America’s Champion of In-Car Karaoke



Wow. I guess when I hooked Spotify to my Facebook page, it was going to show those fine folks the crap I listen to … on Spotify.

I can fully own up to having just about the worst taste in music ever. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t tell you anything that either mainstream people or hipsters like. I know names from hearing them, usually in a mocking sense. Like hearing about “Foster the (White) People.” And “Fun(period)” is something I could name. I also know that song about going home, which was probably cool like two years ago, was that American Idol runner-up or winner.

(Also, speaking of being tragically uncool, I’m sure there’s great, critically acclaimed television on tonight, but what am I watching? “Twister.” Yes, again. No, I know, it really is terrible. Right. But … At least 50 times, yes.)

This week I spent a little more time on the road than usual. In addition to class a couple of days, I had a few doctor’s appointments to try to figure out what’s going on with me lately. But after being out of practice with driving to Canonsburg five days a week, it wore me out. I’m also driving Dad’s Trailblazer which he’s kind of foisted upon me, and (first-world problems) it doesn’t have XM. Just regular old terrestrial radio.

… Which can get really old, really quickly up around that area.

On Wednesday night, on the way home from class I was fighting the onset of another headache, I was feeling a little achy and nauseated and I was just tired. So, to keep myself awake, I decided singing was the right answer.

I don’t sing publicly … that often. Back in college our group of friends was a Monday night regular feature at the now-defunct Papa D’s Lounge in Star City for karaoke. The fine folks of Nacho Mama’s in Mechanicsville, Va., have also been witness to some of this unique brand of … entertainment.

But, the real singing — the real American-Idol-finale-I’m-singing-at-100-decibels action — comes when it’s late, I’m tired, I’m driving alone and I’ll do just about anything to keep myself going. So, today, I was pretty excited to read an article on Mashable about “11 Infuriating Apps Your Most Obnoxious Friends Will Love.

Coming it at No. 11? (Eleven?! Really? COME ON.)


Oh, it’s here, y’all, and it’s ON. Also, the best part of Karaoke Anywhere is that’s it’s free. You don’t even have to pay to have the best of the worst of your favorite dive bar at your hands. Couple of caveats: There is a paid version if ads annoy you (it’s $1.99). You have the option of streaming quite a few songs, or if you want to be Spendy McCashbags, you can choose to pay $9.99 a month to have access to a much larger catalog. There are also some in-app purchases for unlocking songs, however, you do have the ability to use songs out of your own iTunes library.

So, in honor of this discovery, I present to you my current Top 5 In-Car Karaoke Classics.

1. “Fancy” by Reba McEntire


Nothing says ‘Murrrrca like a touching coming-of-age story about turning your teenage daughter out onto the streets to begin her career in prostitution. I remember back in 2010 Reba was one of the Capitol Fourth performers and she sang this. I was violently sick that day, but remember waking up enough to have a text conversation with P about whether this was actually appropriate for a family gathering to celebrate America’s birthday. We decided it probably was, ’cause, America. (In the interest of full disclosure, this is my actual go-to staple when performing in public. They say pick one thing, and butcher it. I pick this.)

2. “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston


Whitney Houston died on my 33rd birthday. I got the AP news alert on my phone while I was at a Wheeling Nailers game with my friend J, who was my birthday date that year. Whitney Houston maybe ruined my birthday, but in fairness, it was a far worse day for her. I’ve never done this song publicly because I subscribe to this one truth that many American Idol contestants have learned the hard way: You are not Whitney Houston. You will never, ever be Whitney Houston. You cannot pull this off. You know where I can pull this off? Route 2 in Marshall County at 11 p.m. in the confines of a 2006 Trailblazer. That’s where.

3. “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert


I’d never heard of Miranda Lambert until 2008. Before the team loaded up to head to Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day, Sweet Ann played this song for me when I told her I was looking for new music for the trip. Since that day, this song easily has been performed 500 times along some stretch of road on some tired night. This one I always found good for waking yourself up, especially if done with the windows down.

4. “Heart and Soul” by T’Pau


Not gonna lie — I’m not even 100 percent I know all of the words to this song, and I think if I ever saw someone try to attempt this at a karaoke night, I’d go one of two ways. I’d be horrified, or I’d buy their drinks for the rest of the night for being so ballsy. Probably the latter. This was among the finest offerings Britain had for you in 1987, America. Right here.

… and last, but certainly not least:

5. “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again” by Dionne Warwick


Going way back into the wayback machine for this hit, but my last memory of belting this out to a large imaginary audience was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on a drive to Harrisburg for work last fall. I’d somehow thought it wouldn’t be that hard to go to watch my sister coach a high school basketball game to help my parents with her babies, and THEN drive to Harrisburg. Note to travelers: The Popeye’s at the Sideling Hill Service Plaza closes at 9, which helps you absolutely none when you’re starving at 10:19. But, anyway, something just feels good about singing this one really loudly. It’s almost cleansing. And much as you would with her cousin Whitney, this probably shouldn’t be attempted by amateurs publicly.

So, friends, there you have it. A decade-spanning, genre-defying spectacle of bad decisions. Feel free to leave the ones you’re guilty of in the comments.

(And, for those people who are keeping score at home, I’m at 3/31.)



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