Archive for November, 2009

Red Karaoke Favorites: Alicia Keys

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Since her debut in 2001, Alicia Keys has continued to blow fans away with her talented and often heartbreaking songwriting. Tomorrow we can all look forward to the release of her fouth studio album, The Element of Freedom, which Keys has described as anything but what´s expected from the R&B sensation. While her first two singles, Doesn´t mean anything and Try sleeping with a broken heart, have caught our ears, we´re still waiting for a song that can match the smashing success of her previous singles. Join Red Karaoke as we take a look at our favorite karaokes by Alicia Keys.

 

Fallin´ and A Woman´s Worth

 

When Keys hit the R&B scene with Fallin´, the first single off her 2001 debut, Songs in A Minor, it was clear that this fresh young girl from Manhattan was going to do something incredible on the music scene. Fallin´, Keys ode to ¨the ins and outs of relationships¨ was a precious gem during a year when sorry pop songs like Bootylicious and Butterfly were topping the charts. Along with her incredible voice, Keys brought combinations of gospel and James Brown, creating her signature sound and the best single of the year.

 

 

Oddly enough, Key´s didn´t write Fallin´ to be her first single. The song was actually a product of Key´s time in contract limbo, due to her unwillingness to bend to the record label´s will and write songs that were more mainstream. Luckily, the label finally came to their senses, and Fallin´ was given the chance to become the breakthrough hit that it just had to be. The song garnered Keys more than a handful of awards, including the 2002 Grammy for Song of the year.

 

 

With A woman´s worth, the second single from Songs in A Minor, Keys proved her own worth, and also managed to represent the strength of an entire gender. The single climbed the charts to number 3, and also earned Keys a few more awards, including the first of many NAACP Image Awards. Keys said it best, you can´t deny a woman´s worth.

 

If I ain´t got you

 

Keys came back strong in 2003 with her sophomore album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, debuting at number 1 and earning her the most sales of any female artist that year. Diary also earned Keys four more grammies, settling any dispute about whether or not Keys would be sticking around at the top.

 

 

If I ain´t got you was the second single off Diary, and I would have to say, it is one of Key´s most important and powerful songs. Keys herself, in both interviews and live performances, including her off the chain MTV unplugged session, has retold how dear to her heart the single is. Besides being a gorgeous  ode to what is truly important in life, If I ain´t got you was also a record breaking single, spending 40 weeks on the Hot 100 and marking history as the first single by a female to remain on the charts for over a year.

 

No one and Like you´ll never see me again

 

As I am gave Key´s 3 for 3, debuting at number 1, producing several chart dominating singles, and garnering even more grammy´s for the songstress. No one followed in the footsteps of Fallin´, displaying Key´s amazing vocals once again, and giving fans a new sound to listen to.

 

 

No one became Key´s most succsful song to date, peaking at number 1, earning the grammies for best R&B vocals and best song, and become the most listened to song on the radio for 2008. No one also did something a little different for Key´s star power, establishing her position alongside divas like Beyonce, matching the level of their over the top stage presence.

 

 

Ironically, it took the second single from Key´s As I am too boot the unchallenged No one from the top spot on the charts. Like you´ll never see me again was the most succesful single on the R&B charts of 2008, and showed a slightly different side of Key´s as she channeled a sound that was reminiscent of Prince. With it´s perfect mix of sex (those oh so seductive raspy vocals) and love (lyrics that make a classic couple´s song), Like you´ll never see me again is my all time favorite song by Alicia Keys.

 

Enjoy singing these Karaoke Favorites, and many more by Alicia Keys, here on Red Karaoke.

It´s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Today is one of the greatest days of the year. Today we look forward to plates full of oven roasted turkey, yummy green bean casserole, and buttery mashed potatoes. Today we look forward to finding a way to split that pumpkin pie between all of our siblings, cousins and the rest of our family that showed up for one of the most heartwarming American holidays. Today, we get to give thanks for everything we´ve been blessed with, from our families to our friends, to our very lives. And today, we get to start singing Christmas carols.

