Playlist: Modern Love Songs

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

Monogamy PLaylists5

The running joke behind the scenes at APW is that I… have terrible taste in music. As a Cancer through-and-through (my birthday is tomorrow!), I like my music full of sap and sentiment. And if it makes me cry, it’s my favorite thing ever. (I bawled like a baby the first time I heard “Firework” by Katy Perry. Because yes! Sometimes I do feel like a plastic bag.) So when I polled the staff on our favorite modern love songs, I shouldn’t have been surprised “I Won’t Give Up” was my (heavily-mocked) choice and “Laugh, Love, Fuck” was Meg’s (at which point, we decided to use one of our lifelines and ask the audience). And while Meg and I will probably never agree on what constitutes a good song, the good news is that, much like everything else to do with weddings, the songs you choose don’t have to be timeless, you just have to love them. If ten years pass and nobody remembers who Jason Mraz is (impossible, but I digress), his song will still make you tear up and feel like it’s your wedding day all over again. So today’s playlist in our APW + Monogamy Wines Summer Concert Series is a roundup of modern love songs, as chosen by the APW staff (and the handful of you who were in the office and hanging out on Facebook last week).

But before we get to it, next week we’re putting together a cocktail hour playlist. Which might just be the most important playlist yet (good cocktail music takes talent y’all.) So if you have recommendations for good cocktail hour songs, or better yet if you self-DJ’d your wedding and want to lend your set list as a recommendation, leave it in the comments and we’ll round them up!

Modern Love Songs from practicalmaddie on 8tracks Radio.

  1. “First Day Of My Life” by Bright Eyes
  2. “I Chose You” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
  3. “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield
  4. “Mario Kart Love Song” by Sam Hart
  5. “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
  6. “Naked As We Came” by Iron & Wine
  7. “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” by Dierks Bentley
  8. “January Wedding” by The Avett Brothers
  9. “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson
  10. “Reasons to Love You” by Meiko
  11. “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds
  12. “Marry Me” by Train
  13. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
  14. “You Ain’t Alone” by Alabama Shakes
  15. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by Lemar
  16. “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam
  17. “Maps” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  18. “I Found You” by Alabama Shakes
  19. “Closer” by Tegan and Sara
  20. “Laugh, Love, Fuck” by The Coup

**This post was sponsored by Monogamy Wines. Thank you Monogamy for helping make the APW mission possible!**

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

Staff Picks

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  • Meredith

    I’d totally forgotten about Johnny and June. Love that song! One more for the wedding list.

  • meg


    Anything by Nina Simone is my answer, btw.

  • CPM

    I’m obsessed with Charli XCX lately, and her song “What I Like” is mayyybe the perfect celebration of the “we hang out all the time and have sex and are awesome to each other” relationship.

    • CPM

      Whoops, tried to edit but my ancient browser won’t let me! We also self-DJed and had an awesome cocktail party playlist. Not a ton of new stuff on there, though– my husband went full-on college radio/world music/not-quite-Motown oldies.

      Standouts: The Avalanches’ remix of Belle & Sebastian’s “I’m A Cuckoo,” The Shangri-La’s “Give Him a Great Big Kiss,” and Tom Jobim & Elis Regina, “Aguas de Março,” a fantastic bossa nova duet that includes the singers cracking up in laughter toward the end.

  • If you haven’t heard it you should listen to “Grow Old with Me” by John Robert Brown.

    • Lia

      We’re using this as our first dance! I love it so much (but I’m a JRB fan, so I may be biased).

  • We had a post-wedding party DJ’d by my father in law (who is in a band where they wear glittery outfits, have go-go dancers, and do covers of really trendy, poppy music (they perform a LOT of Katie Perry songs) and thinks our taste in music is WEIRD and COMBATIVE).

