List: Five Wedding Songs that Aren’t Abysmal



loureedbannerEveryone is getting married. I go to roughly 50 weddings a month. I’ve eaten so much cake that I’ve ballooned to over 500 pounds. Luckily, I write for the Internet so I’m still only the 188th-fattest person in my line of work. According to statistics that may as well be true, we spend up to two years of our lives doing various wedding-related activities for other people. That means that by your 50th birthday, you’ve likely heard “Shout” more than the band who sings “Shout.” Of these weddings, some are lovely and gently guided by someone’s fully-realized sense of taste. Others are Cincinnati Bengals-themed.

Let’s just let this information sink in, because it totally happened.

The long and short of it, dear reader, is that if you have any friends at all, you’ve seen a ton of first dances. This is the newly married couple’s chance to give a mission statement to their guests. What kind of couple are we? What kind of couple are we going to be? What is an example of a song that means something to both of us?

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Or they can just pick “Let’s Stay Together” or some shit.

Here’s a list of some decent wedding songs that don’t quite provoke involuntary eye rolling.

I should probably preface this list with the disclaimer that I have never actually seen a first wedding dance that features any of these songs. This is more wishful thinking on my part. I’ve been to many weddings, and it seems extremely likely that I will go to a lot more. It would be nice to see a few of these songs along the way. If you’re about to get married and you feel inspired by this list, feel free to use any of these tracks. Just send me a signed blank check. Don’t worry. I will fill in the amount.

1. Big Star – I’m in Love With a Girl

Sometimes simplicity is key. Alex Chilton is rightfully known as a proto-punk god, but he was also capable of moments of sparse beauty. “I’m in Love With a Girl” is short, sweet and stripped down, but that only makes the sentiment more striking.

2. The Beatles – I Will

Showing up the way it does at the end of Disc 1 of The White Album,” this song is easy to overlook in light of more famous tracks from the same record. That’s a shame. Of the unabashed McCartney love songs, this one ranks among the best. I have technically heard this song at a wedding, as I played it on guitar during my friend’s ceremony, but that isn’t really a first dance, so we can allow it. Who’s making the rules, here? Oh, right. It’s me.

3. The Smiths – Ask

Is playing a Morrissey song at a wedding an inherently bad idea? After all, it’s not as if Mozz has ever been even remotely happy. He famously identifies as asexual, and most Smiths songs would rather drop an Oscar Wilde reference than declare non-ironic love. I choose to interpret “Ask” as a comforting message from lover to lover: Whatever you want, you need only let me know. I’m not here to judge you. I’m here to spend my life with you. If you need something from me, just speak up. It’s kind of sweet, in a way, though the song could just as easily be about various unorthodox sex acts. I choose the former.

4. Lou Reed – Perfect Day

Yes, it’s about heroin. I understand this. Literally every song Lou Reed ever wrote was about heroin, with the exception of “Heroin” (That one was about amphetamines). But isn’t being in love kind of like being on heroin? Your friends can’t understand you, you rarely leave your house, and your heart is constantly speeding up and slowing down. The only difference is that heroin never fills your DVR with episodes of “Hoarders.” Or does it?

It doesn’t.

5. Bob Dylan – If Not For You

Famously acid-tongued Bob Dylan didn’t write too many conventional love songs. In fact, he probably wrote more “hate” songs than anything (or at least complicated/melancholy songs). I can’t remember if this was during Dylan’s Jesus phase or not. If only there was some sort of network that could connect me to various informational sources. Alas, there is not, so I can’t find that out. Let’s assume it’s about secular love, because the alternative would be gross.

This is just a partial list, and I reserve the right to add and subtract at will.

Of course, my girlfriend and I plan to do an exhaustively rehearsed interpretive dance set to Frank Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia,” so we can definitely throw all these songs out the window if need be.

You know the drill: Feed me great wedding songs!

Photo credit: By Man Alive! (Lou Reed Uploaded by Yarl) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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2 comments on “List: Five Wedding Songs that Aren’t Abysmal
  1. Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me To The End Of Love” was written as a wedding song, it is perfect, the old people like it too but they usually don’t get the S&M reference.

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