Sunday, May 10, 2009

Going to a noraebang (Korean for "singing room") with Koreans is really a treat. Koreans learn to a lot of things really well and singing has to be near the top of the list. Going with other Westerners ensures that you'll know all the songs you hear, but it's the equivalent, with rare exceptions, of amateur night at a hick bar in a college town. Going with Koreans is like going to a taping of American Idol, with virtually every song turned into a ballad or power ballad with range and power that strain credulity.

Your otherwise normal friend becomes a Korean Aretha Franklin and if you're not looking, you won't even recognize the quasi-professional voice. It's amusing to see the English songs they choose. Tonight there was Hoobastank, Maroon 5, a Korean cover of Guns N' Roses' Don't Cry, Michael Jackson's Beat It and The Cranberries' Zombie. My favourite was the time my friend sang You Are My Sunshine without a trace of irony. As impressive as it is to hear someone sing Michael Jackson and do it well, the real treat is in finding someone that knows the words to all your favourite songs beyond "gee gee gee gee gee gee baby" and "oh oh oh oh oh".

In honour of well-done amateur singing, here are people around the world singing the Wondergirls' Nobody:

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