If I followed any random group of young Koreans to a karaoke room in the late 2000s, I would bet my bottom dollar that this song would find its way into the rotation before the end of the night.
Loner was, and is, somewhat of a rite of passage for karaoke excursions. The song’s lyrics, spat out at the speed of sound (start listening at 1:48), demanded impeccable pronunciation and accurate mouth movements that would often leave the inebriated karaoke singer little more than a blubbering wreck halfway through the chorus—to the rest of the room’s great amusement. Loner was the song people picked if they felt especially brave, or when they wanted to bring the atmosphere of the room up a notch or two.
Growing up among Korean-American friends, karaoke was a big deal, and it was our go-to after-school activity when we could all find the time to get together. Invariably, someone would reserve Loner; more often than not, that someone would be me, drunk on my own power (among other substances). I never would successfully finish singing this song, but the joy comes in the attempt—and isn’t that the whole point of karaoke, anyway?