 

 

That´s right. It´s Thanksgiving Day, and Red Karaoke wants to wish all of our karaoke family the very best on this beautiful holiday. We thank you all for joining our karaoke family, for singing along with us here, and supporting this thing that we love.

 

 

And even though Thanksgiving is just one day, we all know that it marks the beginning of the holiday season. Today is the begining of the season of caring and sharing. Like I said, today is the day when it´s finally okay to start singing Christmas carols. So in honor of the seasonal spirit, this week I want to hear the users of Red karaoke put their heart into the Holiday Karaoke Challenge… afterall, It´s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

 

 

Once you´ve finished stuffing yourself silly, grab the family and gather ´round the computer. Sing your own spirited rendition of It´s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, post it in the forum, and your rendition could be featured in next week´s newsletter. And don´t fret, each week until the end of December there will be a new Holiday themed Karaoke Challenge.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

Leona Lewis´s Happy debuts on RK

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Last week Leona Lewis dropped Echo, the follow up album to her award winning debut, Spirit. Echo is filled with all the vocal range and beauty we´ve come to expect from Britain´s X Factor winnner. All 14 tracks could be rivals to the amazing success of Lewis´s Bleeding love, including the first single off the album Happy, which debuts on Red karaoke today.

 

If you haven´t heard Happy yet, you might guess from the misleading title that it´s some sort of upbeat bit of pep, which it´s anything but. Happy is more on the heartbreak side, with that hint of ¨I´m gonna get through this¨ strength that most divas seem to emote with their sky high vocals.

 

 

In an interview with the Associated Press, Lewis described her inspiration as a journey. ¨We felt like happiness is something everyone strives to have, and sometimes it's not just about being happy, but if you have obstacles in your life that you have to get over to be happy. And it's just about that striving to get there. It was kind of like looking back at all of the things I've been through, just kind of putting that into the song."

 

Ryan Tedder, who helped Lewis write and produce last year´s top single, Bleeding Love, describes Happy as ¨the most beatlful song [he´s] ever been a part of.¨ But the man isn´t petting his own ego as one of the key producers. Critics agree that Happy is a gorgeous song which puts Lewis´s killer vocal chords to the test, and she passes with flying colors. In fact, one critic described Lewis´s delivery as, ¨the most incredible five seconds of singing we've heard all year.¨

 

¨I've had much more time with this album. I feel very passionate about all of the songs. I've put everything into this album.¨ Lewis told the associated press, describing her happiness with Echo and the single Happy. ¨I think the songs are very epic.¨

 

Happy is now available in Red Karaoke´s catalogue. See if you can match Leona Lewis´s range in one of the most ¨powerful and moving songs¨ of the year.

Karaoke Challenge: Make a Memory

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

With Bon Jovi´s latest album, The Circle, hitting the #1 spot on the Billboard charts, I decided this week´s karaoke challenge would be one of their deliciously cheesy, but gotta love it rock ballads. This week´s challenge is You want to make a memory, the first single off Bon Jovi´s 2007 charttopper, Lost Highway.

 

 

While there are plenty of other classic choices I could of made while picking a Bon Jovi challenge, such as Bed of Roses or I´ll be there for you, I decided to go with one of my favorites. You want to make a memory didn´t do much in terms of the charts, and by many fan´s tastes is far from Bon Jovi´s best. However, in my opinion, You want to make a memory is a sweet sad love song that deserved more attention than it got. Bon jovi has got writing lyrics that will melt any sap´s heart down to an artform. And like all Bon Jovi songs, it´s a great song to pour your heart into and sing along with.

 

 

Oh, one cool thing about You want to make a memory? Two versions were released in the US, a pop version that was also released internationally, and a country version that actually did better than its original.

 

 

So, what kind of twist can you put on Bon Jovi? Take a listen to You want to make a memory, and give this week´s karaoke challenge a try. Post you rendition in the forum, and you could be lucky enough to be featured in next week´s newsletter.

