Do you play bass? Do you play drums? Do you have filtered compression with slapback voice modulation? Can you do all three at the same time? This whole song revolves around these three things, none of which can be accomplished easily with your Yamaha acoustic guitar and voice of an angel.
This song was all the rage in 2010. Every sticky-floored college bar and cheap convertible had this blaring through the entire summer. There’s nothing wrong with the song itself, but there have been some horribly feeble attempts at translating this into a guitar version just for the sake of grabbing some of its popularity.
Wonderwall – Oasis
Don’t play this song. I repeat, DO NOT PLAY THIS SONG. Not just for women, don’t play it for anyone. Ever. Anywhere. Even when you’re alone in the middle of the night thinking “I just need to play Wonderwall one more time.” Even then, don’t do it. In the mid 2000’s this became the anthem of every barely-competent tone-deaf guitarist wearing a sock on their head trying to impress people with “how good they are.” Having said that, I’ve played this song. It’s actually a great song. Do I feel shame? Yes.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison
Bret Michaels was sexy in the 80’s. Now he looks like that one kid’s dad from your little league baseball team who hangs one arm on the batting cage and heckles the other team’s pitcher. No doubt, Poison was and still is awesome. Screaming down the road with the windows down blasting Nothin’ But A Good Time on a nice day is incomparable. But unless you’re trying to impress that 60 year old woman who gets to Brewski’s Bar & Grill every day by 11am, you should close the tabs on this one.
Blackbird – The Beatles
This is your quickest path to becoming Dusty Dinkleman
. It’s not a hard song to play on guitar. It’s a hard song to play well
on guitar. And it’s even harder to play well and sing well at the same time. The Beatles are music royalty. Even if you think their music sucks and you play their songs flawlessly, the best response you’ll get is probably “Well it’s not as good as Paul McCartney did it but not bad.” If you’re playing this for someone who doesn’t know The Beatles, they’ll probably be disappointed you didn’t play Lady Gaga.
Neon – John Mayer
You’re going to butcher this song. We all do. Don’t take it personally. It’s one of those songs where the magic is in the complexity of the strumming pattern. It’s an okay song if you just play the chords I guess (eh), but what makes people love it is the combination of rhythm strumming with fingerpicking and playing multiple parts at the same time. Without it, the song doesn’t sound complete and that can be like nails on a chalkboard for many people. Oh and also don’t do “In Your Atmosphere”. Or “Gravity”. Actually let’s just stay away from John Mayer songs. He’s washed up anyway am I right!? Agree to disagree.
Elephant – Jason Isbell
If you really want to bring down the mood, give this song a try. It’s not hard to play, it’s not hard to sing. But it is about a friend of Isbell’s who died from cancer (apparently). If you are dating someone who gets fired up listening to you play this, you better run for the hills yourself. You know what, go ahead and play it. It’s a good way to test the waters.
Bartender Song – Rehab
I have a personal vendetta against this song, so I may be a little biased. BUT, the song is about something like a fella who’s girlfriend cheats on him in a trailer park so he gets hammered and wrecks all her stuff as well as (ostensibly) his own life. Probably not a great start to the relationship to open with this one. On a high note though, Danny Trejo
is in the music video
which automatically makes it worth watching. He’s a very interesting guy. He’s actually the most interesting part of this entire blog.
Hey Ya – Outkast
It should go without saying, but for some reason it doesn’t. Every once in a while you will run across a guy attempting to play this song with nothing but an acoustic guitar and being blissfully unaware of everyone else’s ears bleeding. Is there an acoustic guitar in the song? Yes. Does it play a crucial part to the melody? Yes. Should you play the song with an acoustic guitar only? Yes you should. You should play it and her hair catch fire just from the sound of your falsetto on the chorus. Do I have to point out that I’m joking here? Probably. Anyway, good song for parties, bad song for serenading.
Ok that’s it for now. If you’ve crashed and burned attempting to play songs for someone I actually would very much like to hear about it. Leave a comment about your disastrous performance. I would like to say subscribe to our newsletter on the left for more articles like this, but you probably won’t.
And remember, if you’re struggling on guitar, just go by a bunch more of them and drain your bank account. It’s sure to make you a better musician.