...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

sing for the laughter, sing for the tears

So over the course of the last few years, I've learned a little bit about my personal limitations. Now, I'm not one to advocate squelching the ability to be all you can be, but I realize that within my very real realm, there's just a few things I'm not meant to do.

For example, a raging fear of heights that makes me wary of even step ladders means I'll never climb Mt. Everest. My distaste for blood and internal organs ensures that if I'm ever on a crowded airplane and a stewardess calls out, "Is there a doctor on the plane?!" when another passenger falls under the madness of a mystery illness, I'm just going to keep flipping the pages of last month's Glamour. Of course, the fact that I lack a medical degree may have more to do with my apathy then the fear of blood, but you get my point.

Additionally, I'm not much of a singer. Sure, I'll perform straight up rock star style while alone in the mini, and in my house as I do my little chores, but you're never going to see me on the YouTube, busting a love song for my paramour, even though I'm sure he'd love my interpretation of Total Eclipse of the Heart and tell me how hot I am and what a good job I did. I know my limitations, and believe me, singing is a huge 'oh, hell no!" This, of course, makes fronting Penchant for Panties - my all girl (and one token guy on bass who we're all doing ala Fleetwood Mac circa Rumours, which makes us seethe with emo jealousy and yet fuels some of our greatest hits, most notably "Hold up, G, that ain't my g-string, yo") - a smidge difficult, but for my art I shall suffer and for my art I would make you all suffer, too.

(side note: I discovered last night that I can play a stunning rendition of the Mac's Tusk on my young son's tiny heiny. I call it "Tush")

Keeping my public singing in check means I've never done karaoke. Ever. Not even in my drinking days, when the fuel of $1.50 rum drinks prompted me to unbutton my shirts more than my inhibitions. This does not, however, mean I don't have a set list worked out should I ever say "screw it" one day, toss up the rock hands, and take the stage like some self assured Joan Jett and rock the house.

Then I would pause, ask the crowd if saying "rock the house" was still cool, then charm them with the tale that, in eighth grade, I had Joan Jett's hairstyle, but rather than looking tough, yet sexy, I looked like a skater boy punk.

Anyway, back to my set list. I've tried to compile one that doesn't contain worn out classics you can always count on when the karaoke kicks in. There is no Patsy Cline, no "I Got You Babe", nor (even though this pains me greatly) "Summer Nights". Instead, raise your lighters and cell phones for the following:
  • Mr Jones by Counting Crows. Mr. Jones and me tell each other fairy tales, like the one he always tells me about how I rock and how cute I am, thus making me giggle. He likes it when we stare at the beautiful women. Mostly because he has this lipstick lesbian fantasy he keeps trying to get me to bust. Whatever, Mr. Jones. Whatever.
  • Standing Outside a Broken Phone booth With Money in my Hand by Primitive Radio Gods. Mostly because I like songs where the title is never mentioned. And I've been downhearted, baby, ever since the day we met. Ever since the day we met.
  • Popular by Nada Surf. My mom always said I was a catch. Moms pretty much have to say that.
  • Going The Distance by Cake. Because of cake. Cake is good.
  • Jukebox Hero by Foreigner. Everybody dreams of being a rock star, right? Some people just never get outta their house and go do it.
  • Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson. How can I put it? This song makes me bang my head and maybe gives a nod to my stalker tendencies. If I had stalker tendencies.Which I don't, thank you. In fact, I'm happy to say I have very few tendencies of any kind. I'm so movin' on.
  • I'm moving on to You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Barbra and Neil. Single names. Doubly wonderful. Clearly, performing this means I need a duet partner. Don't tell me used to be's don't count anymore, Numby. When it's over, you can just roll over and turn out the light.

This is the show I perform at least once a week while en route to work. Groupies are rocking the sides of the mini by the time I arrive, and my crew sells concert t-shirts out of the back. Old school baseball shirts with iron-on transfers of Penchant for Panties. I may one day be convinced to perform it in front of other people, but truly, it would likely take alcohol to convince me and maybe you should go back up and read what happens to me when I drink.

However, I would listen to you sing off-key renditions of popular hits, and shake my head adamantly when you begged me to come up on stage with you to sing a duet, telling you "No, no, there's no way I could do that! My voice is the only flat thing about me! I don't want to steal your spotlight!" So tell me what's on your karaoke set list.

