Part Three: Choose A Song (A-F)

Wait…where were we?

Oh, yeah.

You may be asking: Yes, Dan, but…how does the game know if I’m awesome?

Well, from the product description:

…it’s a game that utilizes a system to measure and compare how closely you can match your tone of voice to the ideal tone for the song. On the screen, you will see lyrics and a bar informing you at which range the song is sung. Holding and matching the bar will give you more points and allows you to score platinum (20,000+ points).

Somehow, the game knows if you’re singing the right note. How the does game know? Because the secret ingredient is…MAGIC!

So, what song is right for you? Well, there are a few ways to play this. You can either pick one song (the long version or the short version, and here’s another insider tip from a freak who would write a six-part series about such matters: the short version is for PUSSIES) and go around the group, making everyone sing the same song until I’m declared the winner. Or everyone can sing a song of his/her own choosing until I’m declared the winner. Or you can perform a medley, in which you can either choose the songs or have portions of three songs randomly generated for your audience to enjoy. The combinations are endless, but the result always the same: I’m going to win. Unless I do not.

Special note: in medley mode, if you find yourself not knowing a song, try and sing along anyway, kamikaze-ing your voice around its entire spectrum until you find yourself matching any pitch, any pitch at all. If you don’t, the crowd will start to boo, your approval will start to slip, people will leave, it may begin to rain (even if you’re at an indoor venue, I think), and eventually, your character will fall to its knees in disgrace, the music will stop abruptly, and the screen will scream “MEDLEY FAILED.” This will not only eliminate you from that round of competition and register your final score as a “O,” but it will also have the effect of making Sara M laugh at you loudly and in a sinister fashion for a prolonged period of time. Do yourself a favor: if Sara M is in the house, DO NOT FAIL A MEDLEY.

Thirty-five songs can seem like a lot of songs or not that many songs, depending on how many of those songs you know or how many times in a row you’re willing to commit to screaming out Hoobastank’s “The Reason” at the top of your lungs until they can hear you in goddamn Glendale.

That said, part one of the list of the songs of Karaoke Revolution 3, and their import to the lives of us all.

ABC
Let’s begin with a few words about the red herring nature of The Jackson 5’s “ABC.” You’ll turn on the game for the first time and scan through all of the song choices, overwhelmed by the postmodern crisis of song choices. Because human beings gravitate toward the familiar — a fact that often comes in handy when I play that other PS2 classic game, “Intro Psychology Revolution 3” — you’ll find yourself inclined toward a song early in the alphabetical list. You’ll see this one, hit the “select” button, and wave your hand casually, insisting, “It’s fine. I’ll just do this one.” And then you will open your mouth to sing it, and you will realize that we can put someone on trial for bad, bad touching of little, little boys, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop listening to his songs when they come on the radio. Why? Because the little dude had some serious talent. He had more talent than we do. You will try to sing this song, and when you find yourself nineteen octaves above middle C, screaming out the words, “T-t-t-teacher’s gonna show you (show you, show you) / How to get an A!” and sounding like you’re being skinned alive, you’re going to wish you had chosen the short version just this once. Pussy.

Against All Odds
Now, 80s cheese music makes for not only the best karaoke songs, but as well the best, just, songs. This is why “Against All Odds” makes for the perfect KR3 piece of music: it’s a damn crowd pleaser in its own generation, and it’s been redone by The Postal Service, so you can like it again and still be kind of hip (which, clearly, is a HUGE concern of mine). When they invent a KR3 for drummers, that awesome prog rock fill before the second verse is going to be on the final exam. It’s a song you know as well as you think you know it, but watch yourself on the ever-transcendent “Turn around and see me cry” lyric, when you’ll need to maintain an almost tantric level of focus, what with everyone else in the room drunkenly screaming the harmony line directly into your ear.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Before we bought the game, my familiarity with this song was pretty much limited to (the once-funny) Dennis Miller, who ended a joke about people who acted out songs on the dance floor with the punch line, “Hey, buddy, ain’t no fuckin’ dance floor wide enough.” I don’t know it much better now, and, being a duet, it’s kind of hard to navigate who sings what part. And if it comes up in medley mode, I don’t even think you get to choose. Just skip it, unless you are, in fact, Ashford or Simpson.

Beat It
Unlike with “ABC,” the key to “Beat It” is to literally, completely drain your voice of all character, vibrato, or notion that this game is supposed to entertain others with your incredibly diverse singing voice. Instead, you must sing a completely castrati, falsetto “Beat iiiiiiiiiii / Beat iiiiiiiiit” and you’ll do just fine. On the verses, though? You’re still on your own.

Burn
Yeah, about this one. It is my understanding that kids today love The Usher. Big fans of The Usher, you youngsters are. Then explain just one thing to me: how come “Burn” isn’t actually a song? I mean, it does have music — sort of — and over the sort-of music is someone singing words. These words: “When your feeling ain’t the same and your body don’t want to / But you know gotta let it go cuz the party ain’t jumpin’ like it used to / Even though this might ruin you / Let it burn / Let it burn / Gotta let it burn.” The night we bought the game, this song came up in a medley, and I, terrified, embarked on a series of guttural squawks that fooled the game into cheering their asses off. It was loved at The Royal Hall. Since then, I have threatened daily to download this song from iTunes and just learn the damn thing already, but, astoundingly, my desire to avoid the song trumps my desire to win the game.

California Dreaming
Easy.

Careless Whisper
Look. It’s not you. It’s me. The night I met Pam, I made the amazing faux pas of dedicating “Father Figure” TO HER MOM, and then singing the entire thing directly to her. So, really, as checkered as my history with him is, I just understand the George Michael thing better than you. It’s okay. I’m not mad. But I will get a 100% rating on this song, 50,000 points, every time I sing it. You want to unlock a character who just happens to be a pirate named Salty Pete? Let me get on the mic. You have your song. I have “Careless Whisper.”

China Grove
We unlocked this classic rock favorite and have yet to touch it since.

Come Clean
Every single person who has even walked into the room where we keep this game could easily beat the actual Hilary Duff in the KR3 version of this song. We do this one kind of a lot. It’s a great song. Shut up. It is.

Don’t You Forget About Me
Don’t don’t don’t don’t…sing this song, if you know what’s good for you.

Flashdance…What A Feeling
Okay, I didn’t think I was going to include any pictures in this particular edition, but this seems like a good place to pop one in. In the now-almost-irrelevant IRL world of real karaoke, this song is a real favorite of Pamie’s, and a real crowd favorite when sung by Pam. So it seemed kind of cruel and hilarious when Stee took her on in a “knock-out” version of this song, which means they sing it at the same time until one person accrues enough points and crowd support to, well, knock the other one out. A bell rings. The crowd cheers. A winner is selected. The round is over. That is, of course, unless the two competitors are so evenly matched that the song continues and continues and continues, and then, at the end, whoever has more points is declared the winner by decision. So, Pam and Stee stand, regard the television and each other with something resembling friendly competition, and go for it. For four minutes, they’re locked in a point-for-point tie, each note, making me wonder who would be more inclined to dance for his/her life. Midway through, they stopped looking at each other completely, and by the end, they had both broken a sweat. They were kind of mad. Their characters looked exhausted. Stee looked at Pam. “Man,” he said. “That was the song, but way to drain all of the joy out of it.” The screen faded. The scores came up. Stee won. By one point. Here it is.

Here it is again.

Here it is again.

And once more.

Oh, fuck it. Here’s a close-up.

Next up…Part 3b: Choose A Song (Hold On – Oops!)