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jukebox zero
putting a ceiling on the dancing
by mike julianelle

My fiance won't let me use the Guns 'n Roses song "Get In The Ring" for our first dance at our wedding.

Maybe she's right. Maybe a song in with the lyric "I don't like you, I just hate you, I'm gonna kick your ass!" and in which the lead singer demands his antagonists "suck [his] fucking dick!" isn't quite wedding material. But goddammit, neither is Moulin Rouge!

I'm realistic. I know that I can't have the DJ play all my favorite tunes during my wedding reception. I'm a rock guy, not a dance guy, and the minute Spoon and The Band and Arcade Fire and Bob Dylan start playing, dancing goes out the window. Believe me, I know. I've been the guy at the party who requests good music, only to learn how badly good music goes with dancing.

I'm the kind of guy who, when dragged to a club or a party where dancing is prevalent, gets really irritated by the music. I'm the kind of guy that will then cozy up to the DJ and request something - not something out-of-left-field, exactly - but something a little bit closer to my sensibilities. And I'm the kind of guy who then watches the dance floor empty as everyone decides Kanye's "Jesus Walks" is not something you can dance to. Shoulda gone with "Gold Digger."

I'm the kind of guy that kills the party.

I am not entirely ashamed of this. I don't like dance music. I don't much like dancing. And frankly, I am neither good at nor do I have the patience to determine which songs in my preferred genres of music are most adaptable to a dannce-friendly atmosphere. You can't dance to Led Zeppelin, but The Police? Maybe, depending on the crowd. You can dance to Prince and old school Michael Jackson but you can't dance to Pearl Jam or the White Stripes.

I don't want to listen to stuff that's sole purpose is to make you dance. I'd at least prefer music that sounds good while it gets your feet moving. But I realize my own shortcomings, and I am not going to hijack the wedding with all the music I like. I want people to have fun at the party, and that means doing some drinking, doing some dancing, and doing lots of drunken dancing. I am aware that no one will dance to my setlist of indie rock, so for a few hours, I will go without it. It's not like the bride will be requesting showtunes all night. Not if she wants the marriage to last long.

Some people can't relinquish control. I have one friend who is desperate to DJ every party he attends, so much so that he'll knock over ice luges and bump away the party host just to get control of an iPod. Then it's 4 straight hours of Kruder and Dorfmeister. Boo! If I wanted to hear a computer make noise, I'd watch Star Wars.

Sometimes you just have to take one for the team. Besides, when, every once in a while, a song you actually like comes through the speakers, it's like hitting the lottery.

We are allowed to submit a list of song requests, as well as some forbidden tunes, to the DJ before the wedding. My heart screams every time I put down something like "Bringing Sexy Back" on the request list, but what are ya gonna do? You gotta give the people what they want, unless the people want country, then you do your best to avoid them. Unless it's "The Thunder Rolls," cause that's just good stuff.

So, at my wedding next weekend, with a wide variety of people of different ages and from different backgrounds, I'll just have to bite the bullet. I'll defer to the DJ, and my wife, and let the songs fall where they may.

But you better believe that if I hear even a snippet of the Electric Slide, shit's gonna get ugly.


Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".

more about mike julianelle


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robert melos
9.7.07 @ 3:27a

Dude! I'll take the Electric Slide over The Macarena any day. My personal favorites are disco and 80s country. Although if you want a good slow dance see if you can get the DJ to play Disneyland is Burning, by A3. You get the slow dance action with social relevance.

And you can dance to The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Cripple Creek, and The Weight.

mike julianelle
9.7.07 @ 9:30a

My lovely bride-to-be somehow HATES "The Weight," one of the greatest songs of all time. I know this because that CD currently wakes me up every morning, upon which she voices her criticism.

mike julianelle
9.7.07 @ 11:00a



heather millen
9.7.07 @ 11:01a

God, I do hate that song. Waking up to it ruins my day.

To be fair, I'm giving Mike much of the decision-making power in the music at the wedding. Unfortunately, the kid can't even commit to a first dance.

