When I was in high school (of the performing arts variety), one of my musical theater performance teachers taught us a pretty life-changing lesson: A great deal of “love” songs are actually odes to stalking, delusion, or outright mania. He told us that it’s our job as actors to bridge the gaps of shoddy writing that assumes romance rather than the good kind that solidly communicates it.
Over in the world of pop and rock, there are songs that are held up as theeeee most romantic, and of course they are, to many people who happen to be in that mood at that time. If, however, you’re like me and in desperate need of a giggle as we count down the single-digit days left until this ghastly election cycle comes to an end, they can also be debunked with just a few words.
Below are 15 of the most popular wedding songs and concise reasons why they shouldn’t be. Most of these actually are excellent and incredibly meaningful songs, but I need a laugh, so let’s boogie.
1. "As," Stevie Wonder
Sample lyrics: “I'll be loving you always / (Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky) / Always / (Until the ocean covers every mountain high) / Always / (Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea) / Always”
YIKES! This sounds like a post-apocalyptic dystopian nightmare in which nature revolts and multiple species go against their own instinct and DNA. This is our future? You can keep your ring.
2. "In My Life," The Beatles
Sample lyrics: “Though I know I'll never lose affection / For people and things that went before / I know I'll often stop and think about them / In my life I love you more”
Why must everything be a competition with you???
3. "Just the Way You Are," Billy Joel
Sample lyrics: “I don't want clever conversation / I never want to work that hard / I just want someone that I can talk to / I want you just the way you are / I need to know that you will always be / The same old someone that I knew”
Well what a relief that this “same old someone” doesn’t challenge you by being clever or witty. God forbid you should exert yourself by participating in an exciting relationship! You can “just talk to” your golden retriever, by the way. I’m out.
4. "Amazed," Lonestar
Sample lyrics: “I've never been this close to anyone or anything / I can hear your thoughts, I can see your dreams / I don't know how you do what you do / I'm so in love with you”
These are the words of a lifelong loner who has just ingested copious amounts of peyote. You’ve kept your distance from literally everyone and everything? That’s horrifying! And if you’re hearing my thoughts and seeing my dreams, you’re either having a massive hallucinogenic trip gone wrong or you’re the villain from a horror movie franchise of the late '80s/early '90s. Either way, this is not love. This is mushrooms.
5. "A Thousand Years," Christina Perri (from the movie Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
Sample lyrics: Irrelevant. Unless we’re 14 years old, you’re not playing the love theme from a sequel to a Twilight movie at our wedding. And if we are 14, we’ve got bigger problems than choosing a wedding song.
6. "Can't Help Falling In Love," Elvis Presley
Sample lyrics: “Wise men say only fools rush in / but I can't help falling in love with you”
So you’re blatantly calling yourself a fool for loving me, and then reducing that love to a foolish compulsion. You’ll understand if I’m not “rushing in” to meet you at the altar.
7. "At Last," Etta James
Sample lyrics: “I found a thrill to press my cheek to / A thrill I've never known, oh yeah / You smiled, you smiled, oh and then the spell was cast / And here we are in Heaven / For you are mine at last”
This sounds like the confession note found at the scene of a murder-suicide committed by an obsessed stalker who had previously led a very humdrum life.
8. "If I Ain’t Got You," Alicia Keys
Sample lyrics: “Some people want diamond rings / Some just want everything / But everything means nothing / If I ain't got you, yeah”
Is this your way of telling me there’ll be no rings? I mean, you’re great, and down with capitalism and all that. But I want a ring. I also want our ultimate union anthem to be more grammatically correct than this, BTW. Thanks.
9. "Fly Me to the Moon," Frank Sinatra
Sample lyrics: “Fly me to the moon / Let me play among the stars / Let me see what spring is like / On Jupiter and Mars / In other words, hold my hand / In other words, baby, kiss me”
Soooooo…it’s cute that you’re into me, but I’m concerned that you’ve seriously overestimated what my hand-holding and my kisses are capable of. Facilitating space travel is not in my wheelhouse and I’m afraid you’ll be sorely disappointed on our honeymoon.
10. "Marry Me," Train
Sample lyrics: “And love and has finally shown her my way / Marry me / Today and every day / Marry me / If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this café / Say you will / Mm-hmm / Say you will”
First of all, if you want this to be our wedding song, you have a toddler’s comprehension level of the order of the events because by the time it’s played, we will have already been married.
But more importantly, “If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this café”??? So this grandiose “wedding song” is really a creepy plea to a total stranger? EWWWWWW!
11. "I Only Have Eyes for You," The Flamingos
Sample lyrics: “The moon may be high, but I can't see a thing in the sky / I only have eyes for you / I don't know if we're in a garden, or on a crowded avenue”
Um, are you OK? Are you in a fugue state like when Walt took off for a while in season two of Breaking Bad?
12. "The Best Is Yet to Come," Frank Sinatra
Sample lyrics: “The best is yet to come, come the day you're mine / I'm gonna teach you to fly”
Seriously what is it with this Sinatra guy and air travel? Do you want to celebrate our marriage or pilot an aircraft or dirigible of some sort?
13. "As Time Goes By," Dooley Wilson (from the movie Casablanca)
Sample lyrics: “You must remember this / A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh / The fundamental things apply as time goes by”
So you’re totally underwhelmed by my kisses already? This is all just business as usual to you? Fantastic.
14. "The Luckiest," Ben Folds
Sample lyrics: “Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties / And one day passed away in his sleep / And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days / And passed away / I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong”
Sheesh. That is a strange way. I mean, I guess it’s good that the song knows it too, but…now I just really miss Nana and Pop-Pop. What a downer.
15. "Up Where We Belong," Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
Sample lyrics: “Time goes by, no time to cry / Life’s you and I, alive, baby”
#WellActually it would be “you and me” here; this is SUCH a common grammatical error! Funny enough, there’s a simple way to distinguish between the appropriate contextual and grammatical use of “you and me” vs. “you and I.” All you do is — wait, where are you going? Honey? Um...hello?