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17 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Once a few years back, a fellow community theater director in dire straits (the situation, not the band) called upon me to fill in a spot in a musical she was directing after one of her actors backed out. I don't sing. I never sang publicly prior to that (or since for that matter) but for one shining moment (three performances over the course of a weekend) I belted out a song about cougars (the animals, not the women) and what to do if you encounter them in the wild. Everyone told me a did a fine job, but I think they were humoring me. If I were to do karaoke (unlikely) I think I could maybe pull off a rendition of Vertical Horizon's Everything You Want... at least it sounds good inside my head when I sing it. ;-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Don't worry sweetie, if you ever decide to bust a youtube, my inner Simon Cowell will come out and say, "Not to be rude, but that was dreadful...or WHAT was THAT?"

I'll still expect you to sing on our road trip to someplace fun, far, far, far from the darkness. I can't be expected to be the only one out of tune. :)

mvngonlngovrdue

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 2:58:00 AM  
Blogger Satan said...

I do a lot of George Thorogood karaoke. It's my favorite.

I would pay good money/firstborn child to hear you sing Jukebox Hero.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 6:19:00 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Since U Been Gone would definitely be on my list too. Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar, Thrash Unreal by Against Me!, Extraordinary by Liz Phair, and Divinyls' I Touch Myself would also be on my list. Of course, the fact that my voice makes dogs howl and frightens small children would likely mean no one would let me complete my set. :-(

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 7:34:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

Be honest, there is no way you could perform HALF of those songs on your short route to work.

And I'm honored to be a part of this duet, but... I *do* get to do Neil's part, and not Barbra's, right? Because I think I could make a night out of just Neil songs.

And then maybe we could do "Summer Nights," as an encore.

Is there some fine line where we could get enough alcohol in you to do the singing, but not so much that you are naked and passed out on stage? Although, admittedly, that might just add to the rock star persona... Tricia would be proud.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 8:19:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

I love karaoke! Perhaps just a bit more than is entirely, uh, seemly. . .

Some of the tunes I've busted over the years (and no, I don't mean 'busted' in the sense of 'smashed' or 'messed up'; I've got a pretty darn good singing voice, thankyouverymuch) -

(no one would be surprised if my list runs pretty top-heavy with Beatles numbers, would they?)

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da (gee, really?)
I Saw Her Standing There
Birthday
Back in the USSR
In My Life
Something

and I've taken a shot or two at Twist and Shout, too

and by Sir Paul, without the other three ('cuz I wouldn't want my setlist to be unbalanced, with only songs from one band) -

Maybe I'm Amazed
My Love

And, a few that have nothing to do with Paul McCartney -

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?; Creedence Clearwater Revival

(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You; Elvis

Lean On Me; Bill Withers

You've Got a Friend; either the James Taylor or Carole King versions (altho, since I'm doing the singing, it's only subtle differences in the backup music, so who really cares?)

And if I'm feeling really bold, I might take a shot at something like Just the Two of Us by Bill Withers, but you can't be timid with stuff like that. . .

I suppose I ought to take a shot at Me and Mrs. Jones sometime, eh? But that would probably require the kind of boldness that only comes from a few beers, and then I'd totally bust it (and not in the good way). . .

And hey, which 'Mr. Jones' were you talkin' about, anyway?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger cat said...

Oh my god! Standing Outside a Broken Phone booth With Money in my Hand!!! I haven't heard that song in forever and I LOVED it!Thank you for reminding me about it!! *dances*

What a great song!

And I love Cake. Not just the food, but the musical group as well. Aside from Jukebox Hero and Popular which I don't think I have ever heard (the link for Popular doesn't work for me :() We have VERY similar musical tastes. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Bee said...

OH MY GOD!!!
When I was way way younger, I saw an episode of Blossom where Seven or Six whateverthehell the sidekicks name was, she sang that You Don't Bring Me Flowers song! From that day on it's been the song I sing to the hubs when I want flowers!

P.S.
He hates it but I don't think it's because of my voice. No. No. Can't be why.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 6:55:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

i've never heard the standing outside some phone booth song...i need to google it apparently.

me? i'm gonna go balls to the wall and sing hit me baby one more time like only a cracked out british britney can. [when did she become british btw? so bipolar of her]

then just when i'm dodging tomatoes and the occasional rock tumbler i think i'll break out some old school...walk this way. although i dont know the words to either one of these songs i'm hoping i can read fast enough to keep up.

now, are you gonna go all lipstick lesbian joan jett or butch joan jett? just checkin'.

rock on with your bad self.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 9:37:00 PM  
Blogger Scarlett Wanna Be said...

I love 80s music but singing isn't so much my thing as dancing. I'll be the first to admit that I truly lack rhythm but when I am alone I am a solid gold dancer. I break out the snake, the running man, and on special occasions I will do the hammer...as in MC Hammer.

Please you know you can't touch this.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Michael - How brave of you to get up on stage and sing! I'd never be able to do that! And I LOVE your song choice! I listen to it daily! In my mind, I had it there when I was writing this post and spaced it off! In the event we are ever doing karaoke at the same time, in the same place, I'll relinquish this song to you!

