Considering phone-related terms like “Ghosting” and “iPhone Elbow” have become acceptable vernacular within the English language, it’s impossible to deny how strongly we’re connected to our phones. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the music world has used modern society’s romance with their cell phones as inspiration for such hits as “Hello” and “Hotline Bling.”
Recently, the one and only Erykah Badu #blessed us with her take on this 2015 digital love affair per the release of her mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone. The self-proclaimed “Analog Girl in a Digital World” tackles different ideas of connection and the intimate relationships we have with each other through our cellphones. Her 11-song mixtape draws significant inspiration from modern music and happenings, as well as past artists and songs. She even gives a creative nod to the Isley Brother’s 1974 hit, “Hello it’s Me.” Badu has once again found a soulful way to reinvent her music while still staying true to herself.
This love triangle we’ve created between us, our phones and our significant other has its ups and downs, as does any relationship. Since our girl Erykah so intelligibly mapped out the dating world in this mixtape, we broke down each song into situations we can all easily relate to. Make sure to listen along to But You Caint Use My Phone for the full Badu experience.
1. Caint Use My Phone (Suite)
Sometimes you just need that one person to reach out to you in a way that doesn’t involve a phone. As much as we love to claim that cellphone communication can be so “complicated,” it’s honestly an effortless chore. Doing a little something extra, like sending flowers or writing a letter, can really make all the difference.
2. Cel U Lar Device
As humans, we tend to think about the past a lot. The good, the bad, the ugly and the exes. Ok, sometimes the exes fit into one of those categories. Whether this is a healthy practice or not is really situational, but usually when thinking of an ex or old flame, it’s not positive. Put down the phone and don’t drunk text that ex. Maybe don’t do it sober, either
3. Phone Down
In a smart phone generation where it’s hard to grab someone’s attention and nearly impossible to keep it, we all need to exude Badu’s confidence with her line from this track… “I can make you put your phone down.” In fact, that might just be your next best pick up line you haven’t used yet… you’re welcome.
4. U Use to Call Me
Remember that one person you used to spend countless hours a day texting, calling, Instagramming, Tweeting, and all that other weird stuff we use our phones for? Sometimes you see them or they cross your mind and you realize how much time you spent, or wasted, on them. This realization can bring up a lot of memories. But hey, who’s living in the past anyway!? *Takes out phone & starts to Instagram stalk ex’s new gf*
5. Mr. Telephone Man
That special interest in your life isn’t picking up the phone. Did they:
A) Get a new number
B) Get too busy and didn’t pick up
C) Not see your missed call/text
Sorry, the answer is none of these. You’ve just been ghosted (Google it) and it sucks. But that’s why we move on and do better.
6. U Don’t Have to Call
Is Mr. Telephone Man still not picking up? You have two choices: 1) Wallow in your sorrows (not highly recommended) or 2) Hit up your group chat and tell your friends, “We’re going out tonight. It’s gunna be lit!” Either way, the moral of the story is: that person who continues to ignore you doesn’t need to check up on you. They’ll clearly see how much fun you had on Instagram tomorrow.
7. Medley: What’s Yo Phone Number/ Telephone
You’re out with your friends having a great time. You spot the cutie across the bar. You can throw compliments at them all day long and flirt into next week, but the main takeaway from this is to not forget the digits! “Soooooo can I have yo number??”
Okay, you’ve probably stopped at this track and realized this song has very little to do with dating and also did she just say something about Bees? Yeah, well let’s just take a break and appreciate this song and its references to Baduizm history.
9. I’ll Call U Back
Sooooo about the other night. You did that funny thing you always do when you’re drunk where you give out your REAL number to people you’re definitely not interested in. This was probably not your best moment, and when they called you the next day you hit them with the, “I’m busy I’ll call you back” line even though you were just lying in bed watching Bob’s Burgers re-runs.
It’s the white lie we’ve all told someone. It’s easier to avoid face-to-face contact than ordering food on Grubhub. Sometimes, this is necessary. Most of the time, it’s just straight up rude. Whatev, just add it to the “shit you deal with in your twenties” list.
The anguish you feel when you love someone, but you know you need to set them free and let them do their own thing. There is still love between you two, but a relationship cannot continue. For some of the lucky ones a friendship is still feasible, but many can’t make it work perfectly. It happens to the best of us *sigh*.