Charlie Puth gained the attention of the world with his vocal contribution on Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again.” With songs like “One Call Away,” “Marvin Gaye,” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” he continued to give listeners goosebumps. His debut album, Nine Track Mind, was filled with love ballads and heart-warming hooks. Although, that lead to a monotony of similar sounds and less experimentation. However, one special finesse the 26-year-old continues to unswervingly flaunt is his voice.
Voicenotes is his sophomore album and was delayed because it had to be “perfected.” Whenever artists say things like that, they raise the bar a notch higher because all we’d want to hear is an album that has been perfected. After listening to this album, it is indeed worthy of being called a perfected album. Everything from the production, to instrumentation, to the mix is stirring.
The consonance on “LA Girls” is strikingly amazing. This song is like Caribbean cuisine, there’s a fusion of so many ingredients. From his vocals and the production, to his lyrics, the harmonies, and the back-up vocals, there are so many exciting parts on this track. With the combination of all these elements Puth creates a sonic euphony. During the bridge, where he goes “1, 2, 3 talk to me like-oh/Quit messin’ with my baby” it’s hard not to break into a dance.
The bass guitar definitely performs wonders on ”How Long.” It creates a consistent groove over this song. This is like a continuation of the conversation on “