Songs I Would Perform If I Could Sing in Front of People

I have a singing voice that comes and goes. When I’m alone (and not being recorded,) that is when I’ve got a halfway decent voice. But the moment another person comes into the room is when my voice clenches up and Ursula the sea witch takes hold.

ursula
Whatever goes on in my voice box when another person enters the room. (via GIPHY)

Like many humans who enjoy music, I’ve imagined myself (and attempted) performing some of my favorite songs. While I’m only sure of the outfit and look I would achieve, the talent is something that doesn’t quite come as easily.

So I’ve compiled a list of 15 songs that I would sing if I had the voice (or, perhaps, simply the confidence) to pull it off.

1. “Mother of Pearl” Roxy Music

To me, this would be the perfect tune to croon and tickle the ivories to in a smoky bar or lounge. (That is, if I had the ability to play the piano in the first place.) At the very least, I could learn the xylophone part.

2. “Escuela de calor” Radio Futura

I’ve always loved the idea of breaking out this song in the midst of a party. To me, it’s always had that perfect “Get up and get on the dance floor” spirit that matches the level of a good party but isn’t too overboard.

3. “Five Years” David Bowie

Simple, powerful, and always puts me in the moment. No fuss needed to make it any more moving than it already is.

4. “Secondhand News” Fleetwood Mac

I always imagined myself performing this with a male singer at an outdoor music festival. It’s a sunny afternoon, but the wind is blowing every now and again as is evident by the fringe of my Stevie Nicks shawl swaying in the breeze. (Only I might want to consider ditching the shawl because it’s a little too on-the-nose.)

5. “Proud Mary” Tina Turner

Is this not a given? I feel like this is on everyone’s “To Perform” list. Even so, here it is on my “To (Hypothetically) Perform” list.

6. “Prisencolinensinainciusol” Adriano Celentano

Yes, this is that song written in fake English that went viral years ago. I still think it’s a perfect song for a flash mob – which is also a viral fad from several years ago.

7. “Lover, Lover, Lover” Leonard Cohen

When I first heard this song I was staying with a family friend in Paris. I had gone to bed early, likely in order to get up early and do touristy things the next morning. Her roommate – a skateboarding, French illustrator – came home late that night singing this song at the top of his lungs. Although his voice was, in my opinion, perhaps worse than mine, I somehow didn’t mind because he followed up his rendition by playing the Leonard Cohen recording on his computer. So then I fell asleep listening to one of my brand new favorite songs.

And now I’d love to release some of my residual feelings of heartbreak into a performance of this gut-wrenching break-up song.

8. “Better Man” Pearl Jam

I am very anti-domestic violence and very pro-Pearl Jam. Not only would this song represent my beliefs, but it would also be perfect for my range, which I’m pretty sure only stretches from Eddie Vedder to Nico.

9. “No creo” Shakira

Many of you don’t know about the glory that is ’90s Shakira. This live, unplugged version of “No creo”, in my opinion, is absolute perfection, and it would be a dream to be able to perform my own rendition of it.

10. “Laid” James

I could never hit those high notes, but if I could, I’d be singing about talking to my therapist and messing around with gender roles.

11. “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul” Meat Loaf

Although I was never super into Rocky Horror Picture Show*, but I’ve always enjoyed this song in particular. They say that Meat Loaf was chosen to sing this one because he could sing the lyrics quickly and still be understood. THE MORE YOU KNOW.

12. “Only You” Yazoo

This is another one of those songs that really puts me in the moment. When I’m alone and hitting the notes, I think of nothing but a poignant scene from a John Hughes film that never was. It’s inspired me to write a screenplay around it, but so far the story just hasn’t come to fruition.

13. “Super Trouper” ABBA

Look, you either love them or you hate them, but I, for one, love “Super Trouper”. Granted, I might want to keep this one within the confines of the coin noraebang.

14. “Common People” Pulp

I haven’t even managed to sing this song at noraebang, simply because I can never find anyone else who knows this song. Since my voice is terrible in front of people, (especially in noraebang, where you normally have to scream to be heard,) I find it better to sing with another person. Based on experience, it can get super awkward when you’re singing a song at noraebang that no one else knows – badly. So it would be nice to perhaps do the Britpop faves some justice by singing their song decently.

15. “Somebody to Love” Queen

Pretty much any song in which Freddie Mercury really belts it out is a challenge for even the most gifted of singers. So if I were to one day wake up with the late Queen singer’s impeccable sense of pitch, this would be the song I’d show it off with.


*When I was in high school I went to a showing, where a guy grabbed my head and licked my forehead. Kinda put me off the showings for quite a while.

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