1. It’s Janis, whose twang is super fun to imitate, but it’s not Legendary-Singing-Superstar-Janis Joplin, whose voice is magic, like smoke coming from a match that burnt out years ago.
2. It’s not as if you’re trying to crank out some “Me and Bobby McGee” or “Piece of My Heart” on that two-penny voice of yours, which, if it’s anything like mine, sounds like a cow mooing, even on your best singing voice day.
3. It’s a funny song. Especially if you say, “I’d like to do a song of great social and political import” as it’s starting, just like she does on the recording.
4. That recording was made only two days before her death (!!!), a terribly sad but fun fact you can share with your friends at the bar when they ask you what song you picked.
5. If you want to be a real fucking show off, you can throw in how your second karaoke song, Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay,” was also recorded mere days before he died (by way of plane crash). Oh and also, Janis become JANIS shortly after watching Otis perform live. His mesmerizing writhing and passion on stage would soon influence her own.
6. “Mercedes Benz” is a short song, clocking in at just under a minute and a half. That means you won’t be up there forever trying to improvise something, dear god anything not-embarassing during a long instrumental break, bopping around waiting for the lyrics to start again.
7. Seriously, you don’t realize how many of your favorite songs have insufferably long instrumental breaks until you try to sing one at karaoke.
8. It’s a little obscure, but “Mercedes Benz” is the easiest song to learn because the lyrics are so repetitive. It’s got a cadence that’s on beat with one in the auditory memory of literally everyone on this planet. All your fellow bar mates, at least those not combing through songs trying pick out their own tune, will join you in a singalong by the last verse.
9. You feel a kinship with Janis, a wild, angry, needy, ugly girl with addiction and impulse issues, and an unshakeable will to see the world no matter how bad it got, and a strength of self that was her true super power but that she was only just starting to listen to and figure out how to control before she died. She didn’t get a chance though, and that still stings a little bit.
10. She’d probably really like your third karaoke song pick, “Jump In The Line.” OK! I believe you!
11. Like Janis in the song, you also don’t have a Mercedes-Benz, could use a new color TV, and would like the lord to buy you a night on the town, an evening of which would no longer involve alcohol and drugs.
12. Because, unlike Janis, you (wild, angry, needy, ugly girl) were granted the chance to change.
13. And you took it. Just like you’re taking this Uber ride home now, karaoke complete. It’s not a Porsche. It’s not a Benz. It’s not even yours. But it’s safe and so are you.