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Back this week with karaoke advice to carry you through the weekend, it’s Duets–your very own karaoke advice column where there’s only one rule: Absolutely No “Don’t Stop Believin’”. 

Send your karaoke queries and quandaries to karaokeconfessional@gmail.com.

Why do people love Journey so much? Weddings... bars... karaoke.... I'm over it.
–Michelle

Girl, I feel you. I think people choose to sing “Don’t Stop Believin’,” AKA the No. 1 karaoke offense, because they know at a basic bar joint it’ll be a hit. Karaoke is ultimately about crowd-pleasing–much like any performance–and it’s a (bad!) song that everyone knows. And honestly? Blame Glee.

But while that song remains Journey’s worst offense by far, that doesn’t mean the band doesn’t have other songs to offer. Journey happens to have quite the collection of slow ballads–songs perfect for karaoke, because they build slowly into giant choruses that the entire bar knows. Next time you’re looking for something crowd-pleasing, I beg of you to move away from the cliché, and toward something more like “Faithfully” (“I’m for-ev-er youuuuuuurs”) or “Open Arms” (“And now I come...to you....with op...en....arms”) or, even, “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” (“If. He. Ev-er. Hurts. You”). Just because we’re banning the ballad of small town girls in lonely worlds doesn’t mean we have to write off Journey altogether.

I really want to sing Hamilton karaoke. Can I?
–Melissa

I want you to sing Hamilton karaoke! I just want you to sing it in the privacy of your own private karaoke room. No offense. 

(Pro tip: Most karaoke spots have online databases of songs, so you can check to see if your favorite new songs are ready to be sung.)

Karaoke and co-workers. Do they mix?
–Ben

Just like with any after-work activity, you should probably try not to act inappropriately (i.e. get fucked up) in front of your co-workers. 

But karaoke-wise, embarrassing yourself in front of your co-workers might actually be a good thing. Karaoke happens to be a wonderful bonding experience (why do you think it’s so easy to befriend strangers at karaoke bars?), especially when everyone’s equally bad – and we usually all are, if we’re being honest. Perhaps you’ll learn a bunch of new things about your co-workers that you didn’t know previously! That boring chick from social media loves Slayer; that dude whose name you always forget does an impressive Adam Duritz impression; your boss’ rendition of “Life on Mars?” makes you actually kind of like him? Who knows, your fantastic rendition of Roy Orbison’s “I Drove All Night” might even just get you a raise.

Most of all: Never, ever turn down free karaoke. 

Lindsey Weber is a Los Angeles-based writer and karaoke professional. Send all your karaoke questions to karaokeconfessional@gmail.com.