You are planning your wedding reception. Pick 15 songs you'd want to have played at it...
1: 'Absolute Beginners', David Bowie
Well yeah, obviously, Bowie was gonna be in here... and well, a wedding reception seems a good place for the statement I absolutely love you, but we're absolute beginners.
2: 'I Surrender', David Sylvian
This song just breaks my heart with how completely the artist's saying 'I know there's all these things about my life that don't fit, that aren't part of the relationship we have- and I give myself up to you'. Tell me now that this love will never die, and I’ll surrender
3: 'Nature Boy', Bowie (ideally, though I'd cope with Nat King Cole)
This is one of my favorite songs ever. Period. And Bowie's version of it makes me very happy. The greatest thing you'll ever know is just to love, and be loved in return...
4: 'I'll Wear It Proudly', Elvis Costello
The sheer longing in it- and the sheer devotion. I'll wear it proudly through the clubs and the dancehalls, if you'll wear it proudly through the hoots and the cat-calls...
(sorry: Elvis' version doesn't seem to be on youtube: I went for someone who had clear enunciation, as opposed to Radiohead's cover)
5: 'You're the Top', Ella Fitzgerald
So yeah, a perky Cole-Porter-penned love song from Ella. Some might figure out the irony here and giggle. You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain, You're the National Gallery, You're Garbo's salary, You're cellophane!
6: 'My Funny Valentine', whomever
Sort of sad, but gosh I do love this song, too. But don't change a hair for me- not if you care for me
(linked my favorite version, but Chet's renditions are always scrape-the-floorboards minor-key: Ella does a lovely one too, as does Elvis Costello)
7: 'Kashka from Baghdad', Kate Bush
I love how this song- despite having been released in 1978, when the author was 20, treats so frankly about the idea that there would be nothing wrong with two men who love one another, and the delicate balancing act of the closet. Kate genuinely adores Kashka and his unnamed other half- and even if Kashka's old friends wonder if there's any life in the apartment, his landlady knows that they know the way to be happy.
8: 'J'ai Deux Amours', Madeline Peyroux
I just love this woman's voice- and her deliberate efforts to cultivate Billie Holiday's voice. Granted, this one would probably wind up getting swapped: while the song sounds like a lovely one to have a nice comfortable dance with your beloved with, it isn't particularly about getting married. Odds are that when I and someone were marching down the aisle, there'd already be a Maddie song we thought of as 'ours'.
9: 'The Stars We Are', Marc Almond
The stars we are, and the stars we'll be, just you, and me
10: 'One Step Beyond!', Madness
I'm sorry- if I was getting hitched to a guy and he DIDN'T understand the concept of causing a whole bunch of family and friends, in formalwear, to ska it out to 'One Step Beyond'? I'd have to reconsider that whole 'till-death-do-you-part thing. ONNNNNE STEEP BEYOOOOND!
(song in question starts at about 30 seconds in)
11: 'The Magic Position', Patrick Wolf
Well A: there's the whole tongue in cheek of putting one's beloved into the magic position, B: there's the fact that it's about the most assaultively upbeat thing Wolf's done, and C: I'd be willing to bet that his partner said 'fuck, Patrick, could you POSSIBLY write ANYTHING, EVER, in a major key?' It's gonna be a beautiful day, so do the bluebirds say, as I take your hand, and you take my kiss, and we take the world
this video also just breaks my heart with how gleefully emphatic it is.
12: 'Message of Love', the Pretenders
Even if Chrissie takes a somewhat heteronormative approach on this one, she does tweak it more towards 'we're all bipeds, and love is what we're here for'- and it's such a happy tune. Me and you, every night, every day- we'll be together, always this way...
13: 'New Moon on Monday', Duran Duran
What, there's that early-teenager who always thought Duran Duran were the shit, even if he didn't realize, in part, that it was because he wanted to bang the drummer through a wall or five. and something upbeat and declarative seems appropriate to a wedding reception... (fuck, why must Duran Duran videos require a commercial before being viewed)
14: 'Beautiful', Alan Cumming
Much the same realm as One Step Beyond above: I'd love to be dancing with my darling in my arms as Alan Cumming belts out in that bloody THICK Perth accent he has You're fucking beautiful, and when I look into your eyes well I see everything- on your whole fucking face. The song is actually very fond and very loving and a fair bit showtuney: sort of a typical lefty effort at jokingly-but-lovingly mocking a more right-wing behavior pattern on the part of a relative or loved one (wow, not a youtube available for this one, dammit).
15: 'I'm Your #1 Fan', The Beautiful South
Another one that's about how devoted one is to their partner- and major-chord, as well (I've often wondered what it says about me that songs in a minor key are more often my favorites...). While The Beautiful South tend to be a bit caustic and or sarcastic in general, this is one of those rare moments where the warmth underneath gets a chance to bubble up and be as earnest and genuine as all hell. You didn't have to love me, where others got rid/ You didn't have to treat me like a very good friend- but I'm glad that you did
...and then pick 5 you'd let your other half veto.
I suppose 14 ('Beautiful') is the first I'd be willing to let him veto: after all, his parents and mine will be there. Is the image of your kid staring lovingly into the eyes of his husband dancing, while you're listening to someone with one of the thicker Scots accents you've ever heard belting out the word 'fuck' repeatedly? Much as I'd love to do that one, I doubt that my parents or his would accept that, and I'd let that get vetoed.
13 ('New Moon on Monday') and 6 ('My Funny Valentine') come in second and third (not sure on order): the first's kind of niche-appeal, and the second's rather a downbeat song even if it makes me smile. And I imagine My Funny Valentine would be a bitch and a half to dance to properly. and on that front...
3 ('Nature Boy') comes in at #4. I do love the song madly, but it's not one that particularly lends itself to a romantic dance.
7 ('Kashka From Baghdad') would be droppable- but on two conditions. A: there'd have to be a LOT of discussion of why I had wanted it in, and B: that I get to listen to at night, they're seen, laughing, loving, they know the way to be happy on our wedding night.