September 12

The Karaoke Crasher

I had an idea for playing shows, though it would take some time to carry out. The songs available at karaoke are a vast wilderness of perfectly good instrumentals with great chord progressions ready for songwriting. Given this, it is not difficult to write a new song with new lyrics based off of a karaoke track. (Though it makes sense to avoid karaoke tracks that have substantial vocal harmonies that have lyrics).

Finding karaoke tracks to write lyrics over is easy as many karaoke tracks are available over streaming services such as Spotify. So, you could find a song, say “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”, by R.E.M., and write a new song over that and have a perfectly good new song. (If you wanted it to be fully yours, you could go the extra mile and create your own new instrumental, adjusting chord changes and song structure to make it sufficiently different.)

But the cherry on top. Is that once you’ve written the song, you can go into any old karaoke bar, on any old karaoke night, and sing your original tunes with an audience that you’ve hijacked through this new writing technique. In other words, you can crash any karaoke joint in the country and force them to listen to your music. Gone are the days of trying to get friends to come out to shows. Just find a popular karaoke joint, and put a slip in for your hijacked song. And now you can perform it for a crowd in any city in the United States.

Of course, the song itself would have to be popular enough to be at most karaoke bars. And you might have some confused looks from the people around you. And perhaps the karaoke jockey might have problems with you subverting the art in this way. Maybe there would be anger if you took a popular song, such as Amy Winehouse’ “Rehab” and rewrote it as a new song, “My Terrible Day”.  And of course if that happened, you would need a series of disguises to go to the same location again. Or maybe not. Maybe karaoke venues could be spots where a new kind of digital songwriter hangs out to try new material. The practice is sort of a hybrid between standards and songwriting. You have a standard track and chord progression that you work with, but the melody and lyrics are all your own. The concept of Karaoke Crashing.