    The music was half our picks and half his picks, so it was a bit bi-polar in nature. However, here’s a few of our picks that seemed to get a good response among the young and old alike for general mingling/cocktail/eating music:

    1. Water (Get No Enemy) -Fela Kuti (There was a LOT of Fela Kuti on our list, because Chris has been involved in a documentary about him for the last 2 years. These songs are really long and heavy on improv, but they all went over well.)
    2. Anyone Else But You -Moldy Peaches
    3. It’s Oh So Quiet -Bjork
    4. Ocean – Pucifer
    5. First Day of My Life- Bright Eyes
    6. When I’m 64 -The Beatles (There was a lot of the Beatles on our playlist, and they all went over well.)

  • Caitlin

    “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” by Landon Pigg

    I met my husband at a local coffee shop and hearing this song always makes me so happy and causes me to reminisce on our caffeine fueled and amazing 9 years together

  • Gina

    Oh man! I’m walking down the aisle to “First Day of My Life” and our first dance is going to be Ben Folds’ “Luckiest One.” Do we at least get uniqueness points for talented friends playing both songs on guitar and piano?

    • Hannah K

      homg, how can you walk or do ANYTHING EXCEPT CRY while hearing that song–it GETS ME EVERY DAMN TIME IT’S SO GOOD.

      • Gina

        Hahaha! You’re SO right. Waterproof mascara FTW, I guess? I actually don’t understand how anyone walks down the aisle or says their vows without exploding into the Ugly Cry. I’m just going to embrace it.

    • I walked down the aisle to First Day of My Life, too, played and sang by my cousin on his acoustic guitar. Love, love, love!

      • Gina

        That’s amazing! I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

  • veronica

    Some cocktail hour ideas:
    Oh Me Oh My – Aretha Franklin
    LA County – Lyle Lovett
    (Night Time is) the Right Time – Ray Charles
    For Once In My Life – Stevie Wonder
    Frankie and Johnny – Sam Cooke
    Moondance – Van Morrison
    Look at the Girl – Otis Redding
    Coffee and Cigarettes – Otis Redding
    I Just Want to Make Love to You – Etta James

    • YES YES YES to all of these. Can I come to your next party?

  • Lija

    My soon-to-be father-in-law is playing that Bright Eyes song during our ceremony! That, and the Princess Bride theme song. :)

  • Ashley

    True Companion by Marc Cohen –

  • Dom

    l’hymne à l’amour by Edith Piaf – can’t wait to have my first dance to this. We may or may not switch to the Josh Groban version, simply because the man likes his voice a bit more

  • Ooo! I’m so excited for our cocktail playlist! We’re going classy with old school with blues, jazz, folk, & soul numbers. My fiance has a great knowledge and love of music, so I handed this one over to him, as long as Billie Holiday & Ella Fitzgerald are represented.

    • Yes please! This is exactly what I was thinking.

    • Corrie

      Yes, this is totally what I gravitate toward for cocktail hour-y, dinner party-ish music. Sunday Kind of Love by Etta James, Everything I Have is Yours by Billie Holliday, Dream A Little Dream of Me – Ella & Louie, Fly Me To the Moon by Frank Sinatra & In the Mood by Glen Miller (if it wasn’t part of the dance party) would be must haves on my list.

  • Emily

    “I Won’t Give Up” was our first dance song :)

  • Marta

    I’ve been obsessed with “Young and Beautiful” – Lana Del Ray lately.

    • Gah, that song. After I saw “Gatsby” it was on repeat for, like, a week. I downloaded it before I’d even left the theater!

  • Emmy

    Some hits from our cocktail hour and dinner playlist:

    “Frenesi,” Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
    “Wives and Lovers,” Julie London
    “You and I,” Ingrid Michaelson
    “A Summer Song,” Chad & Jeremy
    “Such Great Heights,” Iron & Wine
    “Cornbread and Butterbeans,” Carolina Chocolate Drops
    “Danse Caribe,” Andrew Bird
    “Can’t Stop Now,” Major Lazer
    “An Ocean and a Rock,” Lisa Hannigan
    “Rebel Rebel,” Seu Jorge
    “The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room),” Flight of the Conchords
    “All I Want Is You,” Barry Polisar
    “Better Half,” Tarkio
    “The Sweetest Thing,” Camera Obscura
    “Wished For You,” Squirrel Nut Zippers
    “Somebody to Love,” Queen

    • Melise

      Lisa Hannigan. Yes.

