben glauten globen!’ Huh? That’s Rock of Ages, you say? Look, all Def Leppard smashes are the same, sex-craved kaiju with kick drums like empty cargo ships and blue balls falsetto, glossed up in producer Mutt Lange’s Wall of Hairspray sound. You can gunter glieben glauten globen over any damn one you please. As you stand there onstage, looking around the bar for packets of sugar to dump on your head for dramatic effect, the heretofore unrealized inanity of the lyrics really sinks in. The song rhymes ‘tramp’ with ‘video vamp’. Who’s pouring sugar on whom, and what exactly is a ‘radar phone’? Shut off your brain and air guitar.

‘Say My Name’ Destiny’s Child
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/MatthewWaller

34. ‘Say My Name’ Destiny’s Child

For an R&B song boasting amazing female vocalists (including, you know, Beyoncé), ‘Say My Name’ doesn’t require all that big a singing range. What it does need, however, is some pretty fast talking. To impress the rest of the bar, make sure you got the lyrics on lock—or maybe the support of your personal Kelly Rowland, Letoya Luckett and LaTavia Robertson.

Advertising
‘A Little Respect’ by Erasure
Foto: Cortesía Erasure

35. ‘A Little Respect’ by Erasure

This synth-pop classic is nothing short of transcendent: an LGBTQ+ anthem, absolutely, but also a banger covered by ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ band Wheatus and memorably used in ‘Scrubs’. Few of us can hit Andy Bell’s skyscraping notes; few of us can resist trying to do so anyway. And yes, you do deserve ‘A Little Respect’ just for stepping up to the mike. 

‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses
FOTO: Geffen

36. ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses

‘Sweet Child o’ Mine,’ this iconic bands only U.S. No. 1 single, is a 10-point routine for Axl Rose imitators. It starts with your nuts in a bunch, full-on banshee Axl, before letting you really chew into his Brit imitation and serious busker mode on ‘Where do we go now?’ bridge, which of course climaxes into a glass-shattering falsetto shriek. Place that order for lemon and honey tea beforehand.

Advertising
‘Africa’ by Toto
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/PhilipTerryGraham/Columbia Records

37. ‘Africa’ by Toto

Let’s face it: There’s no way you can hit those high notes on the chorus, and no one—and we mean no one—has any idea what vocalist David Paich is carrying on about. But man, is that fake-tribal verse smooth, and man, is that chorus melody sweet. This is one of those karaoke songs that gets the whole room singing along or at the very least trying its best.

‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie

38. ‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie

If you’re pretty confident in your upper register, this shimmering disco classic is an excellent choice at karaoke. If you’re, well, a little less steady on those high notes, you can still make ‘Heart of Glass’ work for you. Just channel Debbie Harry’s quintessential NYC cool as best as you can before really letting rip on a bridge that no one can mess up: ‘Da-da-da, da-dum-da-dum-da, da-dum-da-da-da...’ 

Advertising
‘Roar’ by Katy Perry
©DR

39. ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry

‘Roar’ is proof that formulaic pop can truly be a beautiful thing. With its catchy, jing-jangle verses, kicker of a chorus and ever-appealing girl-power vibe, it provided Perry with her best song since ‘Teenage Dream’, and it’ll provide you with a surefire karaoke-night hit.

‘The Boy is Mine’ by Brandy and Monica

40. ‘The Boy is Mine’ by Brandy and Monica

This super slinky 1998 number was guaranteed to be a hit for its singers—pitched as an ‘answer song’ to MJ and Paul McCartney’s 1982 duet ‘The Girl Is Mine’, it played off the supposed rivalry between the two female R&B stars. But that’s beside the point when you hear the song, which still sounds crisper and cooler than an icicle at a club in an igloo—and guarantees any karaoke singer the opportunity to channel his or her belligerent feelings into the musical expression of eyebrows raised and arms folded: ‘I'm sorry that you seem to be confused.’ Snap.

Advertising
‘Hold On’ by Wilson Phillips
Robert Catto, Photographer

41. ‘Hold On’ by Wilson Phillips

Did you know that in 1990, ‘Hold On’ bumped Madonnas ‘Vogue’ off the top spot of the Billboard charts? Did you know that Wilson Phillips' debut album sold more than 10 million copies? Did you know that ‘Hold On’ is actually a perfect, if weirdly nauseating, karaoke song? Of course you did! And very likely you loved every minute of the trios cameo in the 2011 movie Bridesmaids, too. Time to re-create the magic.

‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ by Snoop Dogg
Photograph: Josh Telles

42. ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ by Snoop Dogg

Can you twerk? Are you willing to try? If you answered no, please pass the mike to someone bolder or more inebriated. Covering Snoop’s ode to glutes is as much an embarrassing dance routine as a karaoke number: ‘Get low.’ ‘Scrub the ground.’ Pharrell’s beat, which sounds like bacon fat on a skillet and pulling lollipops out of a mouth, is equally lascivious. Best not to try this one out at the wedding party in front of the grand-in-laws. But among your friends? You're going home lucky. Or with wet pants.

Advertising
‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams

43. ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams

There are about 80 unique words in the lyrics to Pharrell’s feel-good smash, but it feels like about 10. Let’s be honest, when you pick this ditty, you’re looking for minimal effort and maximum crowd-pleasing. It’s the macarena for your mouth. It’s a fart joke as elevator disco. Have you whiffed Pharrell’s Comme des Garçons fragrance? It probably smells like pizza and naps. Wrap a heavy coat around your head, jump up there, clap and sing, ‘Because I’m happy!’ about 56 times. Walk off stage a lazy champion.

‘Party in the U.S.A.’ by Miley Cyrus
Photographer: cousindaniel.com

44. ‘Party in the U.S.A.’ by Miley Cyrus

Poke fun at her dorky Hannah Montana days or the infamous bedazzled weed leotard all you like—there’s no denying that Miley Cyrus has given the world some bonafide karaoke classics (or Bangerz, if you will). Before you break into one of her most memorable tracks, you’ll probably want to wait until everyone at the bar is at least a couple drinks in, just to ensure that everyone is movin’ their hips and shakin’ their heads (like, yeah) when you all start belting out the chorus.

Advertising
‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast
Photograph: Courtesy Discogs.com

45. ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast

If singing isn’t your strongest suit—but you’re fantastic at jumping around and getting everybody pumped—then fire up this early aughts favorite. Better plan ahead though if you want to match the tune in your best André ‘Ice Cold’ 3000 green get-up.

‘Creep’ by Radiohead
Photograph: Rozette Rago Radiohead

46. ‘Creep’ by Radiohead

There’s a cheap gimmick for scoring a pop hit: cursing in the chorus. The radio stations may have to bleep out the words, but we love belting out those f-bombs in cars and bars. It worked wonders for Cee Lo’s ‘Fuck You’ and Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl.’ Likewise, would Radiohead ever have been able to become Radiohead without that angsty refrain of ‘you’re so fucking special’ in 1994? Probably not. However, Jonny Greenwood’s radical guitar interjection—chunk-unk!—turned the power chord into expletive and proved these guys were smarter than the text.

Advertising
‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ by Tears For Fears
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Nem18/Mercury Records

47. ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ by Tears For Fears

First time stepping up to the microphone? If you can’t think of a song that you’re comfortable singing, this new wave classic is simple enough that almost anyone can pull it off. The slow-moving tune about the corrupting allure of power sports a recurring vocal melody that doesn’t require an professionally-trained voice—or a mullet and a single dangling earring.

‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones
Fotografia: Øderud

48. ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones

That riff, a cross between a sitar and a revving dirt bike, is the most recognizable thing about the song. For such a ubiquitous hit, the lyrics continually surprise beyond the titular chorus. So much so that when Cat Power covered the tune in 2000, slicing off the refrain, it was a strange new poem about the anxiety of commercials and subliminal advertising. This from the first rock band to develop a brand logo, a pair of juicy red lips.

Advertising
‘What’s My Age Again’ by Blink 182
Photograph: Courtesy Universal Music Group

49. ‘What’s My Age Again’ by Blink 182

The late ’90s saw the birth of a new anti-hero, the sophomoric mid-twenties jokester who found himself sandwiched in between the demands of adulthood and the comforts of being of a teenager, in the form of The Tom Green Show, skateboarding and prank calls. Sure, now it’s called Peter Pan Syndrome and is largely frowned upon, but for a while this way of being had not only a celebratory moment, but an even more celebratory anthem. The lyrics demand a carefree, no-hold-barred attitude, and Tom’s instantly recognizable guitar riff is sure to make the bar scream like it’s everyone's 6th grade dance all over again. So throw off your adult responsibilities, sag your cargo pants and belt out this promise that even if you get older, you don’t have to grow up until you’re good and ready.

‘Someone Like You’ by Adele
Photograph: Richard Isaac/REX/Shutterstock

50. ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele

Still pining for your ex when friends drag you to karaoke night? There’s only one song for you. Save it for when you’re four drinks in and ready to make the crowd deeply uncomfortable. Don’t worry if you don’t have Adele’s vocal chops—the tears streaming down your face will distract everyone from the high notes you’re mangling.

Recommended

    More on Time In

      You may also like
        Advertising