On Memorial Day, Jagged Edge and 112 joined forces for one of the now-ubiquitous Verzuz battles that have sprung up like kudzu from the fertile grounds of quarantine. While the battle was plagued by sound issues and watching two ’90s R&B stalwarts of the baby-making genre dance to their own music in a split-screen lost its appeal after a few songs, I tuned in yesterday just as the best song ever written about long-term commitment was playing: Jagged Edge’s “Let’s Get Married.”
Ostensibly a love song, “Let’s Get Married” tells a relatable story about two people who decide that, for their relationship, marriage is an inevitability. The ballad version of the song captures some of the romantic longings that the lyrics elide, making it appropriate for the first dance at a wedding; but the remix, featuring Reverend Run of Run-DMC, is appropriate processional music for the wedding that I would have if I actually wanted to get married. Yes, I will walk down the aisle to this song about settling, and I’ll be happy to do it.
Absent any grand declarations of love, “Let’s Get Married” sounds like settling. But really, deciding to just do “it” already and get it over with is the truest expression of love: a capitulation to a future that both parties knew was coming. Consider the chorus:
Meet me in the altar in your white dress
We ain’t getting no younger, we might as well do it
Been feeling you all the while, girl, I must confess
Girl, let’s just get married
I just wanna get married
“We ain’t getting no younger, we might as well do it” isn’t a marriage proposal that’ll make it into the Vows section of the New York Times, but if marriage is something you desire, then maybe this sort of quiet resignation is suitable for wherever you’re at in life. The message of “Let’s Get Married” is similar to another song that celebrates the practicalities of love: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s “Love the One You’re With” preaches a similar message but is somehow blunter. “If you can’t be with the one you love/love the one you’re with,” croons Stephen Sills over jaunty acoustic guitars and a peppy little chorus. While I understand that the rest of the lyrics are possibly encouraging cheating, the alternate read is that maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Both songs are an attempt at rebranding the notion of settling, which, for women, is painted as a last-ditch effort at staving off a life of infinite loneliness. Storybook romances don’t exist in real life, and settling doesn’t have to be bad, especially when it’s just making the best of what life has to offer.
While I don’t appreciate Jagged Edge’s demand that the woman in question meet the man at the altar, one assumes that this decision has been discussed in full and consent, obtained. I have never been married nor have I really felt the desire to do so, but the pragmatism of these lyrics really speaks to me. Marry someone that you can reasonably sit in a room with, in silence, for four hours. Marry for love, but also for companionship.