Photo: Katie Swyers

The top 10 throwback karaoke tracks that clapback every time

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By Maggie Macintosh

If only I could find my iPod Nano, Walkman or karaoke machine to honour my puberty playlists…

Thankfully, karaoke bars are everywhere and double as musical time capsules. They often have booklets that list thousands of hits, which makes choosing a bop super overwhelming. To help you choose, I made a comprehensive list of tunes for stress-free karaoke!

(And on another note, our masthead also belted out a couple…)

“Where is the Love?” – Black Eyed Peas

We all hate to love the Black Eyed Peas and love to hate them. And for good reason—everything went downhill after “I Gotta Feeling.” But hey, their golden years were as golden as it gets. Had “Where is the Love?” been released today, the kids would call it “woke.” This song from 2003 reminds me of the dozens of hours I spent watching lyric videos on YouTube growing up. Also, fun fact: Justin Timberlake is featured in this song. It’s a common misconception that Fergie sings the soft pre-chorus.

Every single ABBA song in existence

“Angel Eyes.” “Dancing Queen.” “Mamma Mia.” “Money Money Money.” “Waterloo.”  There’s a reason their album’s called Gold: Greatest Hits. ABBA is Sweden’s greatest accomplishment—besides Ikea, and the 480 days of paid parental leave! Needless to say, no ABBA song should be left unsung at any karaoke bar. ABBA makes me reminiscent of the chunky speaker system I grew up with in my living room, and the dance parties my little sister, my mom and I had. Also, the innocence of weekday underwear.

“Every time We Touch” – Cascada

Today, when I hear the intro to “Every time We Touch” my heart beats just as fast as it did when I was jumping to the beat with my gal pals during Much Video Dances.  With my friends by my side and Cascada blasting from the speakers, the sweaty gym filled with kids on the cusp of puberty felt like a safe haven. This 2007 karaoke song is a real work-out for the lungs, but it’s best sung as loud as humanly possible.

“Beautiful Soul” – Jesse McCartney

I understood what it meant to like like boys the first time a blonde, blue-eyed, baby-faced Jesse McCartney appeared on Family Channel. I wanted to be cruising down the highway with his teenage friends and I most definitely wanted to be in the pool scene. I promise you the experience of belting out “Beautiful Soul” during karaoke is enhanced 100 million per cent if the lyrics are overlaid on the original 2004 music video.

“American Boy” – Estelle (feat. Kanye West)

A wise man once said, “This a number one champion sound.” This middle-school banger by Estelle and Kanye brings me right back to the glory days of the Nano. Since it starts with the letter A, it was always the first song I saw on my tiny black-and-white screen when I opened up the songs tab. Select this upbeat 2008 jam for karaoke and you’re guaranteed to feel both invincible and nostalgic for the Nano.

“I Miss You” – Blink-182

You know that cool role model you always looked up to as a tween? The one who was at least two years older than you, always seemed authentic as f*ck and had the best music taste? For me, that was my oldest cousin Julian—who, for the record, is still the coolest dude I know. I only saw Jules about once a year since he grew up in Los Angeles, but when I saw him, he always gave me the scoop on the best songs. He loved Blink-182, so naturally, I too came to love Blink-182. This 2003 hit is the perfect karaoke song if you want to reminisce on your “rebellious” and “alternative” pop punk days. Don’t blink twice, pick this song at karaoke!

“No Scrubs” – TLC

TLC taught me everything I know about dating: Don’t chase anyone who makes you cry (“Waterfalls”), you have to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else (“Unpretty”) and don’t EVER trust a scrub (“No Scrubs”). This trio of badass women is a karaoke throwback like no other. Queue up this 1999 song with your gal pals.

“Complicated” – Avril Lavigne

It’s emotional as hell. This 2002 song has the catchiest chorus ever written. And it’s by Avril, so of course it made the cut. I am so thankful I grew up during the era of Avril because I can always count on a laugh, even if I just think about her influence on a young, impressionable Maggie Macintosh. I took up skateboarding because of her and my fashion choices suffered greatly—from loose ties to army pants, thick eyeliner to pink streaks.

“Together Again” – Janet Jackson

This 1997 track at karaoke can cure anything—a bad day? The common cold? You name it! This song is pure magic and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to omit from your playlist. As I listened to this track on the bus ride home from grade school, I had to resist the urge to grapevine.

“Love in This Club” – Usher (feat. Young Jeezy)

Last and definitely least, but still necessary to include because Usher was somehow as much a part of growing up in the early 2000s as watching Kim Possible. These lyrics are trash and just plain creepy. Regardless, this 2008 song is an iconic karaoke jam. We recommend to sing this song ironically and sing it loud at karaoke. I find it hard to believe we used to slow dance to this song at public school dances? Gross.

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