  • Meaghan

    Forever by Ben Harper is one we had played and it’s definitely in the sappy category.

  • Our first dance will be to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons.

    The Man wrote a piano piece for me to walk down the aisle to.

    We have The Man’s bandmate strumming on guitar for atmosphere pre-ceremony and for when he walks in. Mario Kart Love Song just became a major contender. Or the Jurassic Park theme.

    • Melissa

      Oh Frankie Vallie! That is my favorite song, and of course my boy hates it. Luckily, we agreed on others, but I might slip that back into the list… :)

  • Emily

    dearest – the black keys
    keep your heart – tv on the radio
    you yes you – tune-yards
    zebra – beach house
    elation – isbells
    i belong in your arms – chairlift
    words cannot describe – mirah
    when i’m with you – best coast
    welcome home – radical face

    • Cate

      it’s like you’ve been rummaging around in my brain/itunes playlist!

  • Danielle

    I’ve been building a love songs list on my iPod to guide a DJ for our wedding:

    Cheap Trick “The Flame”
    The Cure “Love Song”
    The Cure “Just Like Heaven”
    Cyndi Lauper “Time After Time”
    Death Cab For Cutie “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark”
    Elvis Costello “She”
    Janet Jackson “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”
    Kermit Ruffins “More Today Than Yesterday” (original by Spiral Starecase)
    The Knife “Heartbeats”
    Mazzy Star “Fade Into You”
    Neil Young “Harvest Moon”
    Moulin Rouge soundtrack “Come What May”
    No Doubt “Running”
    Queen “You’re My Best Friend”
    U2 “All I Want Is You”
    Wilco “I’m the Man Who Loves You”

    • Katherine

      ooooh, Danielle, I love these! I’m stealing half of them :-p

  • Oh, and here is a link to what we have thus far for dinner music. A whole lot of Diana Krall, Michael Bublé, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Ella.

    The Party Music will be all over the place. From Mary Chapin Carpenter to Taking Back Sunday. From The Darkness to Sara Evans.

  • tennymo

    Best believe “Laugh Love Fuck” was all over my wedding. Just because I haven’t seen much here, here are some songs in spanish from a variety of genres for if you are looking for songs for the “Latin moment” that any truly great party (or cocktail hour) playlist should include (imho):

    A Pedir su Mano, Juan Luis Guerra
    Amor de mi Tierra, Carlos Vives
    Canciones de Amor, Julieta Venegas
    Vivir sin Aire, Maná

    • meg

      OOOOOOOO. I feel like we should do a playlist just for Spanish songs. Though god knows we’d need help.

      • tennymo

        I am down to help make a latin edition of the Summer Concert Series happen. Lemme know what you need.

        • Tennymo

          And we could have them be more wedding-y. The last two of these, upon further reflection, fall more into an “I just happen to like them” category.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        Please? I need to practice my Spanish again. APW playlist for studying sounds AWESOME.

  • Jaimichelle

    Our first dance was “Fire and Dynamite” Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

  • Alexis

    I looooove “Naked As We Came” by Iron and Wine as a modern love song! It was on our short list for processional songs.

    Some cocktail hour suggestions from our self-DJ’d wedding:
    A Quai – Yann Tiersen
    Gotta Have You – The Weepies
    Flower – Amos Lee
    Dreams – The Cranberries
    Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) – Regina Spektor
    Bottom of the River – Adam Acuragi
    Pink Moon – Nick Drake
    White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
    You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon

    Music on APW is so fun :)

  • Samantha

    Make You Feel My Love gives me chills every time. I love it. Also, I’m loving that January Wedding song. I hadn’t heard it before. I’m getting married in January!

  • Laura C

    I am so old, I know practically none of these songs or artists.

