It’s that time of year again. The 14th of February, when everyone in love is ‘obligated’ to demonstrate those feelings in ways worthy of a Hallmark card or a romantic comedy, and all the Unloved feel like second class citizens (should they have the energy to care at all). As has become a Cheaper Than Rubies custom over the past few months, we intend to engage with the occasion in the best way possible: through music.
Valentine’s Day can be quite an oppressive day for those without a partner, or it can be brilliant: YES! I don’t have to buy someone a present/card/flowers! I am going to get drunk all by myself! I will eat all of the chocolate and I won’t have to share the remote! YES.
So while all those couples are busy throwing their relationship about, trying to score points from greeting card companies and discussing whether there are enough candles illuminating their evening meal, we the free are allowed to just… well, keep being awesome!
This playlist, unlike its sister, is all about the bright side of being alone (but not lonely), and remembering why we dropped our last partner and why love is bunk. It’s a bit fun, it’s a bit cynical and yes, sometimes it’s a bit difficult to see the light, but that’s what single life is all about, right?
1. Love’s Not So Great – Mama Kin
So let’s get this off the proverbial chest before we go any further – love sucks. Nobody ever understands us properly and everyone we’ve ever been in a relationship with is a jerk, and we’re way better off without them. Kick them to the kerb, then kick off your shoes and shimmy to this killer rejection number. You’re better off without ’em, gurl!
2. In My Mind – Amanda Palmer
Being single gives us a great opportunity to better understand ourselves as individuals. It allows us time to come to terms with the expectations we put on ourselves and whether they’re actually worthwhile. A clear relationship status means more opportunity for clarity of mind, and as Palmer attests, sometimes that’s needed to confront some important truths about who we want to be. (Spoiler: you may already be that person. And if you’re not, at least you have the time and space to work on it!)
3. The Truth About Love – David McCormack & the Polaroids
Okay, this is probably not one for those who are only recent returnees to the Un-Coupled Club, but the disdain for relationships in general is a beautiful sentiment when you’re a long-term single cynic. Not in love? Good! You’re not going to be hurt if it ends! Being single is the ultimate defence against heartache, right?
4. New Life – Elana Stone
Newly single? Congratulations! Here, have a clean slate! You don’t owe your past anything, and all the world is at your feet, waiting for you to take it on. Sure, you might get back in the dating game later on, but there’s nothing wrong with taking some time for planning your next challenge, romantic otherwise. Once again, the clarity and space afforded to those living the single life plays in your favour.
5. Release – george
This is all about you. You know all those troubles you have to confront on your own? You’ve finally defeated them, and guess what? You don’t have to share the rewards you’re reaping with anyone but yourself!
That’s what this song says: I’m here, I’m knocking down my demons, I don’t have to care what anyone thinks because I’m ready to make my life what I want it to be. There’s nothing holding me back, holding me down, and I am my own person!
6. Staying Single – The Jane Austen Argument
It’s easy to write about how empowering being single can be, but sometimes living it is a different kettle of fish. There’s the occasional dating disasters, the lack of a sex life, the inevitable envy of those who are in cosy relationships. But surely it’s better than some of the spectacularly explosive endings exposed in the closing section of this track. Ack!
7. God’s Gift To Women – Kate Miller-Heidke
Ah, the worst possible single situation. You’re in the pub, enjoying being footloose and fancy free and you come across the worst example of humankind suburbia can dredge up short of a serial killer: the pick-up artist. You’re not interested, but he isn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. And with that, your night immediately becomes a complete failure.
Every single girl (and some blokes) has a story about this kind of encounter, but none has summed it up as beautifully as Kate Miller-Heidke has in this track. “If you’re God’s gift to women, then God got it wrong” – I couldn’t have said it better myself. He might like it, but there’s no way you’re gonna let him put a ring on it.
8. Happy Phantom – Tori Amos
Being dead is the ultimate in singledom, and to be perfectly honest, Tori Amos makes it sound like a real lark! Running around doing ridiculously things, taking all the time in the world for yourself, ticking off everything you ever wanted to do, forever young: what more could you want?
9. On My Own – Bluejuice
This song entices me to interpret it one of two ways.
1. It can be a wallowing in the end of a relationship, being sad that it’s all come to a close, and missing your ex in all the ways you never should.
2. It can be seen as an acceptance of the end of the relationship, allowing the good memories to be good again, letting them push you out into the world to live all the adventures you’ve been promised.
I like the second one. Especially since it means you’ll be more likely to go out and do karaoke with the same vim and vigour as Mr. Chow does in the video above. Go on, put a smile on your face and belt out that chorus, then try and tell me you don’t feel amazing.
10. There’s No-one – The Whitlams
When playing live, Tim Freedman explains that this song was written as a response to all those soppy love songs about being a musician on the road and missing the partner you’ve left behind, to which he responds, “Well, why’d you bother being a musician then?” This song sums up one of the greatest feelings of being single; not only being able to do what you want, but knowing that you’re not letting anyone down or making anyone sad by doing so.
It’s easy to write off the single folks as selfish and egotistical, but when you think about it, they’re doing a potential lover a service by not tying them down or leaving them full of longing. Not only is being single sometimes a mercy to ourselves, it’s also a mercy to others whose hearts we might have broken.