One of the Grammy nominees for Song of the Year was a phone number: “1-800-273-8255” by Logic.
The track is a soulful piece of work that features Alessia Cara and Khalid, and the lyrics are a personal account of loneliness, seeking death, and finding hope in life again. It also served as a powerful PSA. Named for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, it was created in partnership with the federal government initiative—and Adweek named it the second-best ad of 2017.
The song certainly has legs. It was Logic’s breakout hit, peaking at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100, making it the highest-charting phone-number song in Billboard chart history (beating Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny”).
And while it didn’t score a Grammy, it was the focus of a new Google commercial from Droga5—narrated by Logic himself—that rolled out right after his performance of the song on the Grammys telecasing. The spot, made up largely of snapshots, introduced us to a passel of gloriously happy people. But looks can be deceiving.
You don’t actually discover what the video is for until its end, when Logic’s hook washes in (“I finally want to be alive!”). What you discover is this: The folks scrolling past you were all users of the aforementioned phone number, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
“Not every picture tells the whole story,” the video concludes. “Question your lens.”
We’re briefly reminded of BETC’s Louise Delage, the memorable awareness campaign that demonstrated just how hard alcoholism is to spot by inventing an alcoholic influencer whose photos thousands of people liked—thus enabling her. But “1-800-273-8255” rings less like a wrist-slap and more like a beacon: Our lives are complicated. It’s more common than not to feel alone and imperfect in a world punctuated by ridiculously perfect social media posts.
But feeling alone isn’t the same as actually being alone, and a regularly updated, sunny newsfeed isn’t necessarily proof that the person before you is moving through life unscathed.
In addition to serving as a nice reminder, this might actually be the first time in over a decade that anybody actually memorizes a new phone number. Below, find the original music video—also nominated last night, for a Best Music Video Grammy.