"The Telephone Call" as written by and Karl/huetter Bartos....
I give you my affection and I give you my time
Trying to get a connection on the telephone line

You're so close but far away
I call you up all night and day

I give you my affection and I give you my time
Trying to get a connection on the telephone line

You're so close but far away
I call you up all night and day
You're so close but far away
I call you up all night and day

I give you my affection and I give you my time
Trying to get a connection on the telephone line

I call you up from time to time
To hear your voice on the telephone line
I call you up from time to time
To hear your voice on the telephone line


Lyrics submitted by Chris_Gough, edited by Euthymia

"The Telephone Call" as written by Karl Bartos Florian Schneider Esleben

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Telephone Call song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentBeautiful piece of music by Kraftwerk.

    one of the only songs that have a love-theme from kraftwerk.

    it's about a guy trying to call the girl he loves, but she won't answer.

    "you're so close, but far away" - he can hear her on the telephone, like she's so close to him, but on the other hand, she's really far.

    "i call you up from time to time, to hear your voice on the telephone line" - he compensates his lost love by only hearing her voice on the phone, not necessarily having a conversation.
    borntoloseon July 27, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm tired of reading all those boy-girl interpretations, especially when applied to bands like Kraftwerk.

    Come on, this song's primarily about telecommunication via telephone. Period. All other meanings are left to subjective interpretation. Well, could be about a couple in love, but could as well be about a phone talk between friends or family members.

    (it's something else with the song "Computer Love", there you could really get the first impression that it's about love, via computers; but not with a song with a factual title like "The Telephone Call")
    RoHLandon September 24, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentRoHLand:
    I understand your point, but the sole absence of the word "love" in the title of the song doesn't mean it doesn't cover that topic. From the lyrics we cannot state that this song is about romantic love, that's true. But the narrator says "I call you up all night and day / I give you my affection and I give you my time". That's definitively love. Maybe not romantic love; maybe mother-son love (some mothers are really addicted to phoning their daughters and sons), but definitively love. Not a commercial relationship... not even friendship. People don't call their friends night and day.
    Alienoon November 10, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe beeps of the dial tone cracks me up. Can't stop laughing. It sounds so silly. Gotta love kraftwerk :))
    I'm too biased now. I love 95% of their songs lol. Song is self explanatory.
    inedibleon August 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn addition to the above, there is also a sample heard at the end that says "The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected." Since it's not part of the official lyrics, you can't put it in. It sounds like it was sampled from the British telephone system. In other words, he's never going to connect to her.
    quampon January 17, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song takes me back to 30 years ago when it first came out. It's heartbreaking. The most emotionally direct song Kraftwerk has ever issued.

    To me, it tells a story, a sad one.

    I hear it as someone who at the beginning of the song is reaching out to another person who is close in one way, by the ability of technology (the telephone) to reach them, but not in another, more important way, emotionally.

    He gives them his affection and time, and perhaps he feels they do not give as much of theirs in return.

    Throughout the song, we hear the "voice of reality" which keeps telling him "we're sorry, the number you have reached has been disconnected." A part of him knows that no matter how hard he tries, the other person has withdrawn.

    By the last verse, he's given up, and no longer calls them up "all night and day" and is no longer trying to "get a connection," but is rather calling them up "from time to time" merely to hear their voice.

    Finally, at the end of the song, the listener hears "we're sorry, the number you have reached has been disconnected" standing alone. The narrator has finally accepted the reality that the other person is beyond his grasp.

    At that time of my life I was very unsatisfied in my love life, pursuing unavailable partners, and this song resonated.
    Euthymiaon February 24, 2018   Link

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