I think about death a lot, especially at weddings. Getting married is one of those discrete steps one takes in life that signifies you’re unequivocally, one hundred percent, totally not a kid anymore. This is one of the two main non-childhood signifiers. The other is death.
Still, weddings are important, and lots of people have them, and despite the fact that I myself never ever want to get married, there’s no reason to think that lots of people (including probably me) won’t be getting married in the future. A couple of weeks ago, I watched my fifty-something aunt get married under a tent at the beach in North Carolina. It ruled, mainly because I got to drink with old people. At the reception, there was a boombox that played songs from when my aunt and her new husband and all their old-people friends were my age. There were probably half a million songs released in the seventies; we were listening to about twenty of them (and, weirdly enough, a Rascall Flatts song). The point of all of this is that certain songs connect with lots of people, and enter the cultural consciousness forever, but most don’t.
What causes a song endure for decades? I honestly have no idea. Right now, I’m listening to a mixtape by a rapper named Kirko Bangz. “Drank In My Cup,” the single from the tape, has become a hit on terrestrial rap radio. I enjoy “Drank In My Cup” immensely, perhaps more than any other pop song I’ve listened to this year. This is the type of song I would expect to be played at my wedding when I’m sixty, despite the fact that “Drank In My Cup” is about having empty sex with someone you don’t care about. “Drank In My Cup” is a mercenarily effective song, one very much rooted in current musical trends. The beat sounds like some progressive UK Bass shit, but played backwards, at half the speed. This is what pop music is supposed to sound like in 2012.
When it is the future and I am sixty and getting married (perhaps to a robot), my robot-wife and I will want the wedding DJ (also probably a robot) to play songs that remind us of our lost youths. Not only that, but we will want our robot DJ to play songs that remind our guests of their lost youths. I have a theory that as people age, music becomes less of a necessary, vital thing that demands to be cared about, and more of this experiential doohickey. People like shared experiences. That’s one of the reasons we do stuff with each other—playing sports, going to concerts, joining gangs etc. It reminds us that we’re all in this whole life thing together. When we’re old, listening to songs like “Drank In My Cup” will remind us that we were once young. And that will probably be important.
So without further adieu, I thought up five songs that we will probably have the DJ play when we all get married in 2045. All of these choices require explanations, even the ones that don’t.
Daft Punk: “One More Time”—A no-brainer. When we are in the actual future, it will seem cute to listen to a song that sounds like 1998’s vision of the future from the perspective of two people who dressed up as robots. Especially because we will be marrying actual robots.
Carlie Ray Jepsen: “Call Me Maybe”—Inevitably, this song will slide from its near-ubiquitous status in pop music into “Aw, what the fuck, I can’t believe we actually listened to this shit” territory, and slowly be resuscitated as irony fodder and then re-gain acceptance as totally okay. It happened to Journey, it will happen to Nickelback, and it will happen to “Call Me Maybe.”
UGK f. Outkast: “Int’l Player’s Anthem”—This one’s actually kind of a stretch. Will we even like rap music when we’re old? Or will the idea of people talking instead of singing over music become distasteful? Future DJ’s would be wise to just play Andre 3000’s intro verse and segue out, just in case.
Dave Matthews Band: “Ants Marching”—Well, it’s not a good song, but it’s definitely one that people will remember, even a million years into the future. Dave Matthews, I don’t like your stupid, terrible music, but I sure as shit respect its ubiquity.
Drake: “Practice”—First dance. Duh.