Archive for July, 2009

Karaoke Challenge: Jessie´s Girl

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

The other day I was watching Keeping the faith, one of my all time favorite romantic comedies that if you haven´t seen yet you should, and was enjoying a rather funny bit which sets up something like a bad joke that is made even better because it involves karaoke.



Basically the two main characters, a priest and a rabbi, are shopping around for the perfect karaoke machine for their soon to be opened open minded hang out, and in an attempt to sell the Audio 2000, their salesclerk, who is laying on a very thick asian accent, is also laying on them a generally entertaining rendition of Jessie´s girl. It´s more or less my favorite scene in the entire movie for a variety of reasons, one of them being that Jessie´s girl happens to be a killer 80´s song and one of the most fun karaokes, or songs in general, to hear in a bar.



Jessie´s Girl is the song about unrequited love that goes against all man law that made Rick Springfield the one hit wonder that he is. It´s release in 1981 was followed by a two week stint at the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and the video for Jessie´s girl has the unique honor of having been the first number one single when MTV launched on August 1st of that year.



The grammy winning song was originally written by Springfield after his experience oggling his buddy Gary´s girl in art class, though the name Gary just didn´t have the right ring, so after spotting the name Jessie on the back of a baseball jersey, Springfield changed the lyrics to the all familiar chorus we love to sing along to now. And while Jessie´s girl may have been named as one of the top karaoke picks by Rolling Stone in 2007, there have been surprisingly few covers of the anthem for guys in love with their best friends girl.



So this week I challenge the users of Red karaoke to sing like your in love with your best friends girlfriend and you´re confessing it all. Have a little fun with Jessie´s girl, post your rendition in the forum, and maybe you could end up in next week´s newsletter.

Pearl Jam; Bringing back grunge?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

With the release of their new single The fixer, Pearl Jam is beginning their celebratory tour and gearing up for the release of their new album Backspacer in September. So is this the return of grunge to the forefront of the alternative scene? Or should we expect something a little bit different from the American rock band that has always thumbed its nose at what music culture expects from one of the biggest names in the music business, even if it isn´t the mainstream?


Pearl Jam certainly never dissapointed its faithful fanbase before by conforming to the expectations of the music business. After taking over the grudge movement in the early 1990s, fighting criticism from then reigning dirty rockers Nirvana, particularly lead singer Kurt Cobain, for being commercial sell outs, then proving to the world that they were indeed the opposite of such unfair name calling with such idealistic actions as refusing to create music videos and their infamous boycott of Ticketmaster, Pearl Jam has become one of the most influential and popular rock bands in America.


Sure, Nirvana may have carried that whole grungy style to the mainstream, but Pearl Jam outsold them in a heartbeat and has outlasted contempories of that decade like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Many consider Pearl Jam to be the mothering influence of many of todays modern rockers, with bands like Silverchair, Puddle of Mudd and The Strokes citing them as inspiration. And in a 2005 USA Today reader's poll, Pearl Jam was voted the greatest American rock band of all time.


When asked about Pearl Jam's legacy in a 2000 interview, lead vocalist Eddie Vedder said, "I think at some point along the way we began feeling we wanted to give people something to believe in because we all had bands that gave that to us when we needed something to believe in. That was the big challenge for us after the first record and the response to it. The goal immediately became how do we continue to be musicians and grow and survive in view of all this… the answers weren’t always easy, but I think we found a way."


Now with its ninth album, Pearl Jam may be trying something new, though they still plan on sticking to their idealistic rock roots. After deciding to work with Brendan O´Brien for the first time since their 1998 album, Yield, Vedder admits to handing over a bit more control to O´Brien. "At this point, I think we're willing to let somebody cut the songs up a little bit, in the past, Brendan would say, 'It's a great song, but I think you should do it in a different key', and we'd say no. But now that we've heard Bruce Springsteen has listened to his suggestions, I think we will too."


While the album won´t be ready until late September, Vedder has stated, "The new record feels good so far—really strong and uptempo, stuff we can sink our teeth into." The first single The fixer has brought good reviews, though a recognized shift towards a more pop feeling that can be expected in the entire album. Guitarist Mike McCready said, "I'd sum it up as kind of a tight, concise, rock ’n’ roll record with kind of pop or maybe new wave elements to it…It’s a really quick record, but I like that element to it."


