Stop! I know what you’re thinking and yes, you’re right, bloggers and writers do often look far too deeply into things.
In my case, during my time as a HuffPost blogger, I’ve written on the prevalence of pumpkin-flavoured products, a make-over programme, and a Christmas movie starring some puppets and the leading man from Get Carter and have made, I hope, convincing cases in each instance. However, this is the first time, to my recollection, that I have found myself praising a pop song as being far more important than it seems at first because, bear with me, Party For One by Carly Rae Jepsen is not just an insanely catchy little ditty with a funny and endearing music video - it is a defiant and optimistic rallying call to everyone who finds themselves without a significant other at the hardest of times.
By way of context, let me say that Carly Rae Jepsen had fallen off my cultural radar completely some time ago. I, like many others, found my September 2011 soundtrack well and truly dominated by her smash hit, Call Me Maybe, but had, since then, more or less forgotten that Ms Jepsen was still a working musician. It was only when I raised the subject of her, in the context of the release of Party For One and her importance in the gay community, that I was informed that she had a significant fanbase and had released a number of great songs. My friends pointed me towards her 2017 release, Cut to the Feeling in particular which, after heavy consideration, I, like they, concluded is another absolute banger of a tune (check this 30-year-old middle class media type talkin’ like the young people do!) and should be added swiftly to one or more of my Spotify playlists.
With that established, and my enjoyment for two of her previous songs now stated explicitly, I return to my original point; Party For One is a far more important song than it appears on the surface - especially for us often forgotten singletons and especially at this time of year.
Now that Halloween (an excellent time to be single) has past the Christmas season looms on the horizon like a tinsel-decked pirate ship coming for our money and liver capacity and that means society’s emphasis turns towards family, cosiness, togetherness, the hunt for that ‘special gift’ for that ‘special person’, and having someone to smooch as we move from 2018 into 2019. At no other time of the year, other than the second week of February, is the signal sent more strongly to the unattached that we are failing and incomplete in our lives. As much as I love the holiday season - it’s hard to ignore this message and to avoid taking it personally.
This is why Carly Rae Jepsen’s Party For One is so important and timely. The song is an unabashed and unrepentant celebration of being single and of taking time to heal after heartbreak. The video depicts a wide range of people - from the butch black lesbian clearly going through a break up, to the drag queen, the uptight businessman, and the older woman brandishing a sex toy for which only the word ‘heroic’ seems appropriate - all having fun by themselves in separate rooms of a hotel. Each of them appears to be dealing with solitude in their own way and practising the kind of personalised self-care that is essential for all of us and is crucial for single people at this time of year. There is also something symbolic about the power cut that brings them together at the end of the video in that it shows each of the characters (and by extension, the audience) they have a community waiting for them - even if they have to return to their own spaces until they’re ready for it.
I think that’s what fundamentally makes this song so important. It tells single people that they’re ok and that it’s ok to not feel ok about it from time to time. Furthermore, it also tells single people that however you want to deal with what’s going on in your life and if that’s by taking a bath with your dinner, crying and laughing in your dressing gown, or slipping into your fanciest underwear for nobody’s benefit but your own then that’s perfectly ok.
Sure, it might be a stretch and perhaps I’m looking too deeply into it but if a catchy pop song with a positive message can brighten up what can be a tough time for the single among us then surely that’s a good thing. Because, as the anthem points out, sometimes it feels like the world doesn’t care and the solution just might be to dance by ourselves.