Red Karaoke´s Favorites: John Mayer

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Today ¨guitar god¨ John Mayer releases his fourth studio album, Battle Studies, sure to be filled with plenty of pop hits, such as Who knows, his first single from the album which debuted at #17 on the charts. Red Karaoke has decided to take a look at some of the tabloid cover star´s previous work, and five of our favorite John Mayer karaokes; Back to you, Bigger than my body, Come back to bed, Say, Gravity and The heart of life.

 

Back to you

 

While most people may think John Mayer started it all with Room for squares, along with his award winning single, No such thing and Your body is a Wonderland, things got rolling about one indie album before that. After dropping out of Berklee College of Music and then dropping out of a duo gig in Atlanta, Mayer decided to record his own independent EP.

 

The album was Inside wants out and featured as its opening track, Back to you. Mayer´s Inside wants out version of Back to you was the only song on the album to feature a full band and was written solely by Mayer himself. Back to you was also one of the four songs off of Inside wants out to have a reworked studio version included on Room for squares, though No such thing replaced it as the first commercial single.

 

 

While Back to you never had quite the same commercial success as No such thing or Your body is a wonderland, it is possibly one of the best tracks on Room for squares. Back to you has the kind of energy that brings a life of its own to the stage when its heard and played, and it was just another early hint of Mayer´s future stardom.

 

Bigger than my body and Come back to bed

 

With big shoes to fill after hype from Room for squares, Heavier things, Mayer´s second album was succesful enough to peak at #1 on the Billboard charts, receiving favorable reviews, though it just never quite measured up to what was expected from Mayer. Still, the album had several hits, including his first grammy and chart topper with Daughters.

 

 

Bigger than my body was actually the lead single off of Heavier things, Mayer´s own melodicly peppy lament to the frustrations of not being able to get outside his own body to create the kind of music he was surely capable of. While Bigger than my body recieved plenty of radio airplay, it was a shortened version that paled in comparison to the live/acoustic versions that were made available on Mayer´s website and a special live album, As/Is.

 

 

And while Bigger than my body may have been one of the more well known hits of Mayer´s, Come back to bed is without a doubt one of the sexiest and most gorgeous songs off of Heavier things. Even Mayer admits that Come back to bed should´ve been a single, despite the success of his other songs. Mayer had tried his hand at writing a bit of blues on Room for squares with his songs City love (which received harsh criticism in some instances) and Covered in rain. With Come back to bed´s smooth sound, Mayer offered a glimpse, whether he knew it or not, of what was to come.

 

Say

 

 

The 2007 film Bucket List featured some great music, including Say, written by John Mayer just for the film. Say became Mayer´s most commercially succesful hit, making it higher on the charts and receiving all kinds of nominations, including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance which it also won. All the reward was well earned, as Mayer described it as a difficult process, ¨I don´t know how much harder it gets than to see a beautiful, bittersweet movie and then have to write a song that matches the tone.¨

 

Gravity and The heart of life

 

Mayer´s third album, Continuum, seemed to finally show us the John Mayer we had all been waiting for. His style up until Continuum seemed like a growing soul trying to overturn a pop dominance that had been controlling Mayer´s sound. Continuum incorporated more of the blues style Mayer had attempted with his songs City Love and Come back to bed, and the success of this new theme in Mayer´s music not only helped him earn his status as one of the newest guitar gods, but also helped Continuum to become his most awarded and popular album to date, spending over a year on the Billboard charts.

 

 

Gravity, the fourth track off of Continuum is the song Mayer describes as the most important song he´s ever written, naming City love and Come back to bed as his stepping stones to get there. Mayer says Gravity, ¨is a song about making sure you still love yourself, making sure you still have your head on, making sure you still say no the way your mom would say no. And I will need it every damn day of my life because it's easier to mess up than it is to stay here.¨ Despite the incredible guitar riff (wich landed the song on Rolling Stone´s top 100 guitar songs), the simple beauty of Gravity and the importance of this single to Mayer himelf, it is surprisingly one of his least succesful songs.

 

 

 

The heart of life, a little more on the folky side, also received little if any attention from critics. But the sweetness of this positive little diddy makes it one of my favorites, not because it will one day be a classic or has the incredible guitar riffs or blues sound that the rest of the album got its credit for, but because it makes me happy.

