In “All I Need”, as Noname laments her desires in life, she describes herself as an “Unorthodox paradox in a pair of Doc’s.” It’s true for the album too, a nostalgic trip down pain and beauty, told from the voice of a woman. The unorthodox found with a woman’s perspective in a space dominated by masculinity. The paradox of blackness in America, where blackness is beauty and rich culture–for Noname it’s also history and community, but being black in America has always been patterned by hardship and challenges.
Doc’s, other than being nice shoes, is a goofy end to unorthodox paradox. It’s instantly personable, much like Noname, and that goes far in creating the impactfulness and cohesion of Telefone. The jovial tunes never lose sight of the weight, and the dark clouds always come with silver lining. Telefone is a vital perspective in an alluring package; it’s emotional, important, and entertaining. All you need to do is pick up the phone–and listen.