- Some popular wedding songs aren’t nearly as romantic or as sweet as they seem.
- The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” is a song for stalkers, not lovers.
- Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” is about an ex and the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” isn’t very sweet.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Sometimes choosing a big, romantic song for your first wedding dance without closely listening to the lyrics can backfire.
A lot of popular choices seem romantic at first listen but they may not be overly appropriate for celebrating a healthy, loving relationship.
Read on for some first-dance songs that aren’t nearly as romantic as you’d think.
The Police song “Every Breath You Take” is a song for stalkers, not lovers.
This 1983 hit has the tempo for a love song, but its lyrics can be interpreted in a dark, unsettling way.
The lines “Every breath you take / Every move you make / Every bond you break / Every step you take / I’ll be watching you” could easily be about a stalker.
Any version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is actually about vampires.
Jim Steinman, the writer behind the song, actually wrote it for a vampire musical.
“With ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart,’ I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song,” Steinman told Playbill in 2014. “Its original title was ‘Vampires in Love’ because I was working on a musical of ‘Nosferatu,’ the other great vampire story.”
“If anyone listens to the lyrics, they’re really like vampire lines. It’s all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love’s place in dark,” he added.
“Marry You” by Bruno Mars doesn’t have a positive view on weddings.
Maybe a song where Bruno Mars calls getting married “something dumb to do” isn’t the best choice for a first dance.
He goes on to say that it’s ok to go ahead if both parties are “trashed” on Patron, and that “If we wake up and you want to break up / That’s cool.” Most newlyweds would hopefully disagree.
Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is not a promise for the relationship.
This 1992 cover that became a cornerstone of pop culture is not quite a love song.
The lyrics “Bittersweet memories / That is all I’m taking with me / So good-bye / Please don’t cry / We both know I’m not what you, you need” reveal that the singer is leaving the subject of the song, not staying with them.
“The Rains of Castemere” is a terrible omen for a wedding.
Although all “Game of Thrones” fans know what happens at the Red Wedding in season three (spoiler alert: lots of death), some brides and grooms are tempting fate by playing the song at their weddings.
If any “GOT” fans are attending your wedding, playing this song could certainly put them on edge.
“Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s is about a relationship that didn’t exist.
This romantic story about a long-distance relationship is actually fictional.
The songwriter Tom Higgenson wasn’t actually dating Delilah – she was in a relationship with someone else. She said the song put her in a weird position.
“I didn’t want the spotlight. I was nervous that I’d let Tom’s fans down. They’d be disappointed to hear I have a boyfriend,” she told ESPN in 2013. “Every girl would want a song written about her, and they’d think I was ungrateful and rude to deny Tom. I felt pressure to live up to those expectations.”
Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” is about an ex.
A song with the lyrics, “Well, my girl’s in the next room / Sometimes I wish she was you,” may not be the most appropriate for a wedding dance.
The “lips” that the singer is referring to belong to his ex, not his current lover.
Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” isn’t very romantic.
Even though “love” is in the title, the song is about a rough breakup. Take, for example, the lyric: “I tell my love to wreck it all / Cut out all the ropes and let me fall”
This song isn’t necessarily romantic.
The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” isn’t all that sweet.
Frankly, most of the lyrics involve the phrase, “I just want you to know who I am,” which implies that the married couple might not know each other very well at all.
Although some lyrics are fairly romantic (“You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be”), others are a bit dark, “When everything feels like the movies / Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive.”
Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” is meant to be a bitter goodbye.
According to Louder, when this song debuted it was played at weddings, funerals, and graduation ceremonies alike.
It even made it to pop culture – it was the soundtrack to the death of a cancer patient on the medical show “ER” and it played during one of the final episodes of “Seinfeld.”
But the song isn’t quite as romantic as it seems.
“It’s about an ex-girlfriend who had moved to Ecuador … I tried to be level-headed about her leaving, even though I was completely pissed off,” singer Billie Joe Armstrong told Guitar World, according to a Louder Sound article from 2016. “So I named it ‘Good Riddance’ just to express my anger.”
Train’s “Marry Me” is a bit too forward.
The song is quite romantic and sweet- until you reach the lyric: “If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe.”
The singer is crooning about marrying someone he’s never even met. The music video also depicts this not-so-romantic love story.
Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” is about a love from the past.
This slow hit single might not be as romantic as you’d think. It’s about a relationship that’s ended.
Notably, the song’s lyrics are past tense. Lyrics like “Little things I should have said and done / I just never took the time” seem to imply he’s singing about a love he had but lost.
Bono’s “One” is actually about splitting up.
According to Bono, the song isn’t about a relationship, it’s about a breakup.
“The song is a bit twisted which is why I could never figure out why people want it at their weddings,” Bono said in the book “U2 By U2,” per American Songwriter. “I have certainly met a hundred people who’ve had it at their weddings. I tell them, ‘Are you mad? It’s about splitting up!‘”
James Blunt said “You’re Beautiful” is not romantic.
Although the lyrics are all about beauty, the singer-songwriter James Blunt says the song is far from romantic.
“‘You’re Beautiful’ is not this soft, romantic f—ing song,” Blunt told HuffPost in 2017. “It’s about a guy who’s high as a f—ing kite on drugs in the subway stalking someone else’s girlfriend when that guy is there in front of him and he should be locked up or put in prison for being some kind of perv.”
“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers is actually about jealousy.
The song is actually about jealousy, which can be interpreted from the lyric, “I don’t think you’re right for him.”
That combined with the rest of the repetitive chorus, “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart” makes for a song about a guy telling a girl she should be with him instead.
In fact, it seems to be about a person that the singer isn’t even with.
“Think of what it might have been if we/ took a bus to Chinatown/ I’d be standin’ on Canal and Bowery / she’d be standin’ next to me.”
“Always” by Bon Jovi is actually quite sad.
Although some of the lyrics seem quite romantic (“I’ll be there ’til the stars don’t shine”), when you read all of them together, the song is actually a guy singing about a relationship he’s no longer in.
“It’s been raining since you left me / Now I’m drowning in the flood,” says one lyric.
But since he’s singing about how he’s still deeply in love with someone who left him, this song could almost come off as being about an obsession.