Welcome to my new musical series for 2021, “30 Days, 30 Songs.” Follow me this year as I blatantly steal this Instagram challenge all in the name of good music and good fun. Every other week, I’ll cover one or two or more topics from the list (see here for a refresher), allowing them to percolate over musical memories, nostalgia, and whatever else comes to mind in the moment. And now, gimme a beat boys to free my soul, I wanna get lost in this rock and roll!
Day 17: A song that you would sing a duet with on karaoke
A song that I would sing as a karaoke duet would be “You’re the One that I Want” from the soundtrack of Grease.
Although, can I just acknowledge my improbable second choice, “Let’s Duet” from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
LOL. I love it.
Anyway. I don’t do karaoke (except for that one time) so really, I could pick just about anything, and I’m not sure it would mean much. “You’re the One that I Want” likely came to mind first because I’ve been listening to one of my movie soundtrack playlists recently, which happens to include Grease. It also include two peoples. And while it’s no “Let’s Duet,” it’s not the worst song I could have picked. Yeah?
I’m well aware that Grease hasn’t exactly aged well over the years. Time, and a couple Broadway revivals, helped turn it into a (now-sometimes-maligned) cultural icon, as I don’t think it tuned many heads when it was first released. But then again. At that time, 1978 was only just a couple decades removed from the “golden” era of the 1950s; so was it any different from all the visual entertainment now that seeks to bring us back those bygone days of the 1990s and early 2000s?
I don’t know where I was going with that train of thought, but I will admit that Grease is a little weird to watch; adults playing high-schoolers, every other line someone speaks invokes some sort of uncomfortable sexual meaning, and the moral of the story is “change yourself so everyone, especially that cute boy, will like you.” It’s not great, I get it.
But I really do like it’s dumb, catchy soundtrack. It’s light, airy, and queasy, like marshmallows or that feeling you get when you’ve had just a tad too much ice cream. (Huh?) And frankly, it’s easy to sing. Except for “There are Worse Things I Could Do.” That’s a tough song. I’ve heard it being vilely butchered, so mad props to Stockard Channing.
Over the course of my short lifetime, Grease has actually playing a not-so-small role in and among all the drivel. My high school staged a (heavily edited) version of the original Broadway musical, and I worked on its wardrobe crew. I was our Sandy’s dresser, who was a really lovely person; and I had a horrible crush on our Danny, who was a real jackass. Somehow though, probably because Sandy was so nice an tolerant, they made the coupling work for the show. And honestly, watching them and the cast perform “You’re the One That I Want” each night was a treat. (I remember having just enough time after getting Sandy into her sleek, show-ending costume to book it up to our auditorium’s balcony to catch the act.) Those kids done good.
Later on in life, I attended more than my share of Grease-themed parties. And I don’t mean just 1950s-themed shindigs; I mean Grease WAS the word all night long. One time, my friends and I even attended a movie theatre showing of Grease, in our own Rydell High costumes and all. Oh, what a time we had! Being silly and singing along with a house packed with other Grease fans was truly a trip.
So yeah, I suppose that if I was stuck doing karaoke and someone really wanted to perform a song with me, “You’re the One that I Want” would be my pick. Never say never, right?