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Banned Wedding Songs

The wedding season nears. And so does that venerable tradition: Couples deciding what songs to ban from the DJ's playlist.

According to "Mental Floss," these are the 34 songs most frequently banned.

Something I find interesting: With a few notable exceptions, like "The Chicken Dance" (which ranks first), the songs sit in a time slot of sorts. They're not new songs and they're not old songs. I guess I'd say they're "middle-aged songs," in the sense that they gained wild popularity more than five years ago but less than, maybe, 25 years ago.

Songs that were popular at weddings in, say, 1985, aren't banned here for the most part ("You Shook Me All Night Long," "Shout," and "Mony Mony" are exceptions).

There's something about that middle slot that irritates people. The new hot reception song is good. The reception song that was hot in 1980 and then died out is fine. But if it was hot from, say, 1995 to 2015: keep it out.

And I think I know why.

Those middle songs are cliches.

Too old to be clever; not old enough to be a standard.

No one likes cliches. They're lazy. They're substitute for thought. They're uncreative. They intuitively irritate.

If you want to explore the vapid world of cliches, probably the best essay is George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language."

A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically 'dead' has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves.

The new hot song is edgy, clever, fun. The old hot song is fine and not objectionable. It's always a safe play.

And if it has completely fallen off the radar, the song that died out over 25 years ago can even be edgy, clever, and fun.

Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" is out, beaten to hell, whipped, sung on car commercials. It's Number 13 on the list and deservedly so. Put it on the shelf and bring it back in 20 years.

But Neil Diamond's "Thank the Lord for The Night Time"? That might be very well-received.