Playlist: Karaoke Go-Tos

Playlist: Karaoke Go-Tos

· music · playlists
What do all great karaoke songs have in common? That everyone watching you will want to sing along to them, too. Here are our favorite songs for karaoke.

What makes a song great for karaoke? It’s not all about picking a tune that’s in your vocal range—singing off-key is half the fun. The number one thing all great karaoke songs have in common is that everyone watching will want to sing along to them, too! With that in mind, here’s a look at a few of our go-to karaoke jams, including pop hits, country classics and rock bangers.

The Killers, “Mr. Brightside”

When The Killers released their debut album Hot Fuss in 2003, they picked “Mr. Brightside” as the lead single. Ten hit singles and 22 years later, this classic remains their signature tune. Rolling Stone even named it the 48th best song of the century. “Mr. Brightside” is an easy-to-sing jam that everyone knows the words to—and never gets old—making it perfect for any karaoke night.

Vanessa Carlton, “A Thousand Miles”

Duh-nuh-nuh duh-nuh-nuh duh! Cemented into the pop culture stratosphere by Terry Crews’ enthusiastic lip sync in the Wayans brothers’ 2005 film White Chicks, Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” is one of those songs that everyone knows and loves. Released as the debut single from her 2002 album Be Not Nobody, it’s impossible to keep a sour mood going when you hear this sweet and energetic love song.

Kelly Clarkson, “Since U Been Gone”

If you’re not feeling lovey-dovey on karaoke night, Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” is a great way to release your heartache without bringing down the room’s energy. Originally written with Pink in mind, Clarkson launched her rock era with this hit in 2004. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have the same powerhouse vocals as Clarkson to sing this at karaoke. With the whole crowd singing with you, no one will notice if you can’t hold out those notes quite as long (who can??).

Blackstreet, “No Diggity”

In 1996, Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” ruled the charts. The lead single from their sophomore album was a cultural phenomenon and launched the phrase “No diggity, no doubt” into the popular lexicon. This iconic new jack swing track is a solid choice for when you want to show off your singing and rapping chops, but it’s also fun to tag-team with a friend or two.

Mariah Carey, “Fantasy”

We know what you’re thinking. “Sing Mariah? At karaoke?!” Listen, no one expects you to hit those whistle notes, plus everyone will be too busy dancing and singing along to her 1995 smash hit to notice. Bonus points if you rock the one-finger-over-one-ear other-finger-pointing-up pose Mariah is known for when tackling those famous vocal runs.

Miley Cyrus, “Muddy Feet”

Tough breakup? We’ve got you. There’s something cathartic about belting out a powerful, rock-tinged breakup song in front of a room full of strangers (and a few of your closest friends). This fiery track from Miley Cyrus’ 2023 album Endless Summer Vacation pulls no punches when singing about a cheating ex. Believe us, you’ll feel better after singing this one.

Harry Styles, “Adore You”

Let’s bring up the mood a bit with “Adore You” from Harry Styles’ 2019 album Fine Line. This funk-inspired, slightly psychedelic jam is equal parts sweet and sexy, and it’s our choice for when you want to impress a new romantic interest on karaoke night.

Shania Twain, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”

To say Shania Twain’s 1997 album Come On Over was a massive hit still feels like an understatement. The album—which sold over 20 million copies in the US alone—is chock full of so many hits that it’s hard to pick just one for this playlist. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with the album’s eighth single, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” This ode to having [more than a little] fun out on the town will slay at any karaoke night. Trust us, as soon as you utter the phrase “Let’s go girls,” you’ll have the crowd in the palm of your hand.

Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”

When you want to get the dancefloor moving, look no further than “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” Whitney Houston’s unbelievably catchy hit from 1987. While we know that singing a Whitney song in front of others can be daunting, this song’s very karaoke-friendly. Just be prepared for that key change two-thirds of the way through, and don’t forget that essential “woo” in the intro!

The B52s, “Love Shack”

“Tin Roof! Rusted!” We’re not going to pretend to know what B-52s singer Kate Pierson meant with that line in their mega-hit from 1989, but we do know that few songs embody an uninhibited party spirit like “Love Shack” does. This joyous, raucous number is a high-energy karaoke duet that balances soaring melodies with Fred Schneider’s outrageous speak-singing (called sprechstimme in the biz).

Prince, “1999”

If you wanted to sum up Prince’s general ethos in the ‘80s, the title track from 1983’s 1999 would pretty much do it. This timeless funk-meets-rock ode to partying through the apocalypse is the perfect karaoke pick for when it’s almost time to call it a night. Just like Prince says in the song, “parties weren’t meant to last,” which is what makes them special.

Garth Brooks, “Friends in Low Places”

Not many country songs can unite people the way Garth Brooks’ 1990 smash hit “Friends in Low Places” manages to. Even people who aren’t particularly fond of country music can’t help but sing along when the chorus kicks in. And who can blame them? With its bouncing melody that reaches down into the baritone register, “Friends in Low Places” is straight-up fun to sing.

Hear and feel the difference

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