Until the release of Pearl Jam´s Backspacer in September, right don´t you give some of their classics like Alive, Daughter and The Last Kiss a try here on Red Karaoke. Or go to the forum and tell us if you think Pearl Jam really is the most influential rock band from the alternative grunge scene.

Sing like the songbirds of the golden age

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Turner Classic Movies is making it easier for everyone to sing like golden age songbirds Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.


TCM has just released on their very own youtube channel videos from the best of the best of the golden days of song and dance, but with a karaoke twist. In an effort to make these classics more attainable for an international crowd, the project goes by the name of Tu Cancion, or Your Song in English. Basically think of your favorite scene from any classic musical, Funny girl for example, and you can find Barbra Streisand tooting her vocal chords, while the lyrics of People scroll underneath for you to sing along with her. Truly classic karaoke.



What other songs can you find? Oh, just some old beauties like I´ve got my eyes on you, I got rythm, 42nd street and of course, Over the rainbow. Just the perfect thing to watch to get some tips from the experts before you go off trying to imitate the originals.

Karaoke Challenge: I will always love you

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

With the success of Whitney Houston´s listening party this past Tuesday, which previewed nine new tracks on her soon to be released comeback album I look to you, this weeks Karaoke Challenge is a throwback to one of the most succesful songs in pop history and a favorite (often to the difortune of the audience) in karaoke bars across the nation, I will always love you.



Whitney Houston is one of those stars no one will forget, whether it´s because of her towering vocals or the less than classy publicity she has recieved over the years. With the excitement of her first studio album in 6 years and collaborations with artists that could be her kids (Alicia Keys, R. kelly, etc.), Houston will be recieving all kinds of new attention in the next few months, fingers crossed for the diva that its of the popular sort. Still, there is no denying the history Houston has already made, what, as the only existing artist to have 7 multiplatinum albums, beating out even the Beatles. And her 1992 soulful remake of Dolly Parton´s love infused country ballad I will always love you is as big a powerhouse as Houston herself having claimed spots all over every music chart imaginable.



I will always love you, written 1974 by the vivacious Dolly Parton about one of her long time musical partners during their dramatic parting, is possibly one of the most recognizable songs in history, probably one of the most requested songs in karaoke bars, and definitely one of the most difficult songs to pull off whether you are trying to channel Parton or Houston. Still, there have been some more interesting covers that had a little fun with the bleeding heart anthem, like Me first and the gimme gimmes rendition done for their Dolly Parton tribute album.



Whether you are a vocal master who thinks you can take on the Houston version, a country buff who wants to try a little bit of Parton, or just plain crazy and want to have fun with one of the best selling singles in history, I challenge you to sing I will always love you and see if you can get lucky enough to land in next weeks newsletter.


Check out the other renditions and post your own in the forum.

Red Karaoke on Youtube!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Did you know Red Karaoke has a youtube channel? Yup… now you can subscribe to the Red Karaoke Channel and see tons of Red Karaoke treasures uploaded all the time.


What kind of videos? Well, besides the always enjoyable interviews with our beloved CEO, there are other interesting goodies like the lovely video from the Gala Web Singing Awards celebrated in
Madrid. Even coolor, behind the scenes looks at the making of the Web Singing Awards CD.


My favorite has to be the video of Isi, a.k.a. Shatorn, one of our lovely founders, singing the oh so cheesy Hello, by Lionel Richie at Red Karaoke LIVE! the outdoor concert hosted in Logroño, Spain.



Make sure to check out all the videos and subscribe to the Redkaraoke Channel so you don´t miss anything.

Karaoke Challenge: American Woman

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

This week the Karaoke of the week is going to be just a wee bit different. For the last few weeks I have been choosing a song that I either really enjoy hearing or think would be a challenging karaoke for the users of Red Karaoke to master. Sure, we get some good responses, but I´ve decided to add a little twist to turn the Karaoke of the Week into a bit of a competition. From now on, I will have a karaoke challenge picked out and announced Wednesday in the newsletter, on the blog and in the forum (just to be sure no user misses it). Then, the following Wednesday, along with the new karaoke challenge, I will announce, in the Newsletter alone, my personal favorite of the renditions done. Think of it as a more selective rendition of the week that everyone has a chance at!