This may be a bad sign. :)

mike julianelle
9.7.07 @ 11:30a

You're lucky that's the extent of my commitment problems!

katie kilgariff
9.7.07 @ 1:11p

To be fair- "Fool in the Rain" and "All of My Love" definately have the potential of being wedding music. Though, depends on the crowd- folks might get confused. Slightly more sentimental than "Get in the Ring", maybe? And my husband had to basically be liquored up to even participate in the first dance :)


adam kraemer
9.8.07 @ 2:59a

Take a load off, Heather.

I guess I'm not invited, then, huh?

One thing I can tell you, from experience: don't have the last song be "Love the One You're With." Not unless you want people to remember that was the last song.

Oh, and I seem to recall from high school that "Stairway to Heaven" is fun, because people start off slow dancing with each other and then suddenly have no idea what to do.

My brother and his wife compromised. In return for letting her use Elvis' "Can't Help Falling In Love," he was allowed to have them enter the reception to the London Philharmonic's symphonic version of Zep's "Kashmir."


reem al-omari
9.8.07 @ 3:43a

Every freaking party I end up at, whether it be a wedding party, or xmas party, they play that stupid Electric Slide song or the F*(&$&#$^&*$#&*(&)#$ Macarena, and every schmuck will dance to it without missing a beat, thinking it's the highlight of the entire evening. I loathe both songs entirely. I'd rather do the chicken dance than the Electric Slide or the F*&#*$^&# Macarena.

And what CAN anyone do with Stairway to Heaven other than do air guitar and/or headbang after the slow part ends?


tracey kelley
9.8.07 @ 6:48a

I do not recall Jael and Jonathan, Roger and Pete, or Sarah and Erik (all Intrepidite weddings) having the "Macerena" or "Electric Slide" played during the dance fest. So I think there's a level of cool involved.

There was, however, for the the '06-'07 wedding season, much enjoyment over "Sexy Back."


So it will be again.

Out of the five weddings I've attended in the past two years, all five had dancing, and two had live music preceding the DJ portion. It's interesting to see what the bride and groom "need" to have, and what they think guests will enjoy.

I give Jael and Jonathan's festivities props for having the most "old" people dancing to "hip" songs.

lisa r
9.8.07 @ 10:03a


I have a strict rule--I will only do the chicken dance in the presence of my friend's toddler triplets. There's something about their screams of delight that makes it somewhat acceptable to look like a complete cluck.

The only line dance I'll ever do (presuming I ever remember how to do it) is the Cotton-Eye Joe. Since none of my current friends is single or country fans, I'm safe from line dancing in general for the time being.

reem al-omari
9.10.07 @ 3:09a

Sexy Back will be playing at my wedding, for sure. That song rocks.

jael mchenry
9.10.07 @ 2:45p

The only tricky part of choosing the music for our wedding was trying not to box the DJ in too much. I mean, he's the professional, right? But we did give him three lists: must play, should/can play, and do not play. Tried to keep the must-play short. The do-not-play was mostly the group stuff: Macarena, Electric Slide, etc. And some songs I'm just too sick of hearing at weddings even though originally they didn't piss me off, like "What a Wonderful World."

Had we not put SexyBack on the must-play I think we might have had a revolt on our hands. You do, indeed, have to give the people what they want.

Triumphant choice from our DJ: playing The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" right after the first dance, because it brought everyone up out of their chairs, and some of them never sat down the rest of the time. Fun for all ages!

dan gonzalez
9.11.07 @ 9:26a

There's some good funk that is dance-able and, with the help of an open bar, can get you through.

I only had 3 moments where I micro-manged the DJ at our wedding. I had the DJ play Social Distortion's 'She's A Knockout' for taking the garter off and Queen's 'Another One Bites The DUst' for throwing it to the single guys. I had him kick off the open bar and dance floor with the Red Hot's 'Sexy Mexican Maid' in honor of my girl's new last name.

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