Sep 9, 2009

Chapter Thirteen: Noraebong and Road Trip Games

I never thought I'd see the day, but I've run out of Seoul/Soul song name puns. Ack! That leaves me at a bit of a loss but fear not ... I'll probably think of something else punny to include sooner rather than later.

Today we take a look at the Top 10 Noraebong songs. I know you've all been desperately curious so it's good that you clicked on the blog today. This list is obviously skewed towards music that I like, but I've found that these go over with a variety of people, including Koreans and other foreigners.

There is a bias towards fast songs, because slow ones simply don't get people involved enough and because it's harder to hide your own crappy singing in slow songs. But perhaps they'll make their own list later.


10. Feel Good,Inc: This is a great song in and of itself, but getting some singing, some rapping, and some harmonizing all in one song makes it a great contribution to the Noraebong night.

9. Buddy Holly: This is a song that everyone knows and it's fun to go "ooh-ooh" along with Rivers.

8. Total Eclipse of the Heart: This song's inclusion is probably self evident.

7. Hey Ya: This is a fun song to sing and includes shout out to the ladies and the fellas. And everyone enjoys shaking it like a Polaroid picture.

6. Tainted Love: The 80's don't have a huge representation in Noraebong, at least not songs in English, but this one is great (though hard to find; not every place has it).

5. Mr. Brightside: (You can substitute "Somebody Told Me," "When We Were Young," or any other Killers song for that matter. They all make great Noraebong fodder.

4. Song #2: Fast, loud, and requires lots of jumping.

3. Bohemian Rhapsody: Wayne's World proved that this was an awesome song to rock out too, and the noraebong just confirms it.

2. Take me Out: With a nice slow intro, a crazy change-up from nowhere, and a chorus that was written to be shouted, this is the song I pick most nights as the grand finale.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit: This is the song with everything. It had to overcome some difficult competition, but with slow bits, loud parts, jumping parts, passionate parts, and lots of talk about mosquito and libidos this is the number one song in Noraebong.

Honorable mention: Ghostbusters, Living on a Prayer, Betterman, I Want to Know What Love Is.

Wishlist: The Noraebong book is massive and the Korean songs are updated quite frequently. The English part is maybe 1/10 of the book and the newest songs are still 2-3 years old. But if I could request new songs, these would be amongst the leading contenders.

Rooster, It's Tricky, No Rain, Computer Camp Love, Sex on Fire / On Call, Evil, Level, Alive, White Winter Hymnal


A plethora of long trips has caused some new games to be developed. Continuing with the theme, one of the more interesting is called "Name that National Anthem." Somebody names a song, any song, and the others have to pick the country that it should be the national anthem for. You can give any rationale you like, but you are required to justify it. Obviously, once a country has been listed it is off limits for the rest of that game.

Here are some examples. They seem obvious now but naming a random song and hearing an answer you didn't expect is quite hilarious. If you find yourself on a bus or waiting for a train with an hour or three to kill, I recommend trying this out.

[Most of these should be pretty self evident, but feel free to ask a question in the comments if you want to know. ]

Stand by Your Man (Saudi Arabia)

Hey Jealousy (England)

Hello Goodbye (North and South Korea)

Groove is in the Heart (Holland)

Stayin' Alive (Congo)

Sex and Candy (Thailand)

Monster Mash (Scotland)

Baby One More Time (India)

Shut Up (France)

Don't Look Back in Anger (Germany)

Mad World (Madagascar)

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? (Palestine)

Scar (Cambodia)