Pros may use karaoke to show off their Broadway-ready belting voices or polish their Kate Bush impersonations. But most of us just want to find a song in that enormous book that won’t completely embarrass us. Behold, 25 karaoke songs that are actually kind of hard to fuck up, thanks to lots of shouts, chants, talk-singing, and easy-to-hit notes. Don’t worry, these will get the crowd on their feet.
1. Wheatus, “Teenage Dirtbag”
Why: This is possibly the most perfect karaoke song in existence. It’s easy to sing, but has all the drama of a traditional showstopper. Even Harry Styles can’t resist.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps”
Why: It’s kiiiinda hard to screw up a song with basically no lyrics. So, score!
3. Pulp, “Common People”
Why: A song that’s meant to be sung with a bunch of people will ease any discomfort, and you can just wail through most of it.
4. Lisa Loeb, “Stay”
Why: “Stay” is mostly just talk-singing, and everyone loves Lisa, so you’re golden.
5. All Saints, “Never Ever”
Why: This is slow enough that you can learn the lyrics as you go, and has just the right amount of attitude. Plus, a sassy spoken interlude.
6. The Proclaimers, “500 Miles”
Why: This song’s bouncy staccato rhythm means you don’t really need to actually sing so much as talk in a sing-songy voice, which is a lot easier to pull off than, say, a Stevie Wonder song.
7. ‘N Sync, “It’s Gonna Be Me”
Why: Isn’t singing “You might’ve been HURT, BABE / That ain’t no lieeEEee” at the top of your lungs just really fun? And if you’re karaoke-shy, everyone will probably join in and you won’t feel self-conscious at all.
8. Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams”
Why: Whitney and Mariah may get the credit for making some of the best love songs, but if you’re looking for something a little more manageable for those of us not blessed with diva vocals spanning multiple octaves, try “Dreams.” Sweet, simple, and nary a high note to be seen.
9. Destiny’s Child, “Say My Name”
Why: To nail an A+ performance of this song, all you’ve got to do is talk fast and know how to say “Say my name” and “Yea yea yea yea yeaaa.” For bonus points, practice your bouncing squat moves.
10. The Offspring, “Self Esteem”
Why: Because you’ve just got to wail. But pull your friends up to do it with you, because this sounds a lot more epic when the whole room’s losing their shit.
11. Meredith Brooks, “Bitch”
Why: Everyone remembers this original boss ass bitch anthem, and its message will never go out of style.
12. Montell Jordan, “This Is How We Do It”
Why: This song would basically kick ass even if you didn’t sing a single word into the mic — BUT you should. It’s got the interactive element going for it, where everyone will be chanting “This is how we do it!” right along with you.
13. Miley Cyrus, “Party In The U.S.A.”
Why: Miley’s lower register makes this a song that works for both dudes and ladies — very democratic of her!
14. Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping”
Why: IT’S JUST YELLING. CAN YOU YELL LOUDLY? GOOD. YOU’LL BE GREAT!
15. Rihanna feat. Drake, “What’s My Name”
Why: A duet is a great way to duck out of the spotlight if you’re shy. Rihanna’s range here is limited, and Drake’s rap is simple enough to learn on the spot.
16. Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle”
Why: Another song where you mostly just yell excitedly, then pause for brief interludes of calm. Perfectly energy-efficient.
17. Des’ree, “You Gotta Be”
Why: Because Des’ree knows what’s up and this feels good to sing, no matter how you sound.
18. Dr. Dre feat. Eminem, “Forgot About Dre”
Why: Yes, Eminem’s flow is REALLY fast, but with rap it’s rare to be off-key, and the energy will get everyone all fired up. Just watch this guy for inspiration.
19. Natalie Imbruglia, “Torn”
Why: Talk-singing at its best, until it’s scream-wailing at its best.
20. Everclear, “Wonderful”
Why: A cool-down song that’s still energetic, this will make your crowd put their arms around each other.
21. No Doubt, “Spiderwebs”
Why: The beat does all the work. You just put on a slightly whiny voice and jump up and down.
22. Blink-182, “All The Small Things”
Why: Plenty of cushioning “na na nas,” and Blink brings the house down every time.
23. Weezer, “Buddy Holly”
Why: It’s like the original version of Icona Pop’s “I Don’t Care,” so you can be sure that everyone will be relishing shouting, “I don’t care about that!” Plus, its monotone sound makes it easier to sing than you might think.
24. TLC, “No Scrubs”
Why: A classic. The lead vocal part never rises above a purr, but it conveys a ton of attitude just the same.
And when in doubt, there’s always…
25. The Champs, “Tequila!”
Why: This is literally just one word: “Tequila.” There’s no way you can go wrong.
Listen to all of the foolproof karaoke winners below.
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