A sophomore album can be the make or break of an artists career, but Charlie Puth has dared to push the boundaries of pop music with his bold and brilliant Voicenotes.
When Puth released his debut, Nine Track Mind back in January of 2016, he captured the hearts of young teens with his velvet voice and chart-topping hits One Call Away, Dangerously, See You Again and Marvin Gaye. And whilst Puth described it as a mixtape album that he used to find his sound, there were hints of a true talent entwined within tracks We Don’t Talk Anymore ft. Selena Gomez and Suffer.
When Puth returned with heavy based and insanely catchy Attention in the summer of 2017, he ignited something within the world of pop music that had tongues wagging. The 26-year-old hadn’t even announced details of Voicenotes, but his new music couldn’t be any further away from the clean-cut, sweetheart sound that his adoring fans were used to.
Originally set for release in January, Puth pushed back Voicenotes because quite simply, he wanted it to be right. And the dedication to the album shows, too. Having both written and produced each track while working alongside talents including James Taylor and J Kash, there’s no denying Puth’s a sensationally talented musician; his perfect pitch – which is only known to be present within one in 10,000 people – allows him to craft his music to whole new levels, paired with delicately layering beats with synths and hits of his love classic jazz.
Charlie has been incredibly open with fans about the tales behind this album. Speaking to Billboard earlier in the year, he opened up about his relationship with Selena Gomez, who is highly rumoured to be the inspiration behind track number four, How Long. Unlike Nine Track Mind, Voicenotes has a story to tell; there’s no hiding for Puth here, the lyrics are powerful. Opening track The Way I Am speaks for itself, where he boldly declares “you can either hate me or love me, but that’s just the way I am”.
And it doesn’t stop there. When Puth released Attention, he showed himself in a new light after he had his heart broken. But it’s the heartbreak that has aloud Charlie to craft such powerful lyrics, whether the track is him telling a girl to “Stop treating him like a Boy” in Boy or the devilishly good Done For Me and asking for some breathing space in Slow It Down. Each song is addictive and totally relatable for anyone that’s gone through the trials and tribulations of a youthful relationship. At 26, he’s been through a lot – give Through It All a listen for that one – but he’s brave in admitting that he’s far from always being the victim in Guilty Cup.
Littered between Puth’s tales of his seemingly challenging love life, are the beautiful Change, which he performed at March For Our Lives and the soothing If You Leave Me Now ft Boyz II Men.
Puth has made it hard to pick up faults in this album, and despite his worries in how it would fair up against Nine Track Mind, he’s certainly stepped it up a notch, releasing 13 bold, glistening and unbelievably catchy tracks that I’m sure will be the soundtracks to many summers. He may only still be in the early stages of his career, but Puth’s success is unprecedented.
Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid or gifted this album to review. All opinions are my own.