We’ve played dozens of weddings over the last four years, and they are almost always for people around our age, Generation Xers. There is probably a quality to our music that resonates with this generation. I did a little research and was surprised to find that Generation Xers actually don’t feel like a generation at all. But I was also surprised to find how well I fit the description… it was a little disconcerting. Some highlights: first generation to come home to empty houses with both parents still working, we’re entrepreneurial, individualistic, feel misunderstood, want to save the neighborhood, not the world, late to marry etc. Does this resonate with anyone else out there?
I decided to make a list of some of our most popular requests from this generation. I love how they are a mix of mainstream and alternative.
Many of us can remember the first time we heard the Jeff Buckley version of this Leonard Cohen song. It’s powerful, romantic, painful, and vulnerable with redemption possible at the end. Probably one of the most cathartic songs about the complications of love and the relief of finding it at last.
Our generation really made the career of Ben Harper, so it is no surprise that we claim this one as our own. I love the honesty and simplicity of the lyrics: “We have both been here before, knocking upon loves door, hoping for someone to let us in.”
All I Want Is You
We grew up on U2 and your favorite bands as a kid stay with you for life. Bono has this incredible ability to mix vivid imagery with memorable choruses and melodies. The story on him is that all of his love songs, every single one, was written for his wife. So I can’t think of a more appropriate catalogue of songs to dig up for a Gen X wedding. “You say you’ll give me eyes in a moon of blindness, a river in a time of dryness, a harbour in the tempest.”
I’m definitely borrowing the idea for this song from the show “How I Met Your Mother” a TV series basically written by and about our generation. On the show the Violent Femmes song is performed by the LA band The 88, and their version is less gritty than the original but beautifully done in their own style. I like this song as an idea for the first dance: edgier, likely not understood by the grandparents, by a high resonance with folks our own age.
These are just a few of the most popular wedding songs for Generation X that we’ve come across. We’d love to know if you have any suggestions.