Nan - Oh, I have a LOT of songs we can sing on our road trip into the lightness. No industrial crap. No bleeps and bloops. Give me a break, as the wise ones say!

Satan - "Standing in the rain, with his head hung low. Couldn't get a ticket. It was a sold out show..."

Bunny - My kids have learned to leave the room when I start to really sing. From time to time, they join in, but it has to be a song from the High School Musical soundtracks or the Cha Cha Slide.

My set list would also contain a lot of Pat Benatar and Liz Phair, too!

FTN - Oh, you would definitely be the Neil part. However, in meeting the demands of "The Neil," you would have to look at me adoringly as we duet. I don't imagine this is going to be a problem for you, right?

And I think it wouldn't take much in the alcohol department to go all hardcore rock star. I'm a bit of a lightweight anymore. So no doubt I'd make Tricia proud as I go down in a blaze of glory.

And, of course, "Blaze of Glory" is also on my karaoke set list!

Des - You are a hardcore karaoke machine! Dang! You can't go wrong with any of your choices, that's for sure. Years ago, I was at a U2 concert and they performed (I Can't Help) Falling in Love With You, and it's a wonder I didn't find a minister and marry my then boyfriend in the stadium as he sang it in my ear. I've quite the soft spot for that song.

Cat - Jukebox Hero is an old one by Foreigner, the first real concert I saw back when I was in sixth or seventh grade. As good as cake? Eh. Probably not. Cake is good in any form!

Bee - Oh, I used to LOVE Blossom and Six! Nevermind I was a full-fledged grown up at the time it was on. I bet Six singing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" was fine, but not as good as FTN and I could make it. BTW, I've tried that whole song/flowers/guilt(!) move on my husband, too. So for, it's not working here, either!

Kimmy - I had me some Britney on my set list, too. I opted for the ironic "Crazy," but if you need back up on your choice, all you have to do is point to me in the audience, and I'll be up on stage in a heartbeat!

As for my Joan Jett mode...hmmm...lipstick lesbian seems so trite, and yet, I can't rock the hardcore as much as might be necessary. I'd be wife beater tank, hardcore eyeliner, bleached hair Joan.

Scarlett - Is it fate that brought your comment into my inbox at the same time as some MC Hammer was blaring around me?! I thnk not. I think it was destiny! I'll karaoke, and you can dance along as my back up crew! The world NEEDS more people doing the Cabbage Patch!

Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Oh, you know, as popular as that song is at weddings, I'm always grabbin' Molly for a trip around the dance floor whenever it comes up, just so's I can croon it in her ear. . .

Oh, yeah, I forgot - Desperado, by the Eagles. . .

Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:14:00 AM  
Blogger Therese in Heaven said...

I think its time we brought karaocasting to our corner of blog world....

Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:24:00 AM  
Blogger Phyllis RenĂ©e said...

Once upon a time, after many drinks, in a small neighborhood bar I found myself on stage with a band singing Desperado. Then there were applause and I don't remember much after that. And that was the end of my singing career.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger katie said...

god, i love neil. you don't bring me floooooooowers........annnny moooooooooooooore. oh, a classic!!

Recently, I kareokeed to "I love Rock and Roll" and i about blew all the windows out, man.

You have a great weekend, different kinda gal. :)

Thursday, January 31, 2008 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous prom queen said...

Bunny - I am SO ready for the Liz Phair Extraordinary duet. I would have to add Vacation by the Go Go's because I did sing that in a crowd one time. Belinda Carlilse does not have an astounding vocal range, so I knew I was pretty safe. Plus it is short. BIG karaoke tip - always check the song length. You may think you can do Things that make you Go Hmmm, but after 4 and 1/2 minutes, it has worn thin. My Mr Jones equivalent is Two Princes by Spin Doctors. Gorgeous girl courted by two boys - fun, fun fun 'til your daddy takes your mike away.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 4:49:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Des - I think "Desperado" is the standard by which all people who get up and think they can karaoke should be measured by!

Therese - You propose an intriguing idea! In the event it ever comes to pass, I'll be here warming up my pipes on some old Black Crowes!

Phyllis - Oh, had that been me, I would have then immediately thought I could have gone on the road and been a super star! I'm easily swayed like that!

Katie - I will ALWAYS love me some Neil Diamond. The curse of growing up with a mom who had every album and an unabashed desire to sing along with them every weekend.

Prom Queen - Oh, good point on checking the song length! Karaoke is not the time to be busting out the Led Zepplin or "November Rain". But oh, how I want to karaoke to "November Rain"!

Monday, February 04, 2008 8:44:00 AM  

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