The Wedding Playlist Needs to Die – The Argonaut – Argonaut

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Stop me when you’ve heard this one before. You’re at a wedding. The ceremony is over. The food has been eaten and the music has started. You look at the dance floor. It’s empty and the song playing is “Marry Me” by Bruno Mars. What year is it? 2024. Why do we do this to ourselves? When did music at weddings become just contemporary pop hits from the previous 40 years? When did music stop being special? Do we really want to dance to the “Cupid Shuffle” again? We’ve been told how to dance to that song for the past 17 years. Enough is enough. Give it a rest already. 

I already hear you saying, but—what about Mee-maw? Look, you will please Grandma more if you play Elvis Presley or the Beatles. Both artists are already staples at wedding events. Hearing “Can’t Help but Falling in Love” by Elvis has happened at many weddings. But why not a deep cut? Grandma has been to many, many weddings throughout her life. When was the last time she heard a Miles Davis song played at a wedding? Or Billie Holliday? Why not take Grandma down memory lane and remind her of her own childhood? Instead of playing “Lover” by Taylor Swift again, try something different. And please don’t even get me started on the various stages of Dad-Rock that have been played at these things. 

If we are going to refuse to play the new artists since music “stopped being good” in whatever era, we might as well be more curious about other eras’ artists. We have all heard a Frank Sinatra song played at a wedding, but I have yet to hear a Frankie Avalon song played in the wild. He was once a star, but now he is just another runner. But I do wait for the day to hear Frankie’s “Venus” come over the speakers. My eyes will probably brighten at getting to dance to that. Especially after the soulless body movement of hearing “Yeah!” by Usher for the millionth time. Like, seriously, guys, the early 00’s were not good enough to be on repeat like this. 

It’s also alarming how often the songs of today are missing from these wedding dance floors. It only happens when, say, Adele or Taylor Swift release their newest album that same year. If not, hearing something done in the same decade that the wedding is happening becomes rarer. Unless Bruno Mars plans on releasing a new “Uptown Funk” that year, we are just stuck listening to “Uptown Funk” again. 

Hearing bland radio hits played in various sporting stadiums is not how people create lasting memories of special occasions. Stop playing it safe. Throw some tunes out there that might bomb. Who cares? Playing the hits bombs the dance floor too. Change it up; shake it up; just stop doing the same thing as everyone else. Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Amazon—whatever your streaming service is, its algorithmic playlists cannot make the ultimate dance experience for all to enjoy. Do not rely on these tools to craft memories; they can only make one kind of memory anyway, which is bland. Let the present take over in these moments and let the flow commence. 

Richard Simmons can be reached at [email protected] 

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