Opinion Prone

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Posts Tagged ‘ karaoke ’

I Want Karaoke Tracks

January 23, 2009 Editorial 6 Comments

So I like to sing. Generally, if I know the lyrics to something, I can’t help but sing. Sometimes, even if I don’t know the lyrics, I’ll make something up and warble along. I don’t own an mp3 player, so I make up for this by singing a capella to myself when I’m on the go or waiting for the bus or whatever. I suppose I like to think I’m reasonably good, so sometimes when I need a break from work or have random pent up energy, I’ll have a recording session with Audacity and see if I can get anything half-decent recorded. As such, I really love the fact that many j-pop artists release off-vocal, instrumental, or karaoke tracks alongside their singles.

I don’t normally play the karaoke tracks by themselves, mostly because I get really self-conscious if I don’t have the original vocals to hide behind, but most of them will match up with the vocal version, so I can record myself alongside the original vocals, then trade the track for the karaoke to hear my own vocals. It works well enough. (Maybe someday, I’ll have something that’s decent enough to share here?)

Unfortunately, not all of the music I listen to and want to sing to provides karaoke tracks. I’ve noticed that most j-pop singers will provide them for their singles. Tommy heavenly6, angela, FictionJunction YUUKA, Nami Tamaki, Mika Nakashima, and Utada Hikaru all generally provide a karaoke track. ALI PROJECT usually has karaoke tracks (not like I’ll ever be able to sing their stuff anyway). L’Arc~en~Ciel, Gackt, and T.M. Revolution are also pretty consistent about including a karaoke version of their singles. But the further you venture from pop and the more into rock and alternative you get, the less likely there will be karaoke tracks.

I don’t expect -miyavi-, Dir en grey, or Maximum the Hormone to ever include karaoke tracks. Maybe it’s just because it’s much harder for the average person to sing along with their music, but that doesn’t stop them from appearing on karaoke machines in karaoke bars, etc, so clearly there’s some kind of demand for them. Most of the karaoke places I’ve visited have surprised me with the selection of music they have available. I don’t really know how the licensing on these things work, but I suspect that a lot most of the songs don’t feature “official” karaoke versions, only edited versions where someone has manually extracted the vocal track. Such methods usually leave a ghost voice, but at a karaoke bar, it’d be really hard to tell. This is probably how they manage to get karaoke versions of most English-language songs as well, ’cause really, when was the last time an American, Canadian, or British artist included an official karaoke track on their single or album?

It’s obvious from the word itself that karaoke originated in Japan, but I’ve always wondered why its popularity is so subdued in the States when it’s all the rage across Asia. I mean, it can’t be that only Asians like singing, right? If shows like American Idol can be so popular, why aren’t karaoke tracks more common on American musical releases? Why aren’t there more karaoke places outside of Chinatowns? The Asian population is Savannah is slim to none, which means there isn’t a karaoke place for miles and miles. This drives me crazy. I really want to go out to karaoke, but there’s no where to go!

I think the only English-language official karaoke tracks I have are for Disney songs. Everyone loves to sing Disney songs, I guess? Or maybe it’s because most of those movies are musicals? But if that’s the case, why isn’t there a karaoke version of every Broadway soundtrack? Why can’t I find karaoke versions of the songs from The Lion King on Broadway? Beauty and the Beast on Broadway? RENT? I would really love to see more official karaoke version of English-language songs since it’d spare me the trouble of making them myself. Plenty of songs are begging to be sung to, so come on.

Maybe lack of encouragement in the form of karaoke tracks can be my excuse as to why I know the lyrics to more Japanese songs than English songs. 8|