    My hope is to sell A on a cocktail hour and dinnertime playlist that’s all the stuff we love but couldn’t expect people to dance to. Ok, some of that stuff, since I’m pretty sure my list alone would last 3 hours. But, like, Dropkick Murphys and Kasey Chambers and X and Concrete Blonde and Tim Eriksen and Lucinda Williams. Not wedding-themed stuff, stuff-we-like-themed stuff.

    • That’s our strategy as well. Stuff You Like is a totally appropriate theme!

  • Teresa

    Here are some of our cocktail hour songs:

    You are the Best Thing by Ray La Montagne
    Just Like Heaven by The Cure
    Crush by the Dave Matthews Band
    Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller
    Stand by Me by Ben E king
    Such Great Heights by the Postal Service
    You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra
    I’ve Got the World on a String by Frank Sinatra
    My Girl by The Temptations
    It Had to Be You by Harry Connick, Jr.
    Dream a Little Dream of Me by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
    You are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder
    Two of Us by The Beatles
    Answering Bell by Ryan Adams
    Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
    She is Staggering by Polaris
    In the Mood by Glenn Miller
    Scenes from an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel
    I Melt with You by Modern English
    As Time Goes By by Jimmy Durante

    Our friends had a good time guessing which was a song that I chose and which was a song my husband chose! I just like a mix of classic old school songs (Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Stevie Wonder) and modern stuff that means a lot to us.

    • +1 for “Such Great Heights” :)

    • You are The Best Thing is our first dance song! It’s a bit tricky to dance to, but I’m so excited!!

  • Must add:

    “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
    “You Give Me Something” by James Morrison
    “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service
    “Fresh Feeling” by the eels
    and Duncan walked me down the aisle to: “Songbird” as done by Duncan Sheik

    • Catherine McK

      You’re married!! Congratulations!

      • Catherine McK

        If I could edit.. I’d have edited to add, Wow! you look amazing in that dress and I can’t believe you pulled all that together in a day. Amazing!

        • Thank you so much.

    • “Home” just came on my Pandora… I freaking love that song!! :)

    • Emma

      “Home” came out as a single right around the time my man and I started dating. I bought that album for him on vinyl our first Christmas. We don’t know if we’re doing a “first dance” at our wedding (because we’re not sure we’re having dancing), but if we do, that will be the song.

  • k

    Radar Love by Golden Earring; also one of music critic Bill Lamb’s “top 10 driving songs.”

  • Katelyn

    Don’t worry, Maddie, I’m a Cancer too and my ipod is filled with mellow, sappy, love songs :) Happy Almost Birthday! July birthdays are the best!!

  • SamiSidewinder

    Always Come Back-Tim and Nicki Bluhm
    City of Blinding Lights-U2
    Crazy Love-Van Morrison
    Signed Sealed Delivered-Stevie Wonder
    All For You-Sister Hazel
    Seasons of Love-Rent Soundtrack
    Hallelujah (I Just Love Her So)-Ray Charles
    1234-Plain White Ts
    Question-Old 97’s
    Say Hey (I Love You)-Michael Franti w/ Spearhead
    Always Been You-Marie Hines
    Whole Lotta Love-Led Zepplin
    Let Love Rule-Lenny Kravitz
    You Always Make Me Smile-Kyle Andrews
    Why Don’t We Get Drunk And Screw-Jimmy Buffett
    Come By-Me Harry Connick Jr.
    Love You Madly-Cake
    You-Bonnie Rait and Allison Krauss
    Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down-ALO
    Everyday-Buddy Holly
    Snow Outside-Dave Matthews Band

    Too much?

  • Amy

    I’m not much a crier, totally dry eyes at my own wedding, but my new sister-in-law walked down the aisle to “First Day of My Life” at their wedding and I.teared.up. Of course, it could have been the pregnancy hormones, but that song. WOW.

