Every one of us, at some point, comes to the conclusion that it is a good idea to karaoke Bonnie Tyler’s seminal hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Every one of us is, objectively, wrong. Unless you happen to be Bonnie Tyler herself, or at least a Welsh woman who’s been a smoker since she was twelve, you’re probably going to butcher this beloved ballad. Unless of course you’re lucky enough to be singing the male part on the song, in which case you could just as easily be a particularly intelligent parakeet or a Speak & Spell.
But let’s just say you decide to head-down-power-through a rendition of it, in public, at your local karaoke joint. Hey, good for you! Just in case you think it’s going to be a walk in the karaoke park (it’s not), here’s a run-down of what it’s actually like to karaoke this song in public.
—–[A hush falls over the crowd as the well-known piano intro begins. A few people cheer. Far more of them gasp in horror at what is likely to come.]
Every now and then I get a little…[this is the point at which you realize with abject terror that you don’t know any of the words to this song. You never did know any of the words. Nobody knows the words. Bonnie Tyler doesn’t know the words. The words could be in an arcane dialect of Klingon for all you know, because you most definitely do not know the words.]
Every now and then I get a little ol’ shimmy in my shimmy makin’ shimmy da doo[just fake it, man. Nobody’s gonna know the difference. The actual words on the screen in front of you inexplicably fade out of focus every time you try to read them. This is what you’ve quite literally signed up for.]
(Turn around…)[Two words. Two fucking words you have to sing. I’m reciting Shakespeare in frickin’ Latin for all I goddamn know, and you’re singing the lyrical equivalent to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I hate you so much right now.]
Every now and then I get a little bit something cuz of all those years that did lots of stuff…[I’ve entered one of the circles of hell, haven’t I. If I look up, will I see Satan’s ass dangling above me right now?]
Every now and then I fall apart
(Turn around, bright eyes)[Oh damn! I’m feeling it! I’m really feeling it, you guys! I think I might have the hang of this! I’ll really belt out this next line in the hopes that maybe people will forget the clusterfuck that was the first verse]
EVERY NOW AND THEN I FALL APART!!!
EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET A[Fucking shitballs fuck fuck fuck I’m lost again. Totally lost. Shit. Why you gotta build me up like that just to knock me down again, Bonnie? I was all ready to do you proud.]
Every now and then I get a really big booger, I can feel chillin’ up in my schnozz
Every now and then I herma derma lerma plerma da derrrrrmmm[At this point you’re just letting the right side of your mouth go slack, producing a sizeable puddle of drool down your shirt and on the floor of the karaoke stage, as you zone out entirely and start daydreaming about the head of bitchin’ hair being all cute in front of you at the bar. Does he think you’re cute too? Is he horrified by how badly you’re mangling this song? Do you think he’d make out with you later? Oh shit, is it my turn to sing again?]
(Turn around, bright eyes)[Just trade parts with me, jerk! I could train a dog to sort of generally bark out the vague essence of the syllables you’re producing, that’s how easy it is! This is so ridiculous, I cannot believe I’ve got to recite the goddamn Old Testament here and you’re just jerking off in the corner like a fucking…]
AND I NEED YOU NOW TONIGHT[NEVERMIND]
AND I NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER[I TAKE IT ALL BACK]
AND IF YOU ONLY HOLD ME TIGHT[THIS IS THE BEST SONG EVER]
WE’LL BE HOLDING ON FOREVER[AND I AM THE BEST SINGER WHO HAS EVER SUNGED IT]
AND WE’LL ONLY BE MAKING IT RIGHT
CUZ WE’LL NEVER BE WRONG…[I am literally about to blow peoples’ brains out their asses right now. Hold on to your seats, y’all, lest your brains try to leave your asses!]
Together we can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time[The entire bar, neighboring houses, greater metropolitan area, and northern hemisphere join you in high-pitched singing “ALL OF THE TIIIIIIIME!”]
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO AND I’M ALWAYS IN THE DARK
WE’RE SHOOTING GUNS AND POWDER KEGS AND SPARKIN’ SOME SPARKS
I FUCKING NEED YOU TONIGHT (BOOM)[You drop the beat so hard the foundations of the building crack, the city inspector shows up, condemns the building as unfit for patrons and escorts everybody out, except you, because you just dropped that beat so hard]
FOREVER’S GONNA START TONIGHT[Where you at now, Mr. Turn Around? Did I leave you in my goddamn karaoke dust? Are you eating humble karaoke pie? What’s it taste like? Because I took a little lick before I gave it to you and it tastes DELICIOUS.]
FOREVER’S GONNA START TO…
[You bring it way down. Everyone is sobbing uncontrollably at the sheer emotion you’re exuding.]
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there’s only love in the dark[No, stop it, karaoke partner. Don’t try to sing this part with me. Where did you learn to harmonize, the Drew Barrymore School for the Completely Tone Deaf? Knock it off.]
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart[You and the trained monkey you’ve been singing alongside take deep, proud bows in front of your adoring audience. Roses and women’s underwear are tossed on stage toward you. The karaoke DJ dramatically closes his laptop and announces “THAT’S IT. IT’S OVER. MY CAREER AS A KARAOKE DJ HAS REACHED ITS ZENITH.” You beam proudly, because you did it. You really did it. It was touch and go there for a while, but goll dangit, you made it through. “It can’t be done!” The naysayers naysaid. “It’s just too difficult!” Well you sure showed them, sort of, didn’t you?!] [The stormy instrumental interlude begins to play, and it slowly dawns on you that you’re only half way through the song. Half. Of the fucking. Way. The sheer weight of this realization begins to settle down on your shoulders, hefty and awkward like a garbage bag full of pudding. Oh god, there’s even a key change coming up, isn’t there. That’s too much. You can’t handle it.
You pitch your mic into the ground, kick a speaker out of your way, and sprint out the door, never to be heard from again.]
–Katie Sisneros has absolutely attempted to karaoke this song. On more than one occasion.