As I’ve mentioned before, I work for a Telecommunications Service Provider and have done since 2006.
Whilst traveling to work the other morning, I was listening to one of the tracks on this list and it got me thinking about the telephone and its impact on society.
The majority of my waking life appears to be underwritten by music and so I’ve decided to compile my a list of telephone related tracks from my extended playlist.
The telephone is ringing, is that my Mother on the phone?
The telephone is screaming, won’t she leave me alone?
Track 4 on the 5th and final studio album from the Police, Synchronicity. Synchronicity is probably my favourite Police album, if not one of my favourite albums overall.
Mother is a brief burst of anger on what is otherwise quite a serene album. Written by Andy Summers, the track by no means represent my own opinions with regards my maternal parentage; the track has made it onto previous mobile phones as the ring tone for my Mother however.
Blondie was one of the guilty pleasures of my youth, I’m not sure where I first came across Debbie Harry – probably one of my parents had an album.
As innocent a youth as I was then, I did not pin the undertone to the song that I do now. For some reason, knowing more about Debbie’s colourful past has coloured her songs when I listen to them.
Blondie also released Hanging On The Telephone but I prefer Call Me, mainly due its cover by Skye Edwards. Skye has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard.
Put your tongue into the mouthpiece…
…and whisper in my ear.
I discovered The The in my mid to late teens, looking back I can see how the lyrics and music would appeal to an angsty rebellious youth.
I still love to listen to The The though, there’s a kind of discordant melody fused out of Matt Johnson‘s voice and the underlying symphonies of some of his tracks. Or maybe that’s just the angsty-teen reviving within me… or maybe I’m a closet Emo.
Seriously, if Emo types were to listen to The The instead of The Used, the world would be a brighter place.
Water is our business…
Electricity is our business…
Gas is our business…
Lines are our business; Business is our business!
I know it may seem a stretch to link this track to Telephony and I know most lyric sites would tell you differently but the quote above has seared this track into my mind as one associated with Telephony (amongst other things).
In fact, as Jaz bellows the penultimate line “Lines are our business” there is an actual dialing/ringing tone playing in the background. So I feel somewhat vindicated in my opinion on this one.
This is one of the only musical tracks that actually make me feel like I’ve sold out, the other being Money Is Not Our God. Here I am, working for the very kind of company that the song rails against!
Call all you want but there’s no-one home and you’re not gonna reach my telephone.
When I first heard Lady GaGa, I detested her but she must use the right kind of subliminals in her backing tracks because over the last 12 months she’s grown on me (like athlete’s foot).
More than her music, I like her overt use of occult symbolism. Forget your kabbalah cults and new age gurus; GaGa takes it back to grass roots Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn level pomp and ritual.
This track pretty much sums up my opinion of telephone use. I am a lot better now than I was a decade ago but I still don’t like taking calls. If I’m not expecting a call, especially on the land line, I sometimes get a little rush of anxiety when the phone rings.
I once mentioned it to my nurse (all Diabetics get one, you should try it) in passing, more as a humorous aside than anything else. She offered me counseling!
Of course, I turned her down; I’m perfectly capable of taking calls, I just find them rude and invasive – unless from friends and family.
Lyrics, symbolism and neurosis aside; the video is pretty good too… In a Kill Bill meets Strangers On a Train kind of way.
Feelings unknown and you’re all alone,
Flesh and bone on the telephone.
Pick up the receiver, I’ll make you a believer.
Apparently their 23rd UK single (take note fellow Erisians); this is one of my favourite DM tracks (along with Blasphemous Rumours and Enjoy The Silence).
The song has a variety of different meanings depending on who you ask. Personally I prefer the theory that the song relates to telephone sex lines.
The track just has an element of seediness to it; the sense of a cloying desperate need for emotional and physical contact with another… or maybe that’s my inner Emo again.
And it’s all your fault,
I screen my phone calls,
No matter who calls,
I gotta screen my phone calls.
Finally, my favourite telephone based track of all time. I love it when this comes up on Rock Band!
This song was the first to ever encapsulate my utter contempt for telephony. Back in those dark brooding days (yet again with the inner Emo) when every waking moment would be plagued by a call, out of the blue.
Where are you man?
What are you doing?
What? Where? When? How? Why? … and who with? All these questions and more; and it only got worse when I eventually succumbed to the pressure of mobile telephony.
Before I had a mobile, people would actually call the people that they thought I was with, purely because they couldn’t get hold of me any other way. Once I had a mobile, I had to screen the calls just to get a moment to myself.
I’ve heard people speak of the advent of mobile telephony as being one of the greatest turning points for modern civilisation. What mobile telephony did for me was rip aside the final shred of privacy that I clung to.
It wasn’t all bad though. Most calls could be screened, as in Lady Sovereign‘s 9 to 5:
Private callers get no love from me,
Just let me be…
I’m a lot calmer person when it comes to telephones now, I have to be. Ironically, I have probably got the world’s finest telephone manner. I’m often complemented on my voice and mannerisms but then maybe that’s how I learned to deal with my telephone issues.
Like the great Lumley wrote:
When he yawns his great jaws at you, go in through them, for he’s softer on the inside!
From Brian Lumley’s Necroscope 4: Deadspeak