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Felix (NO) – “Put Your Phone Away”

Oslo-based newcomer Felix probably thinks you’re reading this on a phone. On “Put Your Phone Away,” a track from his newly released, aptly-titled EP Bedroom Recordings, he implores the object of his tale—presumably a romantic interest whose fixation on her phone prevents her from being mentally present in this moment they’re spending together—to, among other things, “just give this life a try and put your phone away.” The story he tells, in his voice that eerily recalls fellow Scandinavian hero Jens Lekman, is as relatable and familiar as the delightful yet minor-key piano-and-percussion hop-and-skip that gives the song its bright edge.

A track that fixates on phone obsession could take an obnoxiously condescending tone, but on “Put Your Phone Away,” Felix avoids this pitfall. It seems that he realizes, who isn’t at least somewhat addicted to their phones these days? Whether for work, keeping in touch with friends, catching up on the news (and the dread associated with it), or just getting around, our phones are our connections to the world. Much of our addiction to our phones comes out of a deep, human need for the things—whether narcissistic or genuinely useful—they provide. Felix takes issue not with how phones inform our lives, but on one specific sort of phone obsession that’s actually irksome: those one-on-one moments where the other person isn’t at all present in the moment, instead consumed by the screen in front of them.

“Won’t you please just join me by my side/for a day?” begs Felix over his delicate, minimal arrangement, which most certainly sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom or similarly one-person setup (again, incredibly apt EP title). Across “Put Your Phone Away,” he offers a few variations on the same plea—I get it, I do, our phones are amazing portals to the world, but can’t we just have some time to connect without distractions?—to his love interest, across a melody that doesn’t tire even though he varies it only slightly over the song’s three-and-a-half minutes. If music this sprightly, haunting, and inviting can’t free the object of Felix’s desire from her phone-bound state, she doesn’t stand a chance.

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