first dance

Two things you should know about me:

  1. I love music.
  2. I’m going through this strange Ted Mosby phase right now where I’m in love with the idea of love, and as such have been thinking about marriage.

So lately I’ve begun thinking about what song I would like to be played for the first dance at my wedding. (Date and partner are TBD, but don’t worry—YOU’RE TOTALLY INVITED AND THE OPEN BAR WILL ALLOW SHOTS!)

Here are my current Top Five, in no particular order. It’s my hope that my wife will dig the same music as me. Which is why you won’t find any pop country on here.

Ben Folds – The Luckiest: Years ago, when I first thought about this topic, this song was almost immediately crowned my frontrunner. It’s so beautiful. Every time I hear it I get chills. I got to see Folds play this song live on Valentine’s Day Eve 2009 and dedicate it to his wife, who was back home in New York. I bet anytime she gets upset with him he can just play it for her and before she knows it they’re sensually making out. But my asshole brother used this for his wedding song, so I feel like it’d be redundant if I did. Then our wives would fight with each other about whether which one of us is “The Luckiest.”

The National – Slow Show: This jam is about frontman Matt Berninger’s wife, and I really adore it for its chorus and bridge. The chorus makes me think of what I envision marriage to be like: meeting your wife at home at the end of the day, and doing everything you can to make her laugh and to keep her happy. The bridge goes, repeatedly: “You know I dreamed about you, for 29 years before I saw you? You know I dreamed about you; I missed you for 29 years.” HIS WIFE IS THE GIRL OF HIS DREAMS, YOU GUYS! Only problem is there’s no way I’ll be married by 29.

The Pogues – Love You ‘Til The End: If I get married it’s like 50/50 I’ll get divorced, but if I love a person enough to take the dive with them, then there is probably nothing they could do that would be able to sap all of my love for them from my being until, of course, the day I die. When you listen to this song, the emotion that went into writing and recording it is palpable. Which is amazing, since Shane MacGowan was always a wildly drunken mess. Also: Irish accent FTW.

Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life: I don’t think I’ve ever written about music without squeezing some Conor Oberst work in there. Dude has been my hero for more than a decade, and I really value this song because it’s pretty much the only one he’s released that is completely positive about falling in love. Which, allegorically speaking, is how I hope I will feel if I ever find a partner.

Brand New – The No Seatbelt Song: Much like Oberst, Jesse Lacey is my lyrical hero who has not released many jams about success in romance. This one is not all that positive, either, but this chorus line sums up the core of what I would have to feel to marry somebody: “It’s only you, beautiful, or I don’t want anyone.” Also, I probably couldn’t marry a woman who did not appreciate Brand New.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The National – I Need My Girl
  • The New Pornographers – Challengers
  • The National – Lucky You
  • The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
  • Boyz II Men – I’ll Make Love to You
  • 2Gether – Calculus
  • Elliott Smith – Say Yes
  • The Cure – Just Like Heaven
  • Iron & Wine – Flightless Bird, American Mouth
  • Iron & Wine – Such Great Heights
  • Joni Mitchell – A Case of You
  • Magnetic Fields – The Book of Love
  • King Creosote – My Favorite Girl
  • My Morning Jacket – Wonderful
  • Radiohead – True Love Waits
  • Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
  • Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine
  • Yo La Tengo – Last Days of Disco