Yuen: What your go-to karaoke song says about you

·5 min read

You know you have one — a go-to karaoke tune that you save for those clutch occasions. One that will rouse the crowd, flaunt your dance moves, or reveal your tender heart.

Whether you can hit the high notes or just think you can, whether you're crooning at the nearest Legion hall or in a private singing room in Taipei (yes, I've done it all), your signature song says a lot about you and the moment you're in.

These tunes, released from 1968 to 2021, may reveal more about your personality than your horoscope, the car you drive or the clothes you wear.

"Proud Mary" by Tina Turner. Wherever you go, you bring the party. The song's built-in choreography means you enjoy a little flair — hello, big wheels that keep on turning! — and command at least a baseline of physical fitness.

"Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. You don't care for karaoke, but your friends dragged you up here, so you pick a tune that will be outsourced to the audience very quickly. They won't even notice when you start lip syncing and fade away into the background. So good, so good, so good!

"Wannabe" by Spice Girls. You have multiple group texts with your gal pals that are continuously peppered with affirmations about self-care, gratitude for one another and the occasional eggplant emoji.

"9 to 5" by Dolly Parton. You are a uniter, even in your subversion. Everyone loves Dolly, so you know this anthem for working women will bring the house down, all the while sticking it to The Man.

"Truth Hurts" by Lizzo. Your heart is bruised, but you've moved past singing Adele. And you know the line about the Minnesota Vikings will win some howls of approval from the locals.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver. It doesn't matter if you were born in Appalachia or Azerbaijan; at your core is a sweet sentimentality that knows who you are and where you come from. Singing these lyrics might even produce a teardrop in your eye, not to mention a misty taste of moonshine in your throat.

"Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X. You are 9 years old. When you hear those simple, opening cowboy strums, it triggers a Pavlovian response in your little swaying hips. A pleasant tempo keeps the lyrics manageable. On your second turn, go for the BTS remix "Seoul Town Road."

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Most fun karaoke song to sing. Most excruciating karaoke song to hear, if you're not doing the singing. For the love of God, pick something shorter next time.

"Love Shack" by the B-52's. This track cannot be performed half-assed, so you holler yourself hoarse. It has never occurred to you to google the possible meaning of "tin roof rusted."

"To Be With You" by Mr. Big. Like this song, you are an underrated gem. Your happy place is a bunch of people slow-clapping. Stay on your toes for that key change at the end.

"Killing Me Softly" by the Fugees. You are a classy performer and don't mind showing off. You enjoy beckoning some playful crowd participation: "One time, one time … "

"No Scrubs" by TLC. It's girls' night, and the first time you've been out without your kids since September 2019. You're exhausted from picking up other people's messes. Saying "no" and wagging your finger repeatedly feels cathartic.

"Strokin' " by Clarence Carter. You know the world would be a better place if everyone just got a little more nookie. Coors Light in hand, you have absolutely no problem getting up in a stranger's face to ask, "How long has it been since you made love, huh?"

"Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette. As a woman, you cling to this song for its rich irony. Your wife loves it, too.

"Zombie" by the Cranberries. When the world is this heavy, what else can you do but rage? The signature of your e-mail says, "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention."

"Single Ladies" by Beyoncé. Put your hands up! Fantastic song, but it might be time to put down the booze.

"Surface Pressure" (from "Encanto") by Luisa. The anxiety in your life is tick, tick, ticking along. But like Luisa, you are strong like a bull and feel the need to carry everyone else's baggage.

"Love and Happiness" by Al Green. Your friends call you an old soul. You see your life in a minor key. You're content about the choices you've made, but are wise enough to know that even love and happiness is ... complicated.

"Hey Ya!" by OutKast. Someone just performed "Tears in Heaven," so you are here to resuscitate the crowd, stat. This tune will pep up the place instantly.

"Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash. You don't get to rebel that often, so you opt for this tune about an inmate who wishes he could escape confinement after shooting a man in Reno "just to watch him die." But you're a nice guy, you truly are.

"Stay (I Miss You)" by Lisa Loeb. You spent much of your formative years performing spoken word in coffeehouses wearing a flowery flowing dress, a choker necklace and platform shoes. Your ex-boyfriend's flannel from 1994 is still hanging in the back of your closet.

"Kiss" by Prince. This show-stopper never disappoints. Your karaoke game peaked in the '90s with this classic, sung in full falsetto, at Mardi Gras.

"Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks. Uh-oh, someone just threw a beer bottle. You know this quintessential singalong will break up bar fights and have everyone swaying with arms around the shoulders of strangers.

"Closing Time" by Semisonic. Congratulations! Tonight you entertained the crowd and brought good times to all. It's not lost on you that these tender lyrics were actually inspired by childbirth, rather than last call. But before your lungs retire for the night, you send all the revelers home with this classic Minnesota goodbye.