We’ve come a long way since Britney Spears’ “Email My Heart.” Computers have downsized to fit in our pockets in the form of smart phones. Texting has ushered in a new era of abbreviated speech and emoji hieroglyphics. We live in constant and instant communication.
It’s no surprise that something so new and revolutionary has become a focal point in numerous artists’ music. Phones—with the concepts of “ghosting” or “new phone who dis”—has created a new way to experience relationships; the use of phones is both connecting and isolating. It joins people who are far apart but maintains distance for those who don’t want to handle emotion up close.
This list is a compilation of seven songs that focus on phones and their uses. Whether they are directly addressed or simply implied, phones have not only changed our lives, but also the subjects of our art.
7. “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” – Soulja Boy ft. Sammie
Starting with a classic, “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” is an example of the connective abilities gained by the device. So many songs dwell on being apart from loved ones, but Soulja Boy solves this problem with a kiss through the phone until he can reunite with his lover (at the end of the music video).
6. “iPhone”- Rico Nasty
Rico Nasty’s “iPhone” is a hyperpop, digital journey of love. Nasty touches on the implications of technology and their ramifications on the personal. Singing in the same verse both “baby, sometimes this life can get lonely” and “I think I need my space” speaks to the fickleness of emotions and how instant communication carries that uncertainty into the relationship.
5. “Cyber Sex” – Doja Cat
Doja Cat’s song is more about the internet itself than phones, but she on numerous occasions acknowledges the use of phones in relation to the net. And as someone born in 1995, “Cyber Sex” demonstrates the the changing definitions of technology. For a younger crowd who’s grown up with the World Wide Web, technology is not differentiated by their capabilities— a phone is no longer specified by its capability to talk to others in real time— but rather their shapes and how they access the internet i.e. chat rooms are associated with computers, and Tinder is linked to phones.
The music video, like Doja Cat’s performance, is a fun, campy spectacle that holds cyber sex not as something dirty, but as a legitimate alternative in the quest to feel good.
4. “Got My Number”- Kim Petras
The Paris Hilton worshipping, Los Angeles-based singer takes a more hedonistic approach when it comes to mobiles. Singing about a stranger she’s just met who she gives her number to, Petras’ song quite literally sings to the interconnectivity of a digital society. A singer who’s known for their love of material and expensive things, “Got My Number” displays people as something to be had in order to satisfy another’s needs.
3. “Dial Tone”- That Kid, Ayesha Erotica, Slayyyter
“Dial Tone” is a fun, flirty bop about the wonders of sexting. It’s treatment of digital sex depicts it as drug to fill the void of loneliness, a fitting motif for this delightfully bold and crass trio.
The singers, through their lyrics, touch upon the interesting contradiction of online intimacy. The perspective of the song is from one who is physically alone but urges for the person at the other end of the wireless connection. Similar to Petras, the song also acknowledges the quickness and excess that comes with mobile devices.
2. “Hello”- Adele
In typical Adele fashion, “Hello” is a heart-wrenching ballad about lost love. Adele approach the lyrics of the song as a voicemail to a past lover whom she perhaps wishes to rekindle a relationship with. What makes “Hello” so painfully tragic is the realization that phones not only give us the power to easily communicate, but to also just as easily ignore.
1. Telephone- Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé
Was there any question about the number one spot? The Gaga/Beyoncé hybrid, even after 11 years, remains a force of nature. The only thing more satisfying that hearing these two pop icons on the same track is getting to see them in the same music video. Or is cinematic masterpiece a more appropriate term?
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