Karaoke. The word conjures all kinds of visions_possible stardom, abject performance terror, or just head-shaking bewilderment. Ten years ago when the Japanese craze had only recently arrived in the U.S., Rob Drew was drawn to the phenomenon as subject of research. What he discovered will fascinate and surprise you, whether you're a student of popular culture or just curious what's going to happen next Saturday when you get up to sing your first song at the corner bar. Karaoke Nights is both a keen observation on the external behavior of deejays, performers, and audience and an intimate portrait of the emotional roller coaster that is the internal life of a karaoke singer. Drew lets you feel just what itOs like to be the performer_agonizing over the song, feeling the nervous anticipation, analyzing your performance. At the same time he provides a probing analysis of the varied roles karaoke plays in popular culture and how it can guide an understanding of Olocal musicO and the relationship of ordinary people to stardom.
This book must rank among the most engaging academic titles in recent memory. Whereas other scholars in the social sciences. . . hide their topic behind oblique language, Drew's prose lays all bare like a longshoreman belting out 'Cracklin' Rose' in a neighborhood bar on a Thursday night. His choice of a topic for his thesis required the same dose of nerve (perhaps chutzpah is a better word) the typical Karaoke participant shows when taking microphone in hand.--Bill Labrie "American Studies International, October 2003, Vol. Xli, No. "