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 It is still kind of bizarre that an emotion as strong as grief over the loss of loved ones can produce music that brings people together in completely different, life-celebrating situations. | Photo: Omar Lopez (Unsplash)
It is still kind of bizarre that an emotion as strong as grief over the loss of loved ones can produce music that brings people together in completely different, life-celebrating situations. | Photo: Omar Lopez (Unsplash)
Anna Marie Hradecká -

TOP 5 Inappropriate Wedding Songs

Summer is the time of holidays, heat and... weddings. And what would a proper wedding be without music? However, it's not always possible to create a wedding playlist that's universally pleasing – and appropriate. Probably few would think of choosing something like "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins as a song for the bridal walk, or AC/DC's classic "Highway To Hell" as an accompaniment to the couple's walking down the aisle. How about U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" for the newlyweds' first dance? Probably not. But you might be surprised how many couples choose for one of their major rites of passage seemingly "harmless" songs whose lyrics aren't nearly as romantic and "happily-ever-after" as one would expect (maybe because no one listens to the lyrics, after all). Let's take a look at the TOP 5 very inappropriate wedding songs.

1. Every Breath You Take

One of the greatest classics. Many people don't know that this song, which can serve well as an exercise in chord breakdowns, is not Sting's alone, but forms part of The Police's Synchronicity (1983) album. Besides the fact that Sting still performs this song with surprising relish at his solo concerts (as a clear indicator of the show's ending), the song had its revival in the 90s thanks to Puff Daddy and Faith Evans as "I'll Be Missing You".

But back to the original. If you think the lines "Every breath you take/Every move you make/Every bond you break/Every step you take/I'll be watching you" display pure romance and almost canine devotion, then no. No, and not again. As Sting himself has said many times, when writing the lyrics, he was thinking about "Big Brother", the system that follows you every step of the way – and also about stalking: nothing romantic and caring, but a simple restriction of personal freedom.

2. Hallelujah

The song, first released on the 1984 album Various Positions, is probably one of the most played songs at jam sessions, "give-me-money" busking shows and – wedding parties, right after "Hit The Road Jack". And a note for practising musicians – you can use this song to work on your fingerpicking technique, in this case, in 6/8 time signature. However, I don't know who came up with the idea that waltz automatically equals romance.

If you also find yourself confused about which verse and which words come next when singing along, you're not entirely to blame – there have reportedly been almost 180 versions of the lyrics, not to mention countless covers of the song. Millennials might know best Rufus Wainwright's version, as featured in the cartoon Shrek – hence, perhaps, the connection to weddings and love transcending beauty stereotypes, class or race, as well as donkey monologues and the wickedness of magical hags with wands.

The text oscillates somewhere between liturgy and the low human struggle to find a balance in a relationship between two different personalities, which often turns out violent – and certainly not always hopeful. It's fine not to be overly delusional, but let's face it: at a wedding, you don't want to think about the "for worse" part at all. Still, "Hallelujah" is a staple of newlyweds' first dances. After all, who would refuse to waltz with a princess, even to melancholic and disillusioned lyrics?

3. Marry You

If you are choosing the songs for your wedding playlist solely by the title, and you don't care about the rest of the lyrics because you are sure it's going to be highly romantic, Bruno Mars and his cheesy Las Vegas hit might throw a spanner in the works. This sugar-sweet song abounds with makeshift chapels, fake Elvises, and only superficially committed frolicking in bedsheets with a sexy date from not long ago.

So later, amidst your wedding brouhaha, you might appreciate that no one is paying attention to the lyrics. Otherwise, a superstitious auntie of yours would certainly give you a hard time for choosing a song about a hasty "just married" situation backed by a lavish party ("It's a beautiful night, we're looking for something dumb to do"), which turns into a "just embarrassed" one early in the morning ("If we wake up and you wanna break up, that's cool").

4. Tears In Heaven

The fact that Eric Clapton wrote the song after a series of tragic events, culminating infamously in the death of his four-year-old son by falling out of a window, doesn't stop the wedding couples from choosing it for their enamoured sway across the dancefloor. Maybe that's the good news – that songs, unlike so many other things, will transcend and outlive us, that giving things new contexts is acceptable and often even healing in culture. However, it is still kind of bizarre that an emotion as strong as grief over the loss of loved ones can produce music that brings people together in completely different, life-celebrating situations.

5. The One I Love

One would think that this R.E.M. hit could not be a lovesong, since the person mentioned in the lyrics, supposedly a loved one, is referred to as "a simple prop to occupy my time". But perhaps because of the lyrical minimalism (Michael Stipe himself said about the song that he likes to stay open to interpretation) and almost meditative repetition of the first verse: "This one goes out to the one I love,"  the melancholic, dark song became a love ballad, often played as the newlyweds' first dance. What can we say, a story without a twist is usually boring, but at a wedding, a higher dose of sweet naivety and optimism is allowed.

And which song would you definitely not want to hear at your wedding? Let us know in the comments!

Tagy Every Breath You Take Sting Tears In Heaven Eric Clapton leonard cohen Hallelujah wedding svatební playlist

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Anna Marie Hradecká
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