 

Enjoy singing these karaokes, and many more by John Mayer, here on Red Karaoke.

Glee: Turning Showtunes into Gold

Friday, November 13th, 2009

With the soundtrack of Fox´s golden egg Glee kicking butt on the charts and bringing song and dance to the forefront of American culture, rejuvinated versions of songs that haven´t seen the Top 100 in decades (or ever for that matter) are on everybody´s playlists, and karaoke lovers like the users of Red Karaoke are finally seeing some appreciation for the art of laying down fresh vocals on a stale tune.

 

 

Glee may seem like your average highschool drama about the popular kids versus the dorks, but it is so much more. Take a broadway star studded cast full of more talent and flair than Madonna´s latest European tour, mix in those really hard to talk about issues that actually DO plague highschoolers like teenage pregnancy and homosexuality, then add in a score of music that ranges from classic rock one minute to broadway tunes to the latest hip-hop in the next and you have Fox´s very deserving new craze. Glee is a show about a high school teacher who takes on the job of making the school´s underrated glee cub and band of misfits into an award winning after school group. But the best part about Glee is the music it turns out.

 

 

Every Wednesday night when she show airs, viewers are bombarded with updated numbers of almost any kind of song you could imagine. Whether it´s Neil Diamond´s Sweet Caroline or Jordin Spark´s No Air, Glee is constantly keeping you guessing with what song they are going to cover next. Thursday morning, the songs from Wednesday night´s episode are made available for purchase on iTunes, which in turn has created a mass kickback to old school music on the digital download charts. Take for example the Glee version of Journey´s Don´t stop believin´ (a karaoke favorite), which went Gold after it was released on iTunes and sold like it was Robert Patterson´s undies up for grabs.

 

 

The beauty of Glee is that every week it intoduces young viewers to songs they may have never heard before, or heard and just didn´t like, and turns them into updated ear candy. Older viewers as well can´t get enough of Glee´s renditions of music they wouldn´t have been caught dead listening to before (hip hop singles like Gold Digger and poppy hits like Avril Lavigne´s Keep holding on). As The New York Daily News put it best, "Glee's singers have a greater feel for what's brilliant about these songs than even their creator, or first interpreters, did."

 

 

Glee: The Music, Volume 1, was released on November 3rd and debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts, an especially impressive feat considering every single one of the songs on the album was already available digitally. "Any TV show soundtrack that induces people of all ages to dance around the kitchen is doing something right," the Chicago Tribune said, praising the diverse and talented cast of glee as they belt their hearts out, turning songs like Queen´s Somebody to love and Celine Dione´s Taking chances into brand new hits.

 

 

Sure to equal the success of the first, Glee: The Music, Volume 2 is already slated for release on December 8th, as well as the release of a special Christmas single by Glee´s cast. Meanwhile the boys and girls of Glee will be dancing around to their own renditions of even more classics including The Pretenders I´ll stand by you, John Lennon´s Imagine, and the Rolling Stones´ You can´t always get what you want.

 

 

While the cast of Glee certainly has talent, the users of Red karaoke have already been putting their own style into some classics and owning the cover world. Why not give these kids a run for their money and sing Red Karaoke´s five favorite Glee redos; Say a little prayer, Respect, Mercy, Sweet Caroline and Somebody to Love.

Karaoke Challenge: Feeling Good

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

This week´s karaoke challenge is one for lovers of the classics, even if the artist is barely in his 30´s. The song is Feeling good, and the artist is Michael Bublé, just off the recent high of his #1 album debut, Crazy Love.

 

 

While Michael Buble may be the hot item on the billboard charts, performing with the likes of Jennifer Hudson, and dating celebrities like Emily Blunt, he´s far from any of the pop sensations we´ve come to expect from the American music scene. And while the Canadian born singer certainly appreciates what´s current, his influences fall more into the realm of classic voices like Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra.

 

 

Bublé has attributed his ear for the oldies to his grandfather. ¨He was the one who opened me up to a whole world of music that seemed to have been passed over by my generation. Although I like rock & roll and modern music, the first time my granddad played me the Mills Brothers something magical happened. The lyrics were so romantic, so real the way a song should be for me. It was like seeing my future flash before me. I wanted to be a singer and I knew that this was the music that I wanted to sing.”

