Some members of Generation Z – or, as the Oxford Dictionary defines it: “the generation reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century” – actually have parents who were born after 1971, the year that modern karaoke was invented. Despite this shocking statistic, today’s teens and twenty-somethings have still managed to embrace karaoke… and it just might have something to do with the great singalong options available.
Here are ten instantly iconic karaoke songs that perfectly represent Gen-Z:
1. ABCDEFU - GAYLE
At the age of 18, Nashville singer-songwriter, GAYLE, famously took to TikTok (the first sign of Gen-Z canon) to ask for new music ideas from her followers: “Comment anything and I'll try my best to turn it into a song" … and that's exactly what happened. The result? The blisteringly catchy "ABCDEFU" is a foul-mouthed, pop-punk kiss-off track for the 21st century.
Sing ABCDEFU karaoke here.
2. Drivers License – Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo’s devastating performance of this peak 21st-century ballad took the world by storm. Her 2021 album, Sour, featuring inspiration from some of the great female songwriters of the 1990s (Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani), is jam-packed with hits that resonated with Gen-Z – but it’s “Drivers License” that spoke the loudest, becoming one of the most perfect slow-tempo karaoke singalongs in years.
Sing Drivers License karaoke here.
3. As It Was - Harry Styles
Even in One Direction’s heyday, we all knew that the moppy-haired Harry, with his dimpled grin and flamboyant outfits, would do the best as a solo artist. And he did. Having released three critically acclaimed albums since 2017, Styles’ most recent, Harry’s House, with its lead single “As It Was”, is a choice bop that features prominently in just about every single TikTok video in existence. Now that’s the power of Gen-Z.
Sing As It Was karaoke here.
4. Bury A Friend - Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish, Gen-Z royalty, has said that “Bury A Friend” completely set the tone for every other song on her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? This makes sense considering the eclectic elements featured on the mammoth 2020 record – it’s goth meets R&B meets synthpop with a sprinkle of industrial electronica. Eilish moves the needle better than just about any other 20-year-old musician working today.
Sing Bury A Friend karaoke here.
5. Old Town Road - Lil Nas X
Some tracks were just made to be karaoke songs. Not literally, of course, but the insane popularity of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus – father of Gen-Z icon, Miley Cyrus), including the iconic music video, cemented it as a bona fide hit for audiences of every age and musical taste. It’s also Gen-Z personified because it blends genres, breaks barriers, destroys taboos… and it’s just unapologetically campy and catchy.
6. Blinding Lights - The Weeknd
“Blinding Lights” was released in late 2019, just before the worldwide pandemic shut down the dancefloors and nightclubs of the world. Still, Gen-Z responded favorably to the track’s retro-inspired synths and Abel Tesfaye’s slick vocals, resulting in countless TikTok parodies and tributes. It’s a proper singalong track for post-COVID karaoke fans.
7. Kings and Queens - Ava Max
An absolute banger of a power pop track that also happens to be an anthem of female empowerment? We love to see it! Ava Max’s 2020 hit, “Kings and Queens”, leans heavily on electronic synths and elements of glam rock, not to mention a sampling of (karaoke favorite) Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”. And with lyrics like, “Disobey me, then baby, it’s off with your head” – no wonder it gets all the girls to the front of the stage.
Sing Kings and Queens karaoke here.
8. Dynamite – BTS
Trying to explain the global influence of K-Pop to Gen-Z audiences could take days, weeks, months…And BTS, arguably the biggest boy band in the world, are masters at tapping into that cultural zeitgeist with their androgynous looks and soulful vocals – and nowhere in their catalog is that influence stronger than on their 2020 capital-M Mega hit, “Dynamite”. You can’t NOT sing along.
9. Yonaguni - Bad Bunny
Reggaeton's prince, Bad Bunny, is a major draw to today's audiences because he manages to successfully adopt a typically Gen-Z lifestyle: equally extroverted and flashy, yet massively chill and prone to disappearing from the spotlight to recharge. With the music video for his trap-heavy 2021 hit, “Yonaguni”, Bunny and his gender-variant behavior are on full display, perfectly embodying a new type of masculinity for an audience that cares less and less about labels.
10. Dance Monkey - Tones and I
With a music video currently nearing 2 billion views on YouTube, there’s no denying the global influence of Australian singer-songwriter Toni Watson, a.k.a. Tones and I. “Dance Monkey” became an instant hit with Gen-Z audiences in 2019, thanks in part to Watson’s squeaky vocals and catchy lyrics – including a chorus that begs to be sung out loud.
Sing Dance Monkey karaoke here.
There you have it! Ten of the most perfect karaoke tracks that best represent the Gen-Z experience. How many can you and your friends try on your next trip to the stage?