So finally managed to get Rock Band to work (we tried it for the PS2, it wouldn't run; the Wii version we rented had a huge scratch in it, so we finally bought the thing!) and it's awesome! So here are a few of my thoughts about karaoke or singing video games...
1. Get out the midnight black eyeliner - Wanda is a secret emo girl! The second a song comes up that sounds remotely emo-ish, we hand her the mike and let her rip! 5 stars!
2. There are so many songs you think you know - trust us, you don't. "We are family! I know that!", but it turns out you only know the one line from a Cheez Whiz commercial and you have to mumble or hum to get through the song.
3. The flip side of this? You know many more songs than you think you do! How do I, a headbanger since the age of 5, know every single note of "Take on Me" by A-Ha? I blame the resurgence of radio stations only playing hits from the 80's and clothing stores that play the same four songs over and over again!
4. Songs have stupid lyrics. So many songs that held such deep meaning -- ones that made me weep for their beauty as a teenager -- are babble. I had to sing a death metal type song about headless corpses and trees and something about someone falling in love with someone - three to be exact! -- and I still can't make sense of it. (And remember, I was an English major, so I spent a lot of money and much time learning how to inject symbolism into the most banal things!)
The inverse of this - some songs you think are really silly will actually make some sense to you when you think about them for a while. Listen to "Spoonman" by Soundgarden. I think I figured it out (I'll let you interpret that one for yourself!)
5. Some of these songs will run through your head for days. There's one -- I think it's PDA by Interpol - which has lyrics like "sleep tight, grim right, we have 200 couches so you can sleep tight..." I can't get it out of my head. (And is it wrong that, with a little tweaking, I think this might be a good ad for Sleep Country?)
6. Songs are quite repetitive. Raymond did an amazing job on "Pretend We're Dead" by L7, but had to spend 2 minutes of his life he's never going to get back intoning "Dead......dead.......dead" and so on. It is amazing how many times you have to sing "Girls just want to have fun" at the end of the song. It's like the song writers just gave up at a certain point in the song and decided throw in a Gregorian chant. (Raymond points out that this is so the band has a chance to shine with solos, but it is still pretty annoying.)
7. You are probably a much better singer than you think you are. I realize most of us sing in the shower (or car) and secretly think we sound awesome, but most of us really can carry a tune. With a little confidence and more singing from the chest to give it some power, I have yet to hear someone who is truly tone deaf. This is why I like singing things like power ballads - you can be totally silly and over the top and have some fun with it, and you will realize you did really well and get more confidence! The more confidence you get, the better you are going to sing!
And finally...try the songs you don't know. We've been having fun trying songs we've never heard, and we're surprised at how quickly we've picked them up. (See 1 above for Wanda's secret talent!) And you get to sing songs about headless corpses and trees!