 

 

Bublé has been succesful in channeling the feeling of old tunes, while still maintaing a current enough sounds to make it in the pop world. His first few albums have reached multi-platinum success, with recognizable singles like Home and Everything. But the real success for Bublé seems to be in his ability to perform, where his cocky but oh so smooth style truly does channel that of Sinatra or Dean Martin.

 

 

Bublé has even admitted his desire to join the ranks of those golden age entertainers, "I've said it a million times: I would love very much to be known as one of the great entertainers. If that's me having a big ego, then sorry. I'm shooting for the stars and if I miss I'll hit the moon and that's pretty high."

 

 

Crazy love, Buble´s recent album release, which debuted at number one and beat out even the New Moon soundtrack (despite the fan crazed obession) is, according to Bublé, even more true to the feeling he wants to achieve.

 

 

¨I dug way deeper and was more introspective on this one. Basically, I sang the truth - made each song autobiographical - and you can definitely hear the difference. I went back to the way my idols made their records.¨ Bublé told Reuters. ¨I wanted an organic feel - so people could feel like they were in the studio with me… It's not contrived. Not too perfect. It just feels really good."

 

 

The album is named for Van Morrison´s 1970 hit, Crazy love, and includes a cover version, as well as Buble´s own renditions of songs by the Eagles and Ron Sexsmith. There is also plenty of original material, including the first single, Haven´t met you yet, inspired by a period of singledom after Buble´s very public breakup with actress Emily Blunt.

 

 

¨I think the message is that all of us can relate to this feeling, this emotion called love and it's a complicated feeling.¨ Buble said, explaining his idea for the album that he calls the ultimate record about the inevitable roller coaster ride of relationships. ¨It doesn't just come with butterflies in the stomach and happiness and sunshine and lollipops, it comes with heartache and jealousy and sometimes rage and sometimes insecurity and sadness and regret. It's a beautiful, complicated, and really special feeling that keeps us all connected.¨

 

 

Bublé is now gearing up for his 2010 tour, which will hit the states in May, his first time performing for us Americans since 2008, as well as preparing a rerelease of Crazy love with a few tracks that haven´t left the recording room yet. Until then he´s busy on the publicity circuit, including a performance of his new single, Haven´t met you yet, as well as this week´s challenge, Feeling good on Dancing with the Stars.

 

 

Feeling good is a throwback to classic hollywood and feels like it came straight out of a James Bond film. It´s certainly no breeze, but there are definitely a few Red Karaoke users up to the challenge. My suggestion? Be like Michael Bublé and listen to the songbirds of the golden age before taking on this challenge. Once you´ve recorded your rendition of Feeling good, make sure to post it in the forum, and you may end up featured in next week´s newsletter!

Karaoke Challenge: Live like you were dying

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

This week´s pick for the challenge is a beautiful and inspiring song, and also a new addition to Red karaoke´s karaoke catalogue (kudos to Colonelmac), Live like you were dying by possibly one of America´s most famous country singers, Tim Mcgraw.

 

 

Live Like You Were Dying is one of Tim Mcgraw´s most succesful singles and probably one of the songs that is closest to his heart. Mcgraw wrote Live like you were dying in 2004, dedicating it to his father, former baseball player Tug Mcgraw. Mcgraw senior had been hospitalized with a brain tumor and diagnosed with cancer, with only weeks to live.

 

 

Live like you were dying is a heartfelt and joyous song of a man without much time to live who learns to make every moment count. The message was a powerful one, and helped the single become a chartopper in no time, spending a total of seven weeks in the number one spot. Not only that, but Mcgraw´s live like your were dying also became one of the most awarded songs of 2004, named the biggest and best single of the year by nearly every country award panel.

 

 

Live like you were dying is a beautiful ode to life and an excellent challenge for the users of Red karaoke. Take the time to listen to this beautiful country song, give the challenge a try and post your rendition in the forum. The winner of this week´s challenge will appear along with their recording in next week´s newsletter.