  • Hannah

    Going to Georgia and/or Riches and Wonders by The Mountain Goats

  • Caitlan

    My husband refused covers for our first dance, so “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele (written by Bob Dylan) was moved to our last song of the night, though I cried when I first heard it and was pretty sure it was “the one”. It ended up being one of my favorite moments of the whole night when one of our ushers, a huge Dylan fan, slow-danced over to us with his date to compliment our good taste!

    • At the risk of starting a fight, I will say Bob Dylan is a very talented songwriter. In terms of singing though, Adele blows him out of the water. Nice choice, indeed.

      • CII

        For anyone looking for a third alternative, there is also a Billy Joel cover of this song. In our home, there are many debates about the merits of covers (generally, and certain songs in particular), so I laughed hard at your story, Caitlan. Thanks for sharing!

  • OK my favorite love songs:

    “Home” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
    “Such Great Heights” – The Postal Service
    “San Francisco” – The Mowgli’s

  • Hannah

    In Your Light, by Timothy Seth Avett as Darling

  • Susanna

    Oooo, I want to play!

    At the Hop- Devandra Barnhart
    I Saw You First- Givers
    I’m Shakin- Jack White
    That Dress Looks Nice on You- Sufjan Stevens
    Old Old Fashioned- Frightened Rabbit
    Everlasting Light- The Black Keys
    Emmylou- First Aid Kit
    Bright Whites- Kishi Bashi
    You’re the One that I Want- Angus and Julia Stone
    Lovely Cup- Grouplove
    Plage- Crystal Fighters
    5 Years Time- Noah and the Whale

    But my top pick:
    Salvation Song- The Avett Brothers

    • Claire

      Yes to Kishi Bashi

  • KEA1

    I looooooooove Thomas Quasthoff’s version of “Have a Little Faith In Me.” Also, “Fields of Gray” by Bruce Hornsby. I’d actually take either as a first dance, but they’d be good lilt-y background music too.

  • Kaitlin

    I’ve been loving “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris lately. Not sure if it will make the cut for the first dance since the fiance and I are negotiating our opposite tastes in music, but it will be in there somewhere!

  • Kerry

    Maddie, we are BIRTHDAY TWINS! Happy early birthday to you!

  • Sylvia

    “perfect love song” and “I like” by The Divine Comedy are both excellent and not too serious

  • We self-DJ’d our wedding, and we started our cocktail hour mix right before the ceremony, so there would be music playing when folks adjourned from the ceremony to the reception (same location). Our playlist was a little out there but fun (we played it on “shuffle”):

    Boston – Augustana
    Little Black Submarines – Black Keys
    Change – Churchill
    Paradise – Coldplay
    X&Y – coldplay
    Counting Blue Cars – Dishwalla
    Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics
    1234 – Feist
    Daylight – Matt & Kim
    Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine
    We Are Young – Fun
    On a Freezing Chicago Street – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
    Danny, Dakota, and the Wishing Well – A Silent Film

    we wanted music that was upbeat but not realy music we’d dance to. This playlist was complimented OFTEN throughout the rest of the evening.

  • Kelsey

    Oh my goodness, I love the ‘I believe in a thing called love’ by the Darkness, and this version was so fun to hear!! Whoever submitted that one- virtual high five to you.

  • WHO MOCKED “I WON’T GIVE UP”?!? We are in a fight.

  • Amber

    First off, happy (almost) birthday Maddie! Second, totally agree with you on the Jason Mraz front! I’ve been a big fan for a long, long time. And, I am so excited that my fiancé (by then husband) will be hearing Jason Mraz live to kick off our Honeymoon! Yay yay yay!!

  • Jessica

    My fiance and I were talking wedding music last night, and came to the conclusion that the only genre we can agree on is classic rock/pop … so we’re going to have a lot of that. Namely, we are going to set the ceremony to a medley of Queen music, including “You’re My Best Friend” and “Somebody to Love.” SO EXCITED.

    Side note: I am a Cancer as well and LOVE Jason Mraz, but there is no way in hell my fiance would agree to anything sappy. Boo.