If going into a dark room with a group of other people to sing classic hits makes you feel terrified, don't be! Karaoke bars are a super-relaxed way to have fun with your friends in a closed setting — and it's way less intimidating than getting up to sing in front of a crowded bar.
The key to having a fun karaoke night is choosing songs that the majority of people will recognize. Karaoke night isn't the time to show off your love for cool indie bands. (And chances are, the lesser-known songs might not be available to sing, anyway.) Singing cheesy songs is often more fun, too, because there's no pressure to perform them well.
We've rounded up some of the best songs to sing on your next trip to a karaoke bar. Check back often, because we'll keep adding more to the list.
"Lose You To Love Me," Selena Gomez
The singer's latest hit is the perfect song to scream when you're finally over that ex.
"Old Town Road," Lil Nas X
This Gen Z hit surprisingly translates really well to karaoke — mostly because you'll have the whole crowd singing along.
"God Is A Woman," Ariana Grande
It's hard to choose the best hit from Grande's album "Sweetener," but when it comes to belting one out at the bar with strangers, "God Is A Woman" is your best bet.
"Ironic," Alanis Morissette
Really, a good karaoke song can be broken down into two parts: the recognition, and the yelling. "Ironic" nails both of those. Its first few notes and lyrics are unmistakable, and it crescendos to a satisfying belt that allows everyone in the room to get in on the fun.
"Make You Feel My Love," Adele
Sometimes, karaoke calls for a ballad. And when it does, belt out Adele's rendition of Bob Dylan's most poignant song of unrequited love.
"Best of My Love," The Emotions
"Best of My Love" has the best "woah woah" in any song in recorded history. Go wild with it.
"Hey Jude," The Beatles
Just do it so you can get to the "na na na na" part at the end.
"With or Without You," U2
The other patrons in the bar might roll their eyes, but this epic song will give you an opportunity to sing through every tortured, twisted love you've ever experienced.
"Sign of the Times," Harry Styles
With this melancholy song about a changing world, Styles revived the entire classic rock genre.
"I Will Survive," Gloria Gaynor
A second-hand benefit of this song is that you will actually be imbued with the spirit of surviving just about anything. Though we're not entirely sure whether this song would protect you against a zombie apocalypse.
"Soak Up the Sun," Sheryl Crowe
Infectious joy bundled up in song form.
"Like a Prayer," Madonna
Whatever your religious beliefs may be, there's no denying this song is iconic.
"Ring of Fire," Johnny Cash
You can't go wrong with this tried-and-true classic.
"Under the Bridge," Red Hot Chili Peppers
This suggestion comes courtesy of Refinery29's Elena Nicolaou. (Just keep in mind that liking the Red Hot Chili Peppers might just send you to the Bad Place
Serenade bae with this one — or just sing it to your friends.
"Sorry Not Sorry," Demi Lovato
Lovato's new single is already a banger — and you probably already know the words, too.
"Total Eclipse of the Heart," Bonnie Tyler
There's a reason this song is a classic.
"Love On Top," Beyoncé
"Single Ladies" shouldn't be the only Bey song that earns your karaoke love.
"I Want To Break Free," Queen
There's a reason this track is Moriarty's plane-exit song of choice
. It's just as fun to sing with a group as it is to dance to alone in your apartment.
"Shake It Out," Florence + The Machine
Is there any better power ballad to sing at the top of your lungs?
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Taylor Swift
There's a reason people still quote this song today. The lyrics are hard to forget — and easy to sing while you're tipsy.
"Stay," Lisa Loeb
This song is pretty much impossible to mess up.
"So Yesterday," Hilary Duff
"If the light is off, then it isn't on." What early 2000s wisdom.
"The Middle," Jimmy Eat World
Take a mental trip back to middle school with this song — everyone will know the words.
"All of Me," John Legend
If you think John Legend's music shouldn't be butchered at a karaoke bar, please know that plenty of people on the New York City subway are singing this song on a regular basis. And you will be better than most of them.
"She's So High," Tal Bachman
Whip out your best falsetto for the chorus of this late-'90s hit.
