Attention all soonlyweds: Be very, very careful when choosing the tune you and your betrothed will sway to awkwardly during your first dance as man and wife. Though some first-dance staples might sound like sweet love songs, they’ll doom a marriage faster than a chorus of “Love Stinks.” Here are the right — and wrong — ways to press play after you say, “I do.”
WRONG: “Every Breath You Take,” The Police. “I’ll be watching you,” is the mantra of a stalker, not a lover. Sting once called it a “sinister and ugly” song about surveillance and control.
RIGHT: “In Your Eyes,” Peter Gabriel. John Cusack made it famous with his boom-box serenade in Say Anything. Just make sure the disc jockey doesn’t mistakenly play “Shock the Monkey,” like Stan did on South Park.
WRONG: “Hallelujah,” Leonard Cohen. This American Idol favorite tells of a tortuous affair gone kaput: “She tied you to a kitchen chair/She broke your throne/She cut your hair.” It’s an homage to Marquis de Sade, not an ode to marital bliss.
RIGHT: “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” Ray Charles. A soulful amen to a couple’s new start — and a great way to get the dance floor rocking.
WRONG: “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge. The lady is a tramp, but the man is too love-blind to notice: “If she plays him for a fool/He’s the last one to know.”
RIGHT: “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” Aretha Franklin. Another ’60s ballad about burning love, but this time with r-e-s-p-e-c-t.
WRONG: “One,” U2. This touching ballad is actually a nasty break-up song: “We hurt each other/Then we do it again.”
RIGHT: “All I Want Is You,” U2. Love moves in mysterious ways in most of Bono’s lyrics, but this is the most straightforward love song he’s written.
WRONG: “My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion. This Titanic tearjerker is about a dead lover. Avoid this song like an iceberg.
RIGHT: “Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green. The wise Rev. Al teaches you to love your spouse, “Whether times are good or bad/Happy or sad.”