So without furthur ado, this week´s karaoke challenge is American Woman. The song American Woman was originally written by The Guess Who for their same titled album, American Woman. The song has a unique origin, born out of a live jam meant to liven a crowd in Ontario while between the group´s sets. The lyrics, beginning as an improvisation by lead singer Burton Cummings, have undergone some debate, whether being attacked as a chauvinistic tune or criticism of U.S. Politics. Jim Kale, The Guess Who´s bassist and cowriter of the song describes the experience of being raised in ¨strait-laced, conservative, laid-back¨ Canada, feeling the dirt and grind of touring in ¨horrendously large
places with their big city problems¨ and their repsonse to the war at the time. But, he quotes John Lennon, ¨The meaning of all songs come after they are recorded. Someone else has to interpret them.¨



The song is full of energy and sex appeal, especially the version done by Lenny Kravitz, whose music video features the allyring Heather Graham. While Kravitz´s version is my favorite to listen and dance unashamedly to, another well known and over the top  rendition is The Butthole Surfers… not quite my cup of tea.



So this week I challenge the users of Red Karaoke to either rock out as hard as The Guess Who and Lenny Kravitz, or get as out of this world as they can in the style of The Butthole Surfers, to the rock classic American Woman.


Post your own version and check out the other users in the forum.

The Byrds Debut on Red Karaoke

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

This week Red Karaoke debuted a ton of new artists, including classics like featured 60´s group The Byrds. Out of LA in 1964, The Byrds were a rock group from the 60s and 70s who blessed the rock and roll of my parents teenage years with some huge musical innovations.


Inspired by groups like the Beatles, The Byrds first big single was a cover of Bob Dylan´s then unrreleased Mr. Tambourine Man. Their electric rock treatment of the song and complex harmony work become the group´s signature style. With Mr. Tambourine Man The Byrds more or less became the fathers of the musical genre of folk rock. Their second chart topping US single, was the well known Turn Turn Turn, also the name of their second album, a cover of Pete Seger´s and followed in the same style of their first releases.



While the Byrds may have gotten their start making huge strides in the genre of folk rock, they are also known for their major contribution to the psychadelic recordings of the 70s. Their record Eight Mile High, recorded n 1965, with its intricate and landmark guitar work made the single one of the first of its kind. Eight miles high, whose lyrics actually refer to a flight and concert in England, was banned on many radio stations which helped the Byrds gain alot of attention and achieve some success with the ¨drug¨ song.



In 1991 The Byrds received the ultimate honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame and Rolling Stone ranked them #45 on their list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.


We´ve just added tons of The Byrds hits including their cover of Bob Dylan´s Mr. Tambourine Man and My Back Pages, Pete Seeger´s Turn Turn Turn, and their self written singles I´ll feel a whole lot better, Eight miles high, and So you want to be a Rock n Roll star. Groove to The Byrds and check out all the other new karaokes, record your own and share them on The Red Karaoke forum.

A contemporary twist on Frank Sinatra

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Frank Sinatra is the epitome of classic cool. He is practically a genre within himself, and the famous singer and actor´s overwhelming fame and popularity have withstood time and inspired even current day musicians.


As a tribute to the musical monument that is Frank Sinatra´s career, Apple put together a project by the name of His way, Our way which was released exclusively for download this past Monday on iTunes. The collection consists of 13 different extremely of the moment artists offering their own vocal talents to their favorite Sinatra singles.


One of the featured artists happens to be Maroon 5, whose frontman Adam Levine confessed to Rolling Stone that he was ¨terrified¨ to take on The Voice. He goes on to admit being a massive Sinatra fan, describing the legend as ¨truly unique… He was just one of these rough, no bullshit, excellent guys, and was spot-on every time he got onstage and started singing. He commanded everyone’s attention and that’s the kind of stuff I love.¨


As timid as he was, Levine was equally eager to take on the callenge of laying down his own sound for The way you look tonight. The version is smooth and classy, completely faithful to the feel of Sinatra and available for free streaming this week on Entertainment Weekly´s website.


Other contemporary artists Apple rounded up range from, among others, the angelic sound of A Fine Frenzy on the single The Things We Did Last Summer, a surprising Seether rendition of I´ve got you under my skin, and The Kills very chill Willow Weep For Me.


