Solo living is finally getting its due – not as a sad, sad song, but as a cause for celebration – or at least a reason to wake up and pay attention! In a recent issue of Time magazine, the cover story was about 10 ideas that are changing your life. The #1 new idea? “Living alone is the new norm.”
To mark this development that has been decades in the making, but only now getting spotlighted, let’s generate a playlist of tops songs for going solo. If you want to, think about the songs that would be on your list before you read any further.
Rolling Stone has already published their Songs for Going Solo. The story includes a few more than the 10 I have listed below, plus a link to listen to the songs on Spotify. The article (as well as the Time magazine #1 new idea essay) was written by Eric Klinenberg, author of the new and much heralded Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Klinenberg reprinted his playlist on his Amazon page, where you can also find his brief explanations for why he chose each song.
1. Billy Idol, “Dancing with Myself”
2. Rolling Stones, “Get Off of My Cloud”
3. Beyonce, “All the Single Ladies”
4. Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”
5. Rufus Wainwright, “One Man Guy”
6. Jay Z, “99 Problems”
7. Tom Waits, “Better Off Without a Wife”
8. Bob Marley, “No Woman, No Cry”
9. Wilco, “Born Alone”
10. Patty Labelle and Michael McDonald, “On My Own”
Personally, I like the upbeat rhythms more than the woeful ones, perhaps because I so savor solo living myself. No woe here.
I think there is another theme that should be represented in songs for the joyfully solo. I first realized how apt it was when it was described in a letter to an advice columnist, “Sometimes I just want to be single.” The reader said that she was in a wonderful relationship but every so often, she wonders “if I am just not meant to be in a relationship. I have always been kind of a free spirit, independent, spur-of-the-moment kind of woman.” Continuing, she adds, “These feelings, I have noticed, tend to come up when I am driving up the coast alone with the top down.” (Here’s what I had to say about that.)
“Back when I believed my mother had a happy marriage—and she did for quite a long time, really—she surprised me by confiding that one of the most blissful moments of her life had been when she was 21, driving down the highway in her VW Beetle, with nowhere to go except wherever she wanted to be. ‘I had my own car, my own job, all the clothes I wanted,’ she remembered wistfully. Why couldn’t she have had more of that?”
What do you think? What kind of experience, or what song, best captures the essence of living on your own? Can you think of any songs that capture that “driving up the coast alone with the top down” sort of feeling?
Finally, if you missed this previous post on a related topic here at “Single at Heart,” you might enjoy it: Living alone: 12 things you didn’t know.
Female vocalist photo available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 12 Mar 2012