Telephone (song)

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Single by Lady Gaga featuring Beyoncé
from the album The Fame Monster
ReleasedJanuary 26, 2010 (2010-01-26)
  • Darkchild
  • Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga singles chronology
"Bad Romance"
"Bad Romance"
Beyoncé singles chronology
Music video
"Telephone" on YouTube

"Telephone" is a song by American singer Lady Gaga from her third EP The Fame Monster, featuring American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles. The main inspiration of the song was Gaga's fear of not being able to enjoy herself because of her career, hence the lyrics show the singer as wanting the dance floor, rather than answering her lover's phone calls.[2]

Gaga explained that the telephone addressed in the lyrics of the song, is in reality a person telling her to continue working harder. Musically, the song is made of an expanded bridge, verse-rap and an epilogue, where the voice of an operator says that the phone line is not reachable. Knowles appears in the middle of the song, singing the verses in a rapid-fire way, accompanied by double beats.

"Telephone" was appreciated by contemporary critics who many times noted it as a stand-out track from The Fame Monster. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Development[change | change source]

Lady Gaga originally wrote the song "Telephone" for Britney Spears. Spears later recorded a demo version of the song but the demo version later leaked. Lady Gaga later wrote the song as a collaboration with Beyoncé Knowles for The Fame Monster.[3] Gaga said, "I wrote it for her [Spears] a long time ago and she just didn't use it for her album. It's fine because I love the song and I get to perform it now."[4] Additionally, the guest vocalist was originally going to be Spears, but ultimately Gaga made Knowles the featured vocalist instead.[5][6] The main inspiration behind the song was Gaga's fear of suffocation as she felt that she seldom found time to just let loose and have fun.

Fear of suffocation—something that I have or fear is never being able to enjoy myself, ... 'Cause I love my work so much, I find it really hard to go out and have a good time. ... I don't go to nightclubs, ... You don't see pictures of me falling out of a club drunk. I don't go—and that's because I usually go and then, you know, a whiskey and a half into it, I got to get back to work.[7]

In May 2011, Gaga said her "emotional connection" with the song was very hard. When she was asked if it was because the song was originally written for Britney Spears, she answered: "Well that’s not exactly what happened, but I don’t want to delve into that. I could delve into it if you turn that (motions to recorder) off... But ultimately the mix and the process of getting the production finished was very stressful for me. So when I say it’s my worst song it has nothing to do with the song, just my emotional connection to it."[8]

Music video[change | change source]

The video for the song was uploaded to YouTube on March 15, 2010. It features Gaga in a women's prison and Beyoncé bailing her out. In the beginning of the video, Gaga is shown walking around the prison and arrives to the yard, where "Paper Gangsta", a song from her debut album The Fame, is playing, as one of the women exercises. Gaga's younger sister Natali makes a cameo appearance just before Gaga picks up the phone to talk to Beyoncé. The two singers are then shown fleeing the prison in the Pussy Wagon and arrive to a restaurant, where they eventually poison all of the customers. The nine-and-a-half-minute-long video for "Telephone" is meant to be a continuation of that for "Paparazzi", where Gaga was shown being arrested.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Telephone Songwriting credits". Broadcast Music Incorporated. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
  2. "The many faces of Lady GaGa « Voice 21". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  3. Greenblatt, Leah (2009-11-16). "New Lady Gaga, 'Telephone': Stream It Here". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  4. India, Press Trust (2009-11-26). "Pop princess Britney Spears snubbed Lady Gaga". Zee News. Zee Entertainment Enterprises. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  5. Reporter, Staff (2009-10-26). "Lady Gaga's 'Fame Monster' – it's a proper album (and a very good one at that)". Popjustice. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
  6. Staff Reporter (2010-01-09). "Lady Gaga – Telephone". Popjustice. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  7. Vena, Jocelyn; Calloway, Sway (2009-11-25). "Lady Gaga Explains Inspiration Behind Beyoncé Collabo, 'Telephone'". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  8. "Lady Gaga Interview". Popjustice. 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-05-24.