Unwritten (song)

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"Unwritten"
Single by Natasha Bedingfield
from the album Unwritten
Released 29 November 2004 (2004-11-29)
Format CD single, digital download
Genre Pop, R&B
Length
  • 4:18 (album version)
  • 3:52 (radio edit)
Label Phonogenic, Epic
Writer(s) Natasha Bedingfield, Danielle Brisebois, Wayne Rodrigues
Producer(s) Wayne Rodrigues, Danielle Brisebois
Natasha Bedingfield singles chronology
  • "Unwritten"
  • (2004)

"Unwritten" is a song by English singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield for her debut studio album, Unwritten (2004). It was released on 29 November 2004 as the third single from the record. The song was written by Bedingfield, Danielle Brisebois, and Wayne Rodrigues and produced by Wayne Rodrigues and Danielle Brisebois. The single was released as the album's third UK single (November 2004) and second US single (September 2005). In 2006, "Unwritten" became the theme song for the reality television series The Hills. It reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first top-ten hit in the United States.

Background[edit]

"Unwritten" was the most played song on U.S. radio during 2006 as confirmed before her performance at the Diana concert,[citation needed] and as of March 2006, was certified platinum in the U.S. The song is Bedingfield's most successful single in the US, along with "Pocketful of Sunshine"; both songs peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The song earned Bedingfield a Grammy nomination in Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 49th Grammy Awards but she lost to Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man".

Commercial performance[edit]

Peaking at number five for two weeks in the United States, "Unwritten" charted at number six on the 2006's Hot 100 year-end chart. "Unwritten" stayed in the Hot 100 for 38 weeks, thirteen of those inside the top ten. Estimated sales in the United States for "Unwritten" are 2,731,000 as of June 2011.[1] This was the third highest ranking for a female artist for 2006 behind "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira and Wyclef Jean, and "Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado and Timbaland.

The song also proved to be very popular in other radio formats in the United States. The Johnny Vicious and Hani Club Mixes peaked at number one on the Dance Club Play and number two on the Dance Radio Airplay chart, while the original version went to number two on the Adult Top 40 and spent ten weeks at number one on the Adult Contemporary chart. "Unwritten" was not as successful in the United Kingdom as her previous chart-topping hit "These Words", but made an impressive showing on the charts, peaking at number six. It is one of her few singles to peak higher in the U.S. than in the UK.

Music videos[edit]

Two different music videos were made for the promotion of the song: one was shot in 2004 in the UK to promote it internationally; the other one was shot in New York in 2006 to promote the single in North America. Both versions received airplay in Latin America.

Original version[edit]

It was directed by Michael Gracey, shows Bedingfield as the cover of a small animated book in a large library as it climbs an amazingly large bookshelf. As it gets higher the shelf becomes more like a cliff, even snowing at the top. At the top the book sees a dove and falls off. As the small book is torn apart in the fall, people pick up the pages and look up into the sky. The video may be seen to elaborate the lyric as an oblique spiritual narrative of striving to ascend (and reach a heavenly dove), while the lyric also reflects Bedingfield's concerns at this time with the process of writing, concerns perhaps more clearly expressed in "These Words", another song featured on the "Unwritten" album.

North American version[edit]

It was directed by Chris Applebaum, shows Bedingfield on an elevator, and as the elevator stops, she experiences new things in her life on some floors of the hotel building (singing with a church choir, seeing a couple kiss madly, watching a janitor throw away his money and watches, and blowing up a balloon in the hotel and the balloon explodes, comforting a goth who later grows happy and shares her joy with a man who comes in the elevator) Natasha is having a fiesta party in the hotel and writing Anonymous on the carpets and even finds a love interest, and putting the fireworks on inside the hotel (that stops with her in the first floor, with their end being "unwritten"). According to an TRL interview, Bedingfield chose to make a scene where she gets wet because while filming the North American version of her "These Words" video it was a very hot and sunny day in Rio de Janeiro. This scene occurs the second time Bedingfield sings "Feel the rain on your skin." She and several children jump and dance as they are sprayed by water.

Legacy[edit]

Bedingfield performed this song at the Concert for Diana. Natasha performed this, along with "Pocketful of Sunshine" in the season 7 finale of Degrassi: The Next Generation. It is the theme song to the globally popular MTV series, The Hills.[2] Bedingfield later re-recorded another, slower version of "Unwritten" with production team Carney for use in the final episode of The Hills. "Unwritten" has been featured in the following motion pictures: Ice Princess, The Da Vinci Code, Because I Said So, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 2006 World Champion figure skater Kimmie Meissner has done multiple exhibition programs to the song as well.[citation needed] The song appears in the video games Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol and Thrillville: Off the Rails. While the Johnny Vicious remix appears in Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova 2 along with its original video. The song was used for the 2006-2007 Pantene shampoo television and radio advertisements[3] in English-speaking and other markets. The song is the theme for Ayla Besemer's video weblog, From the PilotHouse (about life on the ship Three@Sea). The song appears in the "Running Around" episode of Cold Case. This song was popularized and used in Pantene shampoo commercials in Spain, Poland, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Unwritten".

UK 2-track CD

(Released 29 November 2004)

  1. "Unwritten" (album version)
  2. "Wild Horses" (live in Sydney)
UK maxi CD

(Released 29 November 2004)

  1. "Unwritten" (album version)
  2. "The Scientist" (live at BBC Radio One Live Lounge)
  3. "If You're Gonna Jump" (Paul Oakenfold Remix 7" Remix)
  4. "Unwritten" (video)
International single

(Released 7 February 2005)

  1. "Unwritten" (radio edit)
  2. "The Scientist" (live at BBC Radio One Live Lounge)
  3. "If You're Gonna Jump" (Paul Oakenfold Remix 7" Remix)
  4. "Unwritten" (album version)
  5. "Unwritten" (video)
US single CD

(Released 23 October 2007)

  1. "Unwritten" (album version)
  2. "Unwritten" (Johnny Vicious Club Mix)
  3. "Wild Horses" (live at the Nokia Theatre, New York)
  4. "Unwritten" (ringtone)
Remixes/Official versions
  1. "Unwritten" (Johnny Vicious Club)
  2. "Unwritten" (Johnny Vicious Radio)
  3. "Unwritten" (Johnny Vicious Warehouse)
  4. "Unwritten" (Johnny Vicious Mixshow Edit)
  5. "Unwritten" (Hani Num Club)
  6. "Unwritten" (Hani Num Radio)
  7. "Unwritten" (Hani Num Dub)
  8. "Unwritten" (Special live acoustic performance for The N)
  9. "Unwritten" (Ultimix Pt.1)
  10. "Unwritten" (Ultimix Pt.2)

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 29 November 2004 (2004-11-29) Digital download and 7" single Phonogenic
Worldwide 7 February 2005 (2005-02-07) Epic
United States 2 August 2005 (2005-08-02)
18 October 2005 Contemporary hit radio

See also[edit]

References[edit]