Column One:
Eye on Unmarried America

June 12,  2006  



British singer's USA tour promotes song for singles

By Thomas F. Coleman

American pop charts have been dominated for years by songs geared toward couples who are in love, engaged, married, or breaking up, and by songs about single people who are yearning to find a "better half."  Conspicuously absent are songs about the joys of being single. 

The American music scene is a reflection of American culture which is couples-oriented.  Single people, especially those who are secure in their singleness, have been undervalued by the entertainment industry and marginalized by corporate and government leaders who idealize family life.

Millions of single people who go to the movies, watch television, listen to the radio, and read magazines, have been receiving the same recurring messages: having a partner is better than going it solo, and singles are missing out on the joys of life until they are happily married with kids.

I've searched my memory and can't recall a pop song which specifically targeted single people and told them "it's great to be single" or "you don't need a partner to be a complete and happy person." 

Enter British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield.  She's single and proud of it.

During her American "mini-tour" she will sing a song designed to help single people feel good about themselves just the way they are -- single.

Bedingfield's kicked off her tour last week at the Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York City.  She gave fans an opportunity to hear a number of songs from her debut album, "Unwritten," including a current hit entitled "Single."  In the coming weeks she will give performances in Miami, Nashville, Boston and Philadelphia.

The theme of "Single" is "about celebrating singleness and how it can be a great time in life," Bedingfield said in a recent interview.

A lot of people picture single people sitting around all the time like Bridget Jones, feeling sorry for ourselves because we're alone, Bedingfield added. "And that's not really the case -- it's actually a really wonderful time in life."  (For those who are unfamiliar with recent British movies, Miss Jones is the heroine of Bridget Jones Diary -- a romantic comedy about a thirty-something English singleton.)

Beddingfield, with her upbeat song about the joys of being single, is a breath of fresh air in a society which seems to be bent on turning all singles into couples. 

I came across the lyrics to "Single" a few months ago when I was looking for a pop song that single people in America could rally around.  Something that would boost self esteem.

My search led me to Bedingfield -- a singer whom I had never heard of -- and to "Single" -- a song with lyrics which are uplifting and a melody which is fun.

Here's are two verses of the song, and the chorus, which give a sample of the lyrics.

Verse one:
I'm not waitin' around for a man to save me
(Cuz I'm happy where I am)
Don't depend on a guy to validate me
(No no)
I don't need to be anyone's baby
(Is that so hard to understand?)
No I don't need another half to make me, whole

Verse two:
Don't need to be on somebody's arm to look good
(I like who I am)
I'm not saying I don't want to fall in love 'cause I would
I'm not going to get hooked up just cause you say I should
(Can't romance on demand)
I'm going to wait so I'm sorry if you misunderstood

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm tradin' places
Right now a stars in the ascendance
I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I want to be
I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I want to be
Yeah, uh huh, that's right

Apparently, many single Brits loved the theme of the song.  Enough of them bought copies of it to bring it to the top of the pop music charts there.

If these themes resonate with millions of single Americans who might enjoy a little morale boosting about their civil status in life, the song should be a hit here too.

Yeah, uh huh, that's right.

Unmarried America 2006

Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.  Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried America. E-mail: Unmarried America is a nonprofit information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and voters.