Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's in a (Karaoke) Song?

If you are a keen observer it would take precious little for you to realise there is more than meets the eye when a couple karaokes together.

Whether the couple is lawfully wedded or their association scandalously illicit, one could gauge the state of their relationship through their choice of songs during a karaoke session.

They tend to convey specific messages through the songs they render, together or singly. They may not even realise it themselves; it's the others listening in who do.

A guy I know stuck to his staple of Tom Jones' "Release Me" and Lobo's "How Can I Tell Her" during his troubled marriage. The wife retaliated with Abba's "The Winner Takes It All". She must have realised she was getting the short end of the shrift.

After splitting and upon acquiring a new spouse, the guy's repertoire changed to more cheerful, upbeat songs overloaded with messages of love. The air crackled with good vibes when the loving duo were around.

Last night, however, he got me off-kilter by singing that old disturbing standby "Release Me" again. What gives? I stole a glance at the wife; she looked pretty grim. I knew she didn't approve.

I'm clueless as to what's going on. I hope it's just a poor choice of songs. All along, they seemed quite happy together. Then again one can never be sure what goes on in the mind of a man. A worldly married man too, at that.

My personal dislike among karaoke hits are Willie Nelson's "To All The Girls I've Loved Before", Mary McGregor's "Torn Between Two Lovers" and Roberta Flack's "Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You." While the melodies are great, the lyrics have scant respect for the sanctity of marriage.

Perhaps it's my kampung upbringing. Or maybe I'm just too much of a hick. Songs that blatantly promote promiscuity or glorify adultery don't wash with old-fashioned me. So I'm a stick in the mud, but I'm alright with the label.

That's why as much as I love Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You", I balk at singing it in public, not when the lyrics express the sentiment of a woman waiting for the arrival of her married lover for a promised all-night romp.

Years ago during the time we were frequenting the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) karaoke lounge, one of my favourite pastimes was to observe the antics of many dating couples, especially those cheating spouses with their respective 'flavours of the month.'

These husbands and fathers, almost always middle-aged or old and balding (but with deep pockets) would turn up with sexily dressed young women in tow, many of whom younger than their own daughters.

Over wine (and other intoxicants), these lovey-dovey odd couples would smooch shamelessly, and would duet mushy songs that would make a teenager wince. Pathetic couldn't even begin to describe the scene.

While not exactly in the rush (nor keen) to remarry during my post-divorce years, one of my favourite songs was Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make it Through The Night."

Outwardly, that song is a yearn for intimacy of the sexual kind. However, to me it carried an entirely different meaning; it was an expression of loneliness more than anything else.

The lyrics somehow translated into a longing for companionship, for someone to talk to and confide in. In other words, the need for a soulmate who need not necessarily be a bedmate.

Now, who says karaoke is just plain old singing? It's a great way to de-stress, to observe the wiles of ageing Lotharios, not to mention a training ground for psychoanalyst wannabes. I'd say, it's karaoke or bust!


mamasita said...

O my goodness..betul2! Songs do depict the inner emotional turmoil one is in..sometimes happy, sometimes okaylah and sometimes really forlornly depressed..Puteri you're a smart lady! Pandainya you tafsir!:))

ninot said...


Karaoke will never be the same experience again ever. I will be too busy analising every singer and his song, looking out for signals of marital bliss or despair!

Actually, I brave the karaoke lair only with true friends from the old girls' alumni - as singing is definitely not something I do well!

ninot said...

By the way, selamat mengerjakan umrah to you and the family, Kak Kama.

And thanks to your blog, I got in touch with an old friend, Cat-In-Sydney!

Siti Roffini said...

I think you've graduated to a fully fledged psychoanalyst. I shall be more careful in my choice of songs from now on, though I simply love the melody to "To All The Girls I've Loved Before"

Pi Bani said...

Why is it then that some people sukaaaaa sangat nyanyi lagu My Way?

Tommy Yewfigure said...

OMG Puteri, I don’t know whether I’m been paranoiac or just self conscious, somehow I get the feeling u r pointing your finger at me for that (quote)

‘almost always middle-aged or old and balding (but with deep pockets) would turn up with sexily dressed young women in tow, and over wine (and other intoxicants) would duet mushy songs that could make a teenager wince. Pathetic couldn't even begin to describe the scene (unquote)……hahaha..note I’m definitely NOT balding & definitely NO deep pocket lah.

