Is it even a karaoke night if you don't mildly embarrass yourself in front of your friends? Or find yourself utterly appalled by that one person who swears she "can't sing" and then suddenly belts out a Whitney Houston classic like it's nobody's business? You may not ever be able to avoid either situation, but you can update your list of go-to's with the best new karaoke songs of 2019, below. Because who likes to play it safe, anyways?
"CVS Bag" - John Mayer
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John Mayer was so bored over the holidays that he created a perfectly dumb song called "CVS Bag," which also happens to be an A-plus karaoke jam. Make sure you have enough phone battery because you're going to need to play the video while belting out lyrics like, "CVS baggggg on the table / CVS bag, you're all that I have? CVS, mostly snacks and a charger cable." I wish I was kidding.
"Watermelon Sugar" - Harry Styles
Say "watermelon sugar" five times, then do Harry Styles' "Watermelon Sugar" as a follow-up to "CVS Bag." You have to wear Styles-esque bell-bottoms to really set the mood.
"What If I Never Get Over You?" - Lady Antebellum
Lady A stans will appreciate your rendition of "What If I Never Get Over You," which is essentially the 2019 version of "Need You Now." Singing it is therapeutic, especially when you're trying to leave all of your exes in 2019.
"Circles" - Post Malone
Leave it to Posty to give us the opportunity to put the entire bar in their feels while somberly bobbing their heads as you sing, "Seasons change and our love went cold / Feed the flame 'cause we can't let go / Run away, but we're running in circles."
"Motivation" - Normani
Nobody's allowed to sing "Motivation" unless they have the dance moves (please refer to the music video) to go with it. Sorry, I don't make the rules.
"Slide Away" - Miley Cyrus
Fans claim Miley Cyrus is shading Liam Hemsworth in her new single "Slide Away" ("Move on, we're not 17 / I'm not who I used to be / You say that everything changed / You're right, we're grown now), and her VMAs performance pretty much solidified them when she switched up the lyrics from "You're right, we're grown now" to "You're right, I'm grown now." It's an excellent karaoke song to belt out when you've just gone through a breakup, or just want to celebrate some good ol' new Miley.
"Boys" - Lizzo
Scene: It's winding towards the end of Hot Girl Summer, you just put on your favorite LBD for a night out with your girlfriends, and you arrive at the karaoke bar with precisely two minutes to pick a song while your friends order you a drink. Your go-to? Lizzo's "Boys." Suddenly, the entire bar is lit and dancing along to lyrics like, "Baby, I don't need you / I just wanna freak you / I heard you a freak, too / What's two plus 2two?" Then everybody remembers you as that bitch at the karaoke bar. Manifest.
"Señorita" - Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes
I love it when you call me Señorita, and also pretend we're as sexy as Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. If you and your S.O. are feeling really steamy, you can almost-kiss at the end of the song and ignite a fiery rage across the internet about why you simply...nudged noses. What I'm trying to say here is that this is a great karaoke duet.
"Higher Love" - Kygo and Whitney Houston
If you're feeling nostalgic for Whitney Houston, the woman who practically invented karaoke music, Kygo honored the legend and remixed her cover of Steve Winwood's 1986 "Higher Love" into a modern dance version. It's the perfect pick for that friend who claims she "can't sing" and has "never taken vocal lessons." ...Okay, Susan.
"GIRL" - Maren Morris
We don't deserve Maren Morris and her 2019 album, Girl, which includes her lead single of the same title that's basically a big "f you" to anybody who has made you feel less than perfect just the way you are. If you want to take out some much-needed anger at the patriarchy...this one's waiting for you with the mic.
"The Greatest" - Lana Del Rey
On the other hand, "The Greatest" by none other than Lana Del Rey is for all of the Sad Girls™ who want to slow it down and put everybody in their feels, reminiscing on those sweet summer days that always seem better in our memories. "I miss New York and I miss the music / Me and my friends, we miss rock and roll / I want shit to feel just like it used to / And, baby, I was doing nothing the most of all."
"If I Can't Have You" - Shawn Mendes
One listen to "If I Can't Have You" and you'll have the lyrics memorized without even having to look at the screen. After all, aren't the best karaoke performances the ones where you're dancing around the room like nobody's watching? The short answer: Yes.
"Never Really Over" - Katy Perry
This is a tough one, but if you can belt out the "Two years, and just like that / My head still takes me back" high note you will officially earn your title as Karaoke Queen...then the rest of your friends can go home. I'd like to think Katy Perry is talking about John Mayer in "Never Really Over," but that brings back memories of a non-single John Mayer, and they're not exactly great for the rest of us who plan to marry him.
"Throw It Back" - Missy Elliott
If you want to impress all of the people in the room, cover Missy Elliott's newest single, "Throw It Back," then take cues from her VMAs performance and go into back-to-back throwbacks (no pun intended!) like "Work It" and "Pass That Dutch." After that, it's game over for everyone.
"Lover" - Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift's "Lover" exudes a gentleness we haven't seen in years from Swift, which is probably what makes the song so charming. Serenade your partner to it during date night, but please, for all of us, do not select it on a first date at the karaoke bar.
"Old Town Road" - Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
...But if we are talkin' first dates, you can 100 percent choose "Old Town Road" to jam to, especially if you have a Sagittarius in the room. By the end of the song, you'll both be cracking up and probably won't be able to stop.
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Rachel Epstein is an editor at Marie Claire, where she writes and edits culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also manages the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game, finding a new coffee shop, or analyzing your cousin's birth chart—in no particular order.
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