It’s that time of year again. Valentine’s Day. And speaking on behalf of men everywhere, I’ll just say the pressure to produce the right romantic gesture can be overwhelming. Many of us are working way outside of our genetic wheelhouse. If the expectation were for us to produce grilled meat, no problem. Talk sports. Done. Parallel park a car or pull a trailer. Covered. But the right romantic gesture. Pressure.
And because Christ did nothing to initiate Valentine’s Day, unlike Christmas and Easter for example, I have to think Valentine’s Day is a conspiracy cooked up by women, Hallmark, Godiva, and all FTD affiliated stores to see if a man’s got any kind of game. It may very well be anti-Christian, certainly a violation of any meaningful notion of grace.
But I have decided to embrace the challenge. I have no choice with the name Dr. Love and all. In fact, this year I’m performing a wedding on Valentine’s Day. How have I not thought of this before? This is a gold mine in the making. “Let Dr. Love Tie Your Valentine’s Day Knot.” “For Your Day of Love, Dr. Love!” The possibilities are endless.
While I am not getting married this Valentine’s Day, I am getting married in June. I have volunteered to being the musical director for the wedding, which is gracious of me. While others may suggest songs, none get played without my approval. This includes music before, during, and after the ceremony. So, I thought I’d give you a little preview of the wedding music which may also help those of you who are feeling the V-day pressure.
From before the ceremony:
Here, we’re going acoustic. A little singer/songwriter action.
1. I’d Want You–Over the Rhine. Beautiful guitar work. Spanish feel. Lilting vocal. “If the moon fell from the sky, rendering everything black and blue, I’d want you, I’d want you.” Kind of the theme for the wedding. Life deals you some blows, and no one gets the story book, but even so, I want you. No matter what. No matter what. I’d want you.
2. Storm Comin’–The Wailin’ Jennys. Such beautiful, beautiful harmonies. It doesn’t matter what words they’re singing. It’s sexy. But the words are great, comparing love to a coming storm. “When that storm comes, don’t run for cover…When that rain falls, let it wash away…When those lights flash, here that thunder roar…When that love comes, open up the door. You got to stand on up and let it in, you gotta let love through your door…You can’t keep the storm from a comin'” Talk about rolling your socks up and down.
3. That’s How the Love Gets In–Thea Gilmore. The love gets in through the broken places. Great aching melody. Terrific lyrics. “When the night is black, but the fires are out. When the reason why is your only doubt. That’s how the love gets in.” Look, don’t use these songs if you’re only looking for something casual. These are seal the deal, buy a ring songs.
4. All of Me–John Legend. “Because all of me loves all of you. Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections.” And what a voice.
5. Satellite–Eddie Vedder. Off the Ukele Songs cd. If you’re feeling too syrupy, go with EV. No sweetness in this voice, but loads of feeling. “It’s not a shame that love’s a game I can only play with you. What I’m sayin’ is that I’m here waitin’ for you.”
6. Baby if This is Nowhere–Over the Rhine. Such a funky, sexy groove. A Rickie Lee Jones feel to the lyric. “Baby if this is nowhere, how sweet it is too find…I’m crazy for you baby, I hope that you can see…when we disappear here, nowhere else I’d rather be, woo, hoo.” Watch yourself, because you’ll feel like dancing, which may not be a good move for you.
Songs for after the wedding. Have to be dance-able. She can dance. You can’t. That’s just the way it is. But you’ll score big, big points for braving the dance floor anyway. And we’ll start with a few slow ones so that your lack of moves are not exposed.
7. Turn Me On–Norah Jones. Smoky smooth. And triple sexy. “Like a flower waiting to bloom, like a lightbulb in a dark room, I’m just sitting here waiting for you to come on home and turn me on.”
8. And I Love Her–Harry Connick, Jr. Harry croons The Beatles. Win. Win.
9. Twist and Shout–The Beatles. Because she’s a huge Beatles fan and because you like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, this is the choice. You’ll have to show some moves here, but keep it simple. Home base only. No matter what, do not, I repeat, do not dance the way you feel.
10. Pride and Joy–Stevie Ray Vaughn. Resist the temptation to do the head-bob/white-man’s-overbite here. But you’re feeling it a little And she thinks you’re into it because of the lyrics. “She’s my sweet little baby, I’m her little lover boy.” It’s possible to switch this one up and do a little electric slide or two-step. Use it if you got it.
11. It’s Alright–Ray Charles. Because you want to see what she does with that bass groove. And you’ve got to have a little old-school R&B on V-Day. “Baby, shake that thing.” Plan B here is Shout by the Isley Brothers.
12. A Little Less Conversation–Elvis Presley. “A little more bite, a lot less bark…c’mon, c’mon.” You and the King are on the same page, but if you say it, that’s a dog that won’t hunt. But if the King says it, well…
13. Harvest Moon–Neil Young. The wedding guests are leaving. You’ve done your best on the dance floor. Your reward, one last slow dance. And because she won’t dance to Dylan, you go Neil Young. She puts her head on your chest and all is right with the world.
Nicely done, Valentine.