If singers put part of themselves into their songs, why not people who sing other people’s songs at videoke? Do our song choices say something about us?
Beyond the laughter that flubbing a song in front of your peers brings, maybe videoke is about making connections too. Tapping into the remains of our oral culture, if you will.
My boss telling me to sing Apo Hiking Society’s “Mahirap Magmahal ng Siyota ng Iba” is more than an attempt to get me to flounder through a corny song. More than just implying that I use my charms on other people’s girlfriends, it is sage advice that shit like that is not cool (for the boyfriends, at any rate).
Aptly, that was a song I used to queue on the videoke machine in 2004, when I actually was seeing people who were seeing someone else. I had been cheated on and did not really respect labels like Not Available.
But I also loved those girls and belting that out was easier than looking for sympathy for the anguish of loving someone you can’t have. It’s a dick move that boyfriends are quick to condemn, but everybody loves an APO ditty.
I feel that my current song choices, which include Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (“…take a long ride on my motor bike/Until I’m ready…”) and “Somebody to Love”, reflect my confusion at the end of a long-term relationship. That, or I’m really into Queen.
The same may hold true for a colleague’s choice of Green Day’s “21 Guns,” which, I gathered, was the favorite song of someone significant to her. It’s some sort of coded message, I guess. A roundabout way of saying, “Yes, Taylor Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me’ is a fun song to sing, but also, there is someone out there who should be with me but is not,” maybe.
And that’s why it sucks when nobody else sings along to a song you choose. Instead of the catharsis of singing your heart out along with everybody in the room, you have a bunch of people listening to you butcher a song. Small wonder then, that singers sputter out in mid-song and then pretend to not know how the song goes after all.
It is in losing yourself in someone else’s music, your voice drowned out by friends who have also allowed themselves to get carried away, that everything in your portion of the world is in tune for a few more minutes.