2014’s Best Love Songs (for first dances)

16 Feb 2014’s Best Love Songs (for first dances)

More couples get engaged between Christmas and Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year. Since we’ve just passed that threshold, I thought it would be good to start the next phase of the year, the wedding planning phase, with some suggestions/predictions for the best first dance weddings songs released in 2014. All of these songs can stand alone outside of these criteria, and for all intents and purposes I’ve limited it to songs that have done well on commercial radio.

The standout first dance wedding song of 2014 was John Legend’s All of Me (released in 2013). Notable for it’s simple production and focus on JL’s powerful voice, the lyrics made for an obvious choice for a new couple starting their lives together:

All of me loves all of you.
Love your curves and all your edges,
All your perfect imperfections.
Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you.

While tempo and general emotion is a good indicator of a great first dance song, it’s the lyrics that really turn a song from a nice ballad into a perfect statement for a successful marriage. Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me”, arguably 2014’s best love song, is about love lost. Definitely NOT a good choice for kicking off a marriage.

So, I bring you my wildcard choice first. This one may ignite some controversy, and it doesn’t EXACTLY fit the criteria that I’ve detailed above, but I believe with a few small adjustments to the lyrics it would make a GREAT song for certain couples.

WILDCARD: Only One by Kanye West (released December 31, 2014)

A lot of folks are hating on Kanye these days, and I tend to think he does this on purpose every once in awhile (this will be a topic of a future blog post). But this extremely emotional song co-written by Paul McCartney not only has a catchy hook in the chorus, but it’s really a beautiful lyric about the love he has for his daughter (even though it’s through the eyes of his mother Donna). As a first dance song I would suggest adjusting the lyric in a number of places. Here is the lyric from the chorus with a small adjustment that I’m highlighting in red:

Hello my only one
Just like the morning sun
You keep on rising till the sky knows your name
Hello my only one
Remember who you are
No you’re not perfect but you’re mine just the same

3) Let Your Hair Down by MAGIC!

My Canadian contribution to the list is MAGIC!’s 3rd single from their breakthrough debut album. If you’re looking for something that isn’t über slow, then this is a fantastic love song. Nasri’s voice soars even higher in the second verse.

There she goes, there she goes, there she goes
There’s nothing better than my beautiful woman
Even though, even though, even though
It’s not always heaven, we still fly together

2) My Heart is Open by Maroon 5 feat. Gwen Stefani (released August 29, 2014)

A beautiful duet always makes for a great first dance song. This one has the recognizable voices of two of Pop Music’s top stars from the last 20 years, and is a song co-written with another hit maker, Sia Furler. The minimalist production also adds to the intimacy.

It’s just a moment go and seize it
Don’t be afraid to give your heart to me
And if ya do I know that I won’t let ya down

1) Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran (released September 24, 2014)

Before this record (called X), I didn’t think much of Ed Sheeran. His 2011 song “The A Team” was a tremendous success and netted him a duet with Elton John (that song would actually make a great first dance song as well), but I sorta thought it would be his peak. Was I ever wrong. Thinking Out Loud is at #1 because it’s a soul-infused pop song that not only meets my criteria, but the video is of Ed Sheeran ballroom dancing with a professional partner.

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me—I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am