Red Karaoke is no stranger to new renditions of Frank Sinatra, one of the top artists here on our site. Check out all of the Frank Sinatra karaokes we have and lay down your own vocals to one of his classics.

New Tutorials for Activating the Stereo Mix

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

After many users have had quite a few problems with sound in their recording, whether the volume of the music is to high, the synchronization is off, or several other reoccurring problems, we have created two video tutorials for both XP users and Vista users that should help solve most of these problems.


The  videos explain how to activiate the stereo mix, based on your operating system. The stereo mix once activated can solve problems with synchronization between voice in music in your karaoke recordings. Also, you can use there same options to adjust the volume and properties of your recordings devices and stereo mix in order to improve the quality of your recordings.


Below is the video tutorial for XP users. Simply put, you only need to click on the audio icon to open the audio controls, then go to properties and select the stereo mixer under the recordings properties. Check out the video to see how its done.


xp tutorial – activate stereo mixRed Karaoke


Here is the video tutorial for Vista users. Make sure to follow the steps in the video carefully. Basically you must right click on the audio icon and open recording devices. There you need to make sure all the devices are shown and that the stereo mix is activated. The step by step instructions are in the video.


stereo mix – windows vistaRed Karaoke


We hope these tutorials help solve the problems some users may have with the sound and synchronization. If you continue to have problems or have any questions please don´t hesitate to post them in the forum where other users or I can help you.

Happy 4th of July from Red Karaoke

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Ah, Independence Day, how I love it. And really, what´s not to love? Hot dogs and hamburgers grilling while kids work up an appetite in the pool. Groups of friends out fishing on thier annual 4th of July camping trip. College kids thowing back a few beers as they claim their spot on the beach to catch the fireworks. Old couples remembering the good old days when people really knew the value of their country´s day of birth. It´s a beautiful holiday in the good old US of A, and there isn´t really much to complain about… except maybe the music.


Say what you will, but our country´s patriotic tunes aren´t the best in the book. Then again, I guess its hard to find a national anthem with even a little bit of style anywhere in the world. From the Star spangled banner to, yes classics, but still all together way too cheesy songs, like Proud to be an American, I´d have to say the only thing to complain about on the 4th of July is the lack of musical selection.


Sure, I could switch the station from some routine version of My country tis of thee and listen to Born in the USA if I want to get down a little this Independence Day, but I decided on something better. Because even though some of the USA´s most patriotic tunes may also be some of the most cringe worthy, I still would like to belt out the lyrics to God bless the USA while the sound of exploding fireworks drown out my horrible voice. Luckily enough, our country has produced some fine musical masterminds who have turned these banner waving USA pride classics into some truly soulful music worth downloading to your itunes.


Here are Red Karaoke´s top choices for renditions as far as USA pride go:


Aretha Franklin´s soulful, though widely debated, My country tis of thee, performed at one of the most historical and profound moments in American History, Barack Obama´s inaguration. I don´t care how old she is or what anyone thinks, Aretha is the wo-man when it comes to heart thrashing soul and this made me want to cry (in the good way).



When you´ve got it, you´ve got it, and Marvin Gaye has got it. He can apparently turn any song into a let´s get it on seduction scene, even the Star spangled banner at the 1983 NBA All star Game.



All American Bruce Springsteen´s moving performance of This Land is Your Land renders this song practically unrecognizable when compared to the original, a plus in my book.



Of course I couldn´t make it through this whole list without naming at list one divalicious pop star´s performance, and though Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey certainly have delivered their fair share of heartfelt superbowl and commemorative patriotic performances, Celine Dion wins with her rendition of God Bless America.



Make that two divas. Beyonce is all over Youtube with all kinds of R&B versions of these patriotic classics, mostly having to do with Obama´s inaguration this year, but her album release of Proud to be american tops my list.



Maybe I´m biased due to his balad to my home state of Georgia, but anything Ray Charles touches is gold, including America the beautiful, which just barely challenges Georgia on my mind in my own heart.



Of course, Red Karaoke has its own collection of talented singers who put their own spin on these patriotic classics. Check out the forum, pick your favorite I love the USA tune and share it with the rest of Red Karaoke to celebrate this year.


Happy 4th of July!