"The Longest Time," Billy Joel
Is there any better song for harmonizing with a group of friends?
(Yes, this isn't the original video, but this HIMYM scene gives me all the feels.)
"Don't You Want Me," The Human League
The words are kind of creepy and possessive — we think the song's subject knows what she wants without a man telling her. But it's still such a classic song. And who doesn't want to fake the Human League's British accents while singing this?
"I Want You Back," The Jackson 5
You can't go wrong with this classic feel-good tune.
"I Will Always Love You," Dolly Parton (or Whitney Houston)
Either version of this song will work at karaoke. Serenade your BFFs with this classic tune — even if you're way off-key.
"A Thousand Miles," Vanessa Carlton
This song is so bad. But it's so good to belt out at the top of your lungs.
"Wrecking Ball," Miley Cyrus
Cyrus' breakup hit is the perfect "eff you" anthem to belt out on a girls-night-out karaoke trip.
"She Will Be Loved," Maroon 5
This song is so bad that no one will be able to resist singing along.
"Addicted to Love," Robert Palmer
Bonus points if you do the Robert Palmer girls' signature dance, too.
"Man! I Feel Like A Woman," Shania Twain
It's not a karaoke night without some Shania hits.
"Party in the U.S.A.," Miley Cyrus
This song is terrible! Everyone knows it's terrible! And that makes it a delightful choice for drunk singing.
"Let It Go," Frozen
If your friends insist on singing a Disney song, "Let It Go" is exponentially better than "A Whole New World." (Or, worst of all, "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" from Mulan.)
"All Star," Smash Mouth
Who doesn't want to think of Shrek while singing karaoke?
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun," Cyndi Lauper
For all of your bachelorette party karaoke needs.
"She Bangs," Ricky Martin
Channel your inner William Hung.
"Who Let The Dogs Out," Baha Men
My husband may be the only person whose go-to karaoke song is "Who Let The Dogs Out," but it never ceases to be entertaining.
"Valerie," Steve Winwood
This '80s classic is super fun to belt out with your friends.
"Sweet Caroline," Neil Diamond
Who hasn't drunkenly yelled "So good! So good!" into the chorus of this song?
Hello, it's me — your new go-to karaoke song.
"You're Still The One," Shania Twain
The perfect power ballad to sing with your S.O.
"Drops of Jupiter," Train
Is there any song more worthy of a mocking karaoke performance?
"I Just Had Sex," The Lonely Island feat. Akon
If there are Lonely Island fans in your friend group, they'll look to see which of the group's songs are available to sing. I recently found this surprising option at a karaoke place in Toronto.
This song's lyrics are pretty heteronormative — but maybe that's part of the joke about the guys' general cluelessness?
"Never Let You Go," Third Eye Blind
Everyone knows this song, and no one likes it, making it a perfect karaoke choice.
"Lucky," Britney Spears
No karaoke trip is complete without several Britney Spears choices.
"Dreams," The Cranberries
Take things back to the '90s with this classic tune.
I haven't seen this song at karaoke bars in the United States, but when I found it in Toronto, I flipped. This song is everything. (Mika, I'm sorry for doing your accent such a disservice with my terrible rendition of this beautiful work.)
"The Sign," Ace of Base
Everyone knows the words — and even though this song makes no sense, that doesn't mean it's not fun to sing.
"Centerfold," J. Geils Band
To be fair, the lyrics to this song are pretty sexist/offensive/generally creepy. But if you can put that aside...well, who doesn't start bopping around when this song starts playing?
"Don't You (Forget About Me)," Simple Minds
Whether or not you're a child of the '80s, you'll love singing this hook.
"Super Trouper," ABBA
Somewhere in the crowd, there's you and your friends, belting out this classic ABBA hit.
"Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepsen
So what if no one uses cell phones to make calls anymore? Everyone will join in on singing this one, even if they protest at first.
"Dangerous Woman," Ariana Grande
To ease into the karaoke fun, start off with a song everyone (no matter what age) knows. Most of Ariana Grande's songs lend themselves to karaoke, but everyone will recognize "Dangerous Woman" and want to join in on your rendition.
