1. U2, “With Or Without You”
Bono sings of feeling tormented, bruised, and broken down in defeat. Not exactly the right vibe for a romantic night or a wedding first dance you’ll remember forever.
Red Flag Lyric: “My hands are tied, my body bruised / She’s got me with / nothing to win and / nothing left to lose”
2. The Police, “Every Breath You Take”
Um. No, I would not like you to watch my every move, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Also, Sting thinks the song is very sinister, aka not appropriate to woo someone with!
Red Flag Lyric: Every move you make / Every vow you break/ Every smile you fake / Every claim you stake / I’ll be watching you.”
3. Birdy/Bon Iver, “Skinny Love”
Sure, Birdy’s cover of “Skinny Love” sounds romantic and dreamy, but it’s actually about a love that’s not quite there. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon explained the meaning in an interview in 2011: “Skinny love doesn’t have a chance because it’s not nourished.” Ouch.
Red Flag Lyric: “And now all your love is wasted / And then who the hell was I?”
4. Beach Boys, “God Only Knows”
I don’t know about you, but someone reassuring me over and over again that their life will go on without me, and that they might not always love me isn’t exactly comforting.
Red Flag Lyric: “I may not always love you.”
5. Arcade Fire, “Rebellion (Lies”)
“Rebellion (Lies)” might have a grandiose sound and feel super epic, but do you really want to be walking down the aisle while a chorus yells “Lies!”?
Red Flag Lyric: “Every time you close your eyes / Lies! / Lies!”
6. Eric Clapton, “Tears In Heaven”
Eric Clapton wrote this wrenching song after his 4-year-old son died. There’s no doubt this song will bring you to tears, but it probably won’t be for the right reasons.
Red Flag Lyric: “I must be strong / and carry on / ‘Cause I know I don’t belong / here in heaven.”
7. Patsy Cline, “Crazy”
Because nothing says, “I love you” like “I’m crazy” and “You’ll probably leave me.”
Red Flag Lyric: “I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted / And then someday / You’d leave me for somebody new.”
8. Celine Dion, “My Heart Will Go On”
Celine sings of going on with life after the passing of a loved one (like Rose’s Jack in Titanic, remember?), but always keeping them in your heart. Which is a sweet sentiment, but probably not right for someone you’re just starting your life with.
Red Flag Lyric: “Every night in my dreams / I see you, I feel you / That is how I know you go on”
9. Hinder, “Lips Of An Angel”
If this is “your song,” I’m sorry.
Red Flag Lyric: “Well my girl’s in the next room / Sometimes I wish she was you.”
10. Billy Idol, “White Wedding”
It might be a nice day for a wedding, but not necessarily the best day to make everyone think of incest.
Red Flag Lyric: “Hey little sister, who’s your Superman?”
11. Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You”
“I Will Always Love You” IS an epic love song, but let’s be clear: It’s definitely a song about parting ways. I mean, she’s literally saying “good-bye” in the song. GOOD. BYE.
Red Flag Lyric: “So good-bye / Please don’t cry / We both know I’m not what you need.”
12. Judy Garland/Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”
A classic song, but super depressing? It’s all about longing to escape somewhere else, but love is all about being present in the moment. Now think about that for a minute.
Red Flag Lyric: “If happy little bluebirds fly / Beyond the rainbow / Why, oh, why can’t I?”
13. Bob Dylan/Adele, “Make You Feel My Love”
There’s something just a little unsettling about having to “make” someone feel your love for them, especially when they’re telling you they “haven’t made up their mind.”
Red Flag Lyric: “Oh, there’s nothin’ that I wouldn’t do / To make you feel my love.”
14. The Verve, “Bittersweet Symphony”
Don’t be fooled by grand orchestral opuses, people! All the strings may sound gorgeous and uplifting, but “Bittersweet Symphony” is in fact a song for the jaded. But maybe you want to keep things ~real~. If so, more power to you. Stick it to The Man.
Red Flag Lyric: “‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life / Try to make ends meet / Try to find some money then you die.”
And if you’re having a wedding reception… stay clear of these dangerous jams:
15. Kanye West, “Gold Digger”
Sure, it’s fun to dance to – both parents and young people alike can get down to ‘Ye’s early hit. But it might be just a LITTLE too soon to crack jokes about prenups.
Red Flag Lyric: “We want prenup! / Yeah / It’s something that you need to have / ‘Cause when she leave yo’ ass she gonna leave with half.”
16. Rick Springfield, “Jessie’s Girl”
Because what better song to play at a wedding than one about stealing your best friend’s new wife?
Red Flag Lyric: “Jessie’s got himself a girl / And I want to make her mine.”
17. Freda Payne, “Band Of Gold”
Great song. But again, not the greatest timing to be jamming out to a song about failed marital bliss.
Red Flag Lyric: “We kissed after taking vows, but that night on our honeymoon / We stayed in separate rooms.”