Winners of the Halloween 2009 Challenge!

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

We´ve decided the winners of the 2009 Halloween Contest here on Red Karaoke. We asked users to put on their Halloween best and sing along to one of four specially chosen karaokes or make a creative video in the halloween spirit. Thank you to everyone who sang, dressed up and had fun with this little challenge. We hope you continue to enjoy all Red karaoke has to offer, whether its karaokes, the forums or contests such as this.

 

 

Our first winner was a video entry submitted by Solitaryman who blew us away with his amazing vocal interpretation of People Are Strange by the Doors. Solitaryman´s flawless makeup job as the joker and ¨Why so serious¨ introduction were a pefect compliment to his rendition of the classic Doors song about wicked strangers.

 


a little halloween goofing off - Red Karaoke

 

The second winner is Slimt´s video entry. Though the video doesn´t have any recognizable music, there is plenty of noise in this bone chilling look into what seems to be a nightmarish haunted house. We had to give Slimt props for such a perfectly creepy and creative halloween video. It certainly made my skin crawl.

 


halloween contest - Red Karaoke

 

Thank you to everyone who sang in this year´s halloween contest, and special congratulations to Solitaryman and Slimt, our two chosen winners for 2009!

The Sound of New Moon

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Fans of the latest novel turned into movie craze Twilight are biting at the chomps as they await the November 20th premiere of its sequel New Moon. And while the Cullen and Bella crazies have been slightly subdued by the release of multitudes of marketing distractions from cast interviews, previews, music videos to even barbie dolls, it was the early release of the New Moon Soundtrack that brought the ¨overwhelmingly and unprecedented demand¨ of the fans from boiling over to just a simmer. Now there is even more to keep fans busy as they count down the days with the November 6th launch of the New Moun Soundtrack tour.

 

 

New Moon´s lead single, Meet me on the equinox, written specifically by Death Cab for Cutie for the movie, ¨to reflect the celestial themes and motifs that run throughout the Twilight series¨, premiered on October 7th, perhaps aiding in the growing clamor for the complete soundtrack and helping with its rescheduled release date of October 16th. Whatever the case, the album has been rocking the charts ever since, booting Michael Buble´s Crazy Love from the number one spot after just one week and making billboard history for the twilight saga as the first ever movie series to have more than one chart topping soundtrack.

 

 

The New Moon soundtrack is a compilation of alternative and indie rock groups, all channeling a bit of melodrama and desperation fitting perfectly with movie´s mood. Heavyhitters who appear in the mix alongside Death cab include The killers, Bon Iver who sings with St. Vincent on Roslyn, and Thom Yorke of Radiohead who contributed a slightly dissapointing single Hearing Damage.

 


‘Satellite Heart’ Anya Marina

Anya Marina | MySpace Video

 

But the whole thing isn´t just gloom. With Muse remixing their recent release I belong to you and Sea Wolf´s The Violet Hour, there are bursts of pep with only a small hint of angst. Other artist contributions who are definitely worth taking a listen to are Ok go, Anya Marina and of course the movie´s composer Alexandre Desplate and his eerily beautiful piano piece entitled The Meadow.

 

 

The really interesting part about all 15 tracks on the list is that each was written and recorded solely for the New Moon soundtrack, in a way creating a special gift for fans of the Twilight saga. International twilight lovers get a little something extra in the form of a bonus track by a local artist, i.e., Spanish speaking fans get the pleasure of hearing Frente al mar by the Mexican artist Ximena Sariñana (if you do not know who she is, look up her duet with Jason Mraz on Lucky now). While this could have had the potential of causing riots among the American fans (where are OUR bonus tracks?), their something extra is even more personal.

 

 

November 6th will mark the begining of a special New Moon soundtrack tour that will hit up six different spots nationwide. The shows are completely open to adoring fans who will have the chance to see Death Cab for Cutie, Anya Marina, Sea Wolf and Band of Skulls live, then rip apart 10 cast members in a special Q&A session. More or less a dream come true for tweens and teens everywhere.