"New Romantics," Taylor Swift
Swifties and non-Swifties alike will love singing the hits off her 1989 album.
"Cake By The Ocean," DNCE
Everyone from your roommate to your parents will want to sing along to this song.
"What Makes You Beautiful," One Direction
Karaoke buddies from your bro-y college friends to your teen cousins will want to sing this.
"Everytime," Britney Spears
It wouldn't be a karaoke trip without at least one Britney song. Why not throw it back with "Everytime"?
"Yoü And I," Lady Gaga
Even the original version of this song sounds like Gaga's singing it at a bar's open mic night.
"One Thing," One Direction
Okay, so this list is a bit heavy with the 1D. But everyone knows this song.
"Single Ladies," Beyoncé
Everyone will love singing (and dancing) to this one, even the guys.
"Price Tag," Jessie J featuring B.o.B
All of your friends know this song. They may hate it — but if you force them to sing along, they'll be smiling by the end.
"Modern Love," David Bowie
"Modern Love" is perfect for karaoke — even your shy friends will want to join in on the chorus.
"Some Nights," Fun.
Whether you love or hate Fun., there's no better way to bring a group of people together than by singing the opening "Oh, oh" chorus repeatedly.
"Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)," Backstreet Boys
Every '90s kid will love singing Backstreet Boys songs at karaoke night. The backup vocals on this one are perfect for a group performance.
"Dog Days Are Over," Florence + The Machine
Even if you're not a good singer, Florence + The Machine songs are ridiculously fun to perform. You'll have everyone clapping along to the beat with this one.
"Happy Ending," MIKA
MIKA attracts a certain type of fans — not everyone's heard of him, but the people who have are devoted. Literally all of his songs lend themselves to karaoke and you can't go wrong with a classic like "Happy Ending." When you find a friend who loves MIKA, make them your karaoke buddy for life.
"I'm on a Boat," The Lonely Island
Yes, it's cheesy — but everyone knows this song. You'll be singing along by the end of it, even if you weren't the one who added it to the karaoke queue.
"Sugar," Maroon 5
It's almost more fun impersonating Adam Levine's falsetto if you're hilariously off-key.
"Everybody Wants To Rule The World," Tears For Fears
When everyone gets tired of upbeat hits, slow down the mood with this classic, but still fun, option.
"Love Story," Taylor Swift
This is especially fun when the performers are all male (and a few drinks in).
"Save You Tonight," One Direction
Okay, the lyrics of this song are a little problematic — you probably shouldn't think of a romantic interest as someone who needs "saving." But the song is so fun and upbeat that it's a blast to sing with a group.
"Stay With Me," Sam Smith
If you want to show off your singing chops — or just to butcher a Top 40 song — "Stay With Me" is the perfect choice.
"When You Were Young," The Killers
You might not like them now, but you definitely had at least one Killers song on your playlists back in the day. And everyone else did, too.
"I Hate Myself for Loving You," Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
For when your karaoke trip is also a night out to get over your ex, you can't beat this rock classic.
"Girl Crush," Little Big Town
This song isn't as upbeat as most of the others on this list. But sometimes, you just need to belt out a ballad about unrequited love.
"Enjoy The Silence," Depeche Mode
If your friends love the '80s, they'll get a kick out of imitating Depeche Mode's accents in this hit.
"Roar," Katy Perry
Everyone's got a little Katy Perry in them, just waiting to bust out at a karaoke bar.
"Tah Dah," MIKA
Remember what we said about MIKA songs lending themselves to karaoke? This one's almost too perfect.
"Timber," Pitbull ft. Ke$ha
If it makes you scream when it comes on at the club, then rest assured your fellow karaoke go-ers will have a similar reaction.
"Mamma Mia," ABBA
A karaoke song should be as much fun for you as it is for everyone else. This will guarantee that times a thousand.
"Goodbye Earl," The Dixie Chicks
Love. Revenge. Murder. Yelling. This song tells a STORY and you better believe everyone in attendance will be hooked.
"Burning Up," The Jonas Brothers
Celebrate the Jonas Brothers' reunion by belting one of their original classics.