Month: October 2011

Who sang it better: Pumped up kicks

You would have to be living under a rock to have not heard of Foster the people or their debut single Pumped up kicks, considering the crossover hit has taken over the radio and billboard charts in recent months, not to mention appearances in movies like Friends with Benefits and shows like Gossip Girl. And just as with any other popular single, even an alternative hit like Pumped up kicks, there are plenty of people who want to sing their own version. Join Red Karaoke as we take a look at this sleeper success and its many covers, and help us decide… who sang it best?


Though Pumped up kicks is currently riding the radio to the top of the charts, Foster the people actually wrote the single as a demo intended for their EP, with frontman Mark Foster imagining the first recording to be nothing more than a practice version, not the final version that would appear on their first studio album Torches.



Foster explained in an interview that the song, describing the thoughts of a homicidal youth with an upbeat bassline and electronic beat, that he “was trying to get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid” and that the lyrics were written to “bring awareness to the issue of gun violence amongst youth, which he feels is an epidemic perpetuated by lack of family, lack of love, and isolation.” Whatever the message is, Pumped up kicks certainly is getting stuck in people’s head.



But whose heads exactly? Well, lead singer of Weezer, Rivers Cuomo is among fans. Having met Foster nine years before Pumped up kicks, Cuomos happened to have a guitar at the chance meeting and tought Foster to play Say it ain’t so. Now, nearly a decade later, Cuomo has covered Foster’s hit during Weezer’s 2011 US tour, a “wild” experience for Foster.



Weezer wasn’t the only big name to put their spin on the radio hit. The Kooks, not straying too far from their own genre, performed their own version of Pumped up kicks for BBC back in September, and we have to say, it was pretty darn good. Almost as good as Jimmy Fallon’s late night rendition of the single, while impersonating David Bowie. Weird, but amazing.



All of these crazy versions of Pumped up kicks“>Pumped up kicks have our ears reeling, but which is the best? Tell us who you think sang Pumped up kicks better in the forum, or share your own rendition and see if you can give Foster the people a run for their money.

Artist Feature: Tom Petty

Tom PettyNot only is Tom Petty celebrating his 61st birthday today, he’s also celebrating the announcement of his Kiss my amps (Live) album track list, set to be released in just about a month. With decades of rock under his belt, Petty is a tried and true star. Join us as we check out Tom Petty’s over 30 year span in the spot light.


Born in Gainsville, Florida, Tom Petty’s passion for rock grew out of an early encounter with The King himself, when his uncle was working on the set of Elvis Presley’s film Follow That Dream in nearby Ocala, Florida and invited Petty to come down and watch the shoot. As if that wasn’t enough of a big time influence on Petty, he confessed in a 2006 interview, that he knew he wanted to be in a band the moment he saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show – AND one of his first guitar teachers was Don Felder, a fellow Gainesville resident who would later join none other than The Eagles.


With his growing interest in rock and roll, Petty put together a band known as the Epics which later became Mudcrutch. The band featured future Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench and became popular locally, though their recordings, aside from the single “Depot Street”, went largely unnoticed by a mainstream audience.


don´t do me like thatRed Karaoke


After a short time pursuing a solo career, Petty joined with Campbell, Trench, Ron Blair and Stan Lynch, resulting in the first line-up of the Heartbreakers. Their first album, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, was more popular in Britain than the US. Their second album, however, entitled You’re Gonna Get It! was the first to enter the Top 40 and featured the singles “I Need to Know” and “Listen To Her Heart”.And their third album, Damn the Torpedoes, quickly went platinum, selling nearly two million copies; it includes their breakthrough singles “Don’t Do Me Like That”, “Here Comes My Girl” and Refugee.


1981′s Hard Promises became a top-ten hit, going platinum and spawning the hit single “The Waiting”. The album also featured Petty’s first duet, “Insider” with Stevie Nicks. In 1985, the band participated in Live Aid, following their release of Southern Accents. This album included Petty’s well known single Don’t Come Around Here No More.


I won´t back downVote for my rendition!


Their next tour led to the live album Pack Up the Plantation: Live! and to an invitation from Bob Dylan to join him on his True Confessions tour. The group also played some dates with the Grateful Dead in 1986 and 1987, the same year the group released Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) which includes “Jammin’ Me” which Petty wrote with Dylan.


In 1989, Petty released Full Moon Fever, his first true solo album, which featured famous hits I Won’t Back Down, Free Fallin’ and “Runnin’ Down a Dream”. Many other well known musicians participated in its creation, including Mike Campbell co-produced the album with Petty and Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra, and backing musicians included Campbell, Lynne, and fellow Wilburys Roy Orbison and George Harrison (Ringo Starr appears on drums in the video for “I Won’t Back Down”, but they were actually performed by Phil Jones).


I won´t back downVote for my rendition!


