Last night I enjoyed a new experience and, well, it led to some rather unexpected results. I visited a karaoke bar!
Okay, go ahead, label me deprived or something. The fact is, it’s been more than a few years since I stopped hanging out in bars for the sake of just hanging out. The activity just doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal for me. Sure, I did my share of it back in the day but I’ve usually got way better things to do with my time. So almost every time I find myself in that environment I learn something. And karaoke… I guess it’s a trend that just passed me by.
Here’s my basic interpretation of how it works. The establishment primes its customers with alcohol while playing loud music. I think it has to be loud so that everyone needs to shout to converse. It gets the voice primed. The alcohol serves as lubricant. Then they open the mike. The operator (or MC, I guess – what do you call the guy who guides the show?) sets up the songs and works the equipment. He seemed to have the ability to mix the song’s actual vocals back in so that more reserved participants would have a little help. Lyrics are displayed on strategically placed video monitors. Available songs could be chosen from a large binder – a couple of them, actually – that could be found on the bar. The night progressed and the lubricity rose, with mostly predictable results. A couple of people were actually pretty good. Most were not, but all were entertaining to one degree or another.
Before you ask, no, I didn’t take the mike at any point, which was probably a good thing for the other patrons. I must confess, though, before the night was over I did peruse the binder of songs. The lubrication, in the form of a few Coronas, was working as expected. Had I found some Zappa I might have given it a whirl. And that leads right into the unexpected results I mentioned earlier.
Time and time again I was surprised – astounded, actually – by song lyrics. Everything I knew was wrong! Top-40, metal, didn’t matter. Stuff I kind of thought I maybe sort of knew? Nope.
I’ll never listen to music the same way again.
There’s one tune, maybe some kind of rap, that I hear kinda regularly on the satellite station at the gym. It sounds to me like they’re chanting about making and eating some kind of soup. I guess I’m wrong about that one, too.