Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Jorge Drexler – Telefonía

Uruguayan Oscar winner takes home the Record of the Year for this piece of pro-telephone propaganda.


Juan F. Carruyo: Here Drexler presents an amusing lyric that seems to be an abstraction about phone lines and such, but eventually reveals itself as a love song. However, I worry that to an Anglophone he might come off as a milder Jack Johnson. He’s so passive, so laid back, I just want him to start a cocaine habit. 

Edward Okulicz: Weirdly, the first comparison that came to my mind was George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” though “Telefonia” isn’t the total snooze that would be implied. Drexler has a soft, sweet voice, and the sweetness of his melody is only enhanced by the clapping rhythm. Strikes me as impossible to hate on account of its geniality but at the same time I struggle to imagine it being anyone’s choice for best anything.

Julian Axelrod: George Harrison’s influence is surprisingly absent from the contemporary pop landscape, and I wasn’t expecting to find it in an acoustic pop ballad from Uruguay. But Drexler’s easygoing charm occupies a similar lane, and not just because he knows his way around a slide guitar. There’s an affirming half-smile to his voice, and it centers a track that can’t help but let a few clouds into its sunny soundscape. It’s relaxed without sounding capital-C Chill, the kind of pleasant lope you can ease into like a hand-me-down jacket.

Crystal Leww: “Telefonía” winning Record of the Year over “X” and “Mi Gente” is like every single time Beyoncé lost to a record much less deserving. I guess the Grammys, Latin or not, are consistent in their rockism and their unwillingness to even feign interest in anything that the youth are interested in, even if the alternative is saccharine dreck. 

Iain Mew: Millennia pass, he sings, but the message doesn’t change. His song contentedly suggests a commitment to a similar musical certainty. Its failure to hit timelessness is mostly a result of too obviously trying for it.

Iris Xie: This song has the sweetness, wholesomeness, and complexity of stories with emotional impact, like in Pixar’s Paperman or any Miyazaki movie. It doesn’t try to do anything flashy, but the entire sequence of melodies from 2:01 to 2:34 conveys the final acknowledgement and exaltation of a difficult situation, but also the peaceful acknowledgment of a bittersweet situation that makes you feel deeply. And that in itself, is a type of happiness, for the chance to feel so deeply. A song to listen to for bittersweet moments that only will bloom for more joyful memories in the future.

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