So Madam Psychoanalyst, u must have a full dossier of Thomas L.C Yew for leaving all those signature songs all over the blogosphere; what’s your conclusion??? Do I need help?….hehehe.

This is the song I last sang at a karaoke session;

Please Excuse Me

So am I gonna say Sayonara to anyone???


P/S – Hi Pi, people who sing that song is most likely to be on HIS WAY to meet his maker, memang sudah tua mah :))

─╣aptop™ said...

Xcuse me.
Bila boleh dengar your

♥♪♫ Long pan long lau,
Maan lei tou tou gong seoi wing bat jau ♥♪♫, again?

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri,
It's just a song. Nothing to it. Really. purrr....meow!

Anyway, if Brad sings You're the One That I Want again, I'll whack him good.

Zendra said...

I can manage to carakucakuca Bila Larut Malam kalau dah terpaksa. Asmara dah padam kot?

Kama said...

mamasita - that's what happens when one has too much time on one's hand, mamasita. benda2 tak berpekdah dibuatnya.. :P

ninot - good to know you found an old long-lost friend through this blog. pak abu and i met cat's mom & dad last year. and tq for the good wishes.

siti - when it gets to .."who now are someone else's wives.." i always wince.. heheh..

pi - in karaokeland ada 3 lagu wajib; Sinatra's My Way, Broery's Widuri and Teresa Teng's "Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin" (The Moon Represents My Heart.

tommy - et tu? i dont think you are a naughty man lah. you scared of your AhSo wan.. :-) I like Chotto Matte Kudasai..

lap -wait arr lap. one day i tape my karaokeing a mandarin/cantonese song and put it in the blog.

cat - Brad can sing? whoa..! Angelina must be purring with pleasure..

zen - carakuca, carakuca is good enough. without it "Bila Larut Malam" is not complete.

pakmat said... easy, tommy, its pakmat that she had in mind..but not sure how old is a man when he is middle-aged..a man is either young or old..there's no middle in his age..:)but its ok..I'm done singing..but my time, it was Steve Lawrence 'Pretty Blue Eyes' or Cliff Richard's 'Constantly' as against other patrons who thought that they are men of substance and kept on singing 'My Way' killing the song their own way..

Help Me Make It Through The Night?..listen to Martina Mcbride' rendition, lady..and I can almost see u singing it..

..hey.tommy, think u can arrange that we both be at the back at LakeClub and listen to this lady singing..?..and excused me for plagiarising your style..

Putri Singing

pakmat said...


..but I used to 'Gelora' with my girlfriends..:)cheers..

Kama said...

waaa.. pak mat! kelaslah! hehehe... pak abu and I would only be too happy and honoured to have both of you as my guests at any time, for karaoke, makan, sembang mak alang, anything at all.. just anme the day..

Queen Of The House said...

We have our almost-weekly karaoke session at my SIL's house - my family and SILs and BILs families. Next time I'll pay attention to what songs are chosen.

A few weeks ago I chose Roberta Flack's "Tonight I Celebrate my Love for You" hahaha, saja aje gatal ... and the kids all got chased out. Obscene lah, said my other half, hahaahaa!!

Kama said...

oooh, you are a karaoke kaki too! Nanti kak kama organise one session and you must join..

Anonymous said...

When u organise the karaoke session with Queen of the House, will I get an invite as well?

Queen and I went to school together way back when bell-bottoms were fashionable.

Kama said...

Mat B, absolutely!! I was thinking of KLGCC; their spanking new karaoke lounge would be opened soon, in May I heard. The old lounge was closed six months back when the club underwent a massive renovation/refurbishing work. I'll keep you in the loop.. I know of a few more bloggers who would be in my list (thus far) because of their love for karaoke.. hehe.. sapa2 nak join tu, silakan express your intention..kalau malu.. rugi beb!

3yearshousewife said...

Very interesting. I didn't know there's more to karaoke than just the syok sendiri singing. I don't do karaoke so have to analyse my potpet potpet to see I'm in a good mood or otherwise.

Oldstock said...

Kak Kama,

I'm now into a phase of singing ladies songs. The current favourite is Ziana Zain's Anggapanmu. Go figure...