It was such a fine afternoon–a comfortable balmy summer with no rain. I was lying at ease on my bed, jovial of the peace and tranquility I was experiencing. Then I heard it. A Bon Jovi song sung by our neighbors.
Teeenk yuuu!!! For labing meee… For being my eyeess… Wen… I COULDN”T SEEE!!!…
I stiffened, still lying supine. For everyday since the karaoke bar opened just beside our house, my afternoons were spent in excruciating auditory ruckus. My times of afternoon naps were over. Thank goodness the bar closes at night.
The concept for karaoke originated from Japan, then became popular worldwide in the 1980’s. “Karaoke” is a Japanese term meaning “empty orchestra”. Known as “sing-along” in the West, it is defined as a form of entertainment where a person sings (with a microphone) to recorded accompaniment and song lyrics that simultaneously flash on a screen. It’s like a jukebox or a video game terminal that functions as stated, usually with background video graphics added with the lyrics. And most of the time, video graphics have no relation whatsoever to the song lyrics.
This form of entertainment is fun and has been reported as a stress-reliever–except for the annoyed listener. It is a serious problem, alongside climate change, the global economic crisis, and the influenza A H1N1 virus outbreak. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against karaoke, or the type of songs our neighbors sing (usually oldies rock and country). But can’t “singing-along” be done without a mic? I mean, it’s still the same “singing-along”, right? And can’t there be a law wrathfully chastising karaoke singers “singing under the influence”?
I pity the songs being tortured by intoxicated singers in a sing-along bar. They start out with the first stanza of a song (almost correct) then the refrain (with countless slurs and blurs), and finally, the chorus (which they rip out with ferocious lung power, belting out like they were a songbird). When they go to the second stanza, they remain silent–they don’t know the the tune anymore. They just belt out the chorus every time it flashes because basically, the chorus of a song is the only part they know.
Bay-bay Miss American pie! Oh the ssshhhreeddden to the llleeegggen but the !@#$%^& was !@#$%^& and goood old booyyysss… were drinkin’ whisky and wineee… Aaaaahhhhh!!! Aaaaahhhhh!!! Whheeeee!!!
It’s amazing how many out-of-tune notes can fit within a line of a song. Heck, it’s mind-boggling how a whole song can be distorted out of its original key in just one performance. So I applaud karaoke singers who just shut up when it comes to the high notes:
I ‘wanna lay you down on a bed of rozesss… For tonight… I sleep… On a… … … … … … I ‘wanna be… Just as close as… The holy ghost is… And… … … … … … On a bed of rozesss…
I thought my agony would finally ease when the electricity went off. I was wrong. A drunk was singing Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton: “It’s late in the evening… (The power went out. A moment of celebration. Then, it came back. A premature celebration.) …She’s wondering what clothes to wear… (Out again.) …She puts on her make-up… (Out again.) …And brushes her long blond hair…
This beautiful song continued being sung dreadfully.
At this rate, karaoke-singing could become a major and dangerous trigger for homicide.