After more than handful of other hit solo and group albums, in 1991 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers receieved a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their contribution to the recording industry. 2002 saw their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2005, Petty received the Billboard Century Award for his lifetime achievements.


While you wait for the November release of his latest live ablum, you can sing some of Tom Petty’s greatest hits right here on Red Karaoke, or download a few of his gold mp3s to take with you anywhere.

RKs Top Ten Songs with lyrics that aren’t lyrics

In case you missed it on Red Karaoke’s official facebook page, we have recently found ourselves obsessed with this Youtube video of a trio’s attempt to cover the History of Lyrics That Aren’t Real Lyrics, or to put it more simply, some of the most memorable songs that feature a whole lot of “la la las” and “da da das”. Pretty amazing. In fact, we can’t get enough of songs that feature a ton of made up words, and decided to feature ten of our own favorite Songs with lyrics that aren’t lyrics, as well as give you the chance to “na na na” and “mmm mmm mmm” all weekend long.



Mmm mmm mmm mmm


Though the 1993 hit single Mmm mmm mmm mmm from Crash Test Dummies describes in each verse the very difficult life of different children, all that is remembered about this 90′s hit is the icnonic mmms, sure to stick in your head and possible why the song received the award for 15th Most Annoying song ever from Rolling Stone. Still, we can’t help but love the deep melancholy, or stop mmm-ing along.



The Lion Sleeps Tonight


You know a song has to have some truly distinct song lyrics (or should I say made up words?) when the song itself is known not by its title, as in the case of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, but instead by one of its many none distinguishable words, “The aweem away song”. What many people don’t know is that what is actually being sung is “Uyimbube”, meaning “You are a lion” in the songs original language, but after The Weavers covered it, the change in lyrics occurred. Thus you have the history of how a real lyric in a different language turns into a nonsense lyric more well known than the songs title.



Bad Romance


No modern day list of songs with nonsensical lyrics could exclude the queen of freaks herself, Lady Gaga. It was hard to pick just one, but the incredibly iconic monster single (no pun intended all you fame monsters out there), Bad Romance gets our vote for one of the most pleasantly infectious pieces of made up words in music to date.



Tutti Frutti


Since we ventured into the Top 40s, its only fair to take it back to the 50s, arguably the age when more artists than ever were experimenting with “doo waps” and “bap bap baps”. Who better to embody this era of rock and roll than Little Richard and his iconic “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bop-bop!” in Tutti Frutti, his signature and a model of how to do rock and roll right for years to come.



The Passenger


Moving on to yet another era of rock and roll, Iggy Pop’s embodiment of punk rock in the 70′s, The Passenger, proved to become a long standing hit, and not just because of its instantly recognizable chorus (which featured vocals from David Bowie) of La la la la la, but also for its distinctive riff.



Da Doo Ron Ron


Referred to as “Solid Gold” by none other than Sonny Bono himself, the doo wop song, so perfectly named Da Doo Ron Ron, has been covered by just about everybody from Bette Midler to The Donnas, but our favorite still has to be the original by The Crystals, the version which was of course considered by Rolling Stone as one of The 500 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time.



De do do do de da da da


With that title, its no wonder De do do do de da da da is on our list. Writer and lead singer of The Police, Sting described the hit single as being bout the attraction that people have to simple songs. Bringing up some other nonsensical themes, “I was trying to make an intellectual point about how the simple can be so powerful. Why are our favourite songs ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ and ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’?” Well, looks like he succeeded in writing another one.



Lovin’ You


In the musical world of soul, there may be many incredible high pitched songbirds, and just as many songs with indistinguishable lyrics, but there are perhaps few as recognizable “ooohs” as high pitched and lovely as that of Minnie Riperton in her incredible single Lovin’ You.



What’s my name?


We may have already mentioned the Queen of the mini monsters, but there is another pop sensation that has plenty of chart toppers filled with words upon words that are not really words. Who else could we be talking about besides the Barbadian diva Rihanna and her hit single featuring Drake, What’s my name?… of course, you could browse through any of Rihanna’s hits and find plenty of “la la las” to sing along with.



You might have noticed that these are just nine of our favorites and be wondering what the tenth is… well, we want you to tell us! There are hundreds of songs with made up lyrics and gaggles of “la la las” and “da de dums” to sing along with, which one do you enjoy the must? Share your favorites in the forum, and make sure to include your own rendition!

RK Debut: Bad Meets Evil

Even though we’ve been working hard trying to bring you new applications and making Red Karaoke better than ever, we haven’t forgotten about our weekly gold mp3 productions. In the last few weeks we’ve had some amazing new additions to Red Karaoke’s catalogue, and so we thought we’d help you get to know a couple of them here in the blog, with a little look at Bad Meets Evil.


One half of the Detroit based duo Bad Meets Evil needs no introduction. We know him as Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, or more commonly just plain Eminem. And while he comprises the better known half and the “Evil” side, the twosome is not complete without Bad a.k.a. Royce de 5’9″.


Royce and Eminem both grew up in Detroit and were introduced via Royce’s manager in 1997. Their instant chemistry encouraged them to form a group and record several tracks together, including their debut group single “Nuttin’ to Do”. After Eminem signed his solo deal with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, he featured Royce on the song “Bad Meets Evil” which appeared on The Slim Shady LP.



A fallout occurred between Royce and Eminem due to differences between the former and their childhood friends who comprised D12, who after wards released several tracks “dissing” royce, without including Eminem. But after the death of their mutual friend, rapper Proof, Eminem and Royce were able to reconcile and began discussing future collaborations.


Their collaboration was successful when their 2011 release of Hell: The Sequel debuted at number 1. Their single Lighters, featuring the popular singer Bruno Mars, is a chart sensation and has received major radio airplay. Now you can sing the hit Lighters from Bad Meets Evil right here on Red Karaoke.

Artist Feature: John Denver

On the anniversary of the untimely death of John Denver, one of America’s most well known singer-songwriters, environmentalists and activists, what better way to pay homage to the well known musical icon than a little look into the singer’s career and our favorite songs of his.


Born to a stern military father and a faithful catholic mother in New Mexico, Denver at a young age already seemed to have his life mapped out for him. Moving often as a youth, Denver never had much chance to make friends, but was able to lean on his mother, who introduced him to her love of music, through which he had opportunities to perform in choir groups and choruses. Eventually his life led him away from that of his parent’s, and he pursued his interest in playing acoustic guitar, performing under the name “Denver”, after the capitol city of his favorite state.



John Denver released his first album, Rhymes and reasons, in 1969 under RCA records. But two years before that, Denver had already self-produced a demo recording of some of the songs he enjoyed playing, including a song called “Babe I Hate to Go,” later renamed Leaving on A Jet Plane. Mitchell Trio manager Milt Okun brought the unreleased “Jet Plane” song to the high-profile folk group Peter, Paul and Mary whose version of the song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.


Denver recorded two more albums in 1970, Take Me to Tomorrow and Whose Garden Was This?, featuring songs he had composed while driving the roads of the American Midwest while self promoting his first album with small town gigs and college shows. Although these albums were not as successful as those that followed, they would all be certified gold and would generally be considered some of his best work.



Poems, Prayers, and Promises was released next in 1971, and became a breakthrough for Denver due to the single Take Me Home, Country Roads, which went to the second spot on the Billboard charts. Denver’s career sky rocketed from then on, and he had a series of hits over the next four years.


In 1972, Denver achieved his first top ten album with Rocky Mountain High, with its title track also reaching the top ten. Between 1974 and 1975, Denver experienced an impressive chart dominance, with a string of four top songs: Sunshine on My Shoulders, Annie’s Song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy, and I’m Sorry.



But Denver’s successful career included more than just music, considering he was the co-founder of the Hunger Project and a huge benefactor of UNICEF. He also became very involved in conservation efforts and other politics and was known for his support of Jimmy Carter and other democratic social issues.


But getting back to the music, why not sing one of John Denver’s many songs on Red karaoke, whether it’s his iconic Leaving on a jet plane or something a little less obvious like Calypso. We’ve got it all right here.

Discover and Download: The Arctic Monkeys

Looking for something to sing that breaks away from the mold? Make sure to check here in the Red Karaoke blog for new songs and artists you just might need to give a little lip service to, download a new mp3 from and shock your regular listeners with. Today we are featuring a little known indie group turned big time rock band, The Arctic Monkeys and their single Don’t sit down cause I’ve moved your chair.


Formed in 2002 in England, The Arctic Monkeys concsist of Alex Turner (lead vocals, Lead/rhythm guitar), Jamie Cook (rhythm/lead guitar), Nick O’Malley (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Matt Helders (drums, percussion, backing vocals). These four lucky guys are considered some of Brit’s first ever and biggest breakthrough artists via, you guessed it, the internet, and even surpassed Oasis for greatest debut album sales ever.


The Arctic Monkeys have released four studio albums; Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not in 2006, Favourite Worst Nightmare in 2007, Humbug in 2009 and Suck It and See in 2011, as well as one live album in 2007 called At the Apollo.



But despite their rapid rise to fame in the UK, and hard work to gain noteriety in the US, it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies for these guys. Soon after the release of their EP in the UK, the band announced that founding member Andy Nicholson would not take part in the band’s forthcoming North America tour and upon returning to the UK, Nicholson confirmed that he would leave Arctic Monkeys partially because he couldn’t deal with the band’s fame and the success over the preceding six months.


But overall, The Arctic Monkeys have been lucky enough to see their albums and singles reach record breaking sales and win them numerous awards. Now, the lead single off their fourth album, Don’t sit down cause I’ve moved your chair is available here on Red Karaoke for your discovery and singing pleasure. Try something new, try The Arctic Monkeys, and you just might surprise yourself.