Posted: March 10, 2009 Filed under: Rants, Tips/Advice | Tags: break ups, Coldplay, country cross-over, Dido, drugs, first dance, happy couple, infidelity, listen, lyrics, mass murder, moody pop artist, porn, White Flag, Zero 7
This is something I have been wanting to address for a very long time. This issue has been near and dear to my heart since the first night I stepped onto the bandstand to rock a wedding. The first dance. This moment can be terrifying or exhilarating for the happy couple. Choice makes all the difference. The styles can be as varied as the couples themselves. Some are sweet and touching, some are down and dirty and others are tried and true. From Let’s Get it On to I Wanna Grow Old With You, I’ve seen the gamut. I say if you can bring a tear to this hardened professional’s eye (or make me laugh, for that matter) you’ve done a good job at choosing.
On the subject of laughter however, you want to have people laughing with you, not at you! My biggest and best piece of advice when choosing a first dance song? Listen to the lyrics. All of the lyrics. If this seems like a no brainer to you, good, you are well on your way to a moment that will be memorable for all of the right reasons. If not, then listen up. I will give you some guidelines for song choice that should help you avoid any songs about infidelity, break ups or mass murder.
Listen extra carefully to the lyrics, especially if the song you are considering is sung by a moody pop artist, i.e. Dido, Zero 7, Coldplay or U2. “White Flag” is not a love song, unless your idea of love is crazy stalking. “With or Without You” has too many options, for both of you, and you want to avoid any references to porn and/or drugs. You can do this by paying special attention to the verse, that’s usually where these references are inserted into pop music. Even if the chorus proclaims love and unending desire, you want to be sure these proclamations are directed towards a human being and not a motorcycle, turtle, or humpty-back camel. In fact, avoid any form of the word hump! You are probably on the safer side if you are looking at a country cross-over ballad or anything your parents might have had at their wedding.
OK, another important aspect of a first dance is that you are supposed to actually dance to it. Danceability is a big factor that should inform your decision. For this, there is a sliding scale, directly related to your ability to dance. If you have “Dancing With the Stars” style moves under your belt, or your fiance attended the Alvin Ailey School you are in the clear here. I’m guessing you can throw down to just about anything. For the rest of us however, try dancing to the song before you fall in love with it. Even the most confident person can be shaken by flying solo on a dance floor. At my wedding, people were just not getting the message to join in and my husband and I just kept cracking up. It doesn’t matter if it’s slow or fast as long as you are comfortable doing whatever dance it is.
So in the end, it’s up to you. Be as creative as you want, and mindful of the pitfalls. It is always better if it is a song that means something to the two of you, but if you want some examples (based on experience) of what not to do I’ll give you a few…
- White Wedding, Billy Idol – Yes this song references a wedding, not the kind you want to have.
- I’ll Make Love to You, Boyz II Men – Making love is beautiful, but this song’s almost porn! Maybe it’s those sexy Boyz voices.
- Pretty much all Rolling Stones songs.
- She Will be Loved, Maroon 5 – You’re gonna want to check out that verse…
- Kelly Clarkson, she’s just angry.
- The Sweetest Thing, U2 – not so sweet really.
- Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol – Beautiful song, but if you can hear it without thinking of death you’re a better man than me.
There are a lot of good choices that are off the beaten path, no one wants to be cookie cutter. Some of the first dance highlights of the last few years include…
- Crazy Love, Van Morrison – Classics never die!
- I Would Walk 500 Miles, The Proclaimers – This one is fun for everyone, and has a great message.
- She’s Got a Way, Billy Joel – Again, a classic. More about the bride than the groom though.
- Like I Am, Rascal Flatts – A great and catchy country ballad that we don’t come across too often.
- More Today Than Yesterday, Spiral Starecase – OK, my husband wouldn’t want me to give this one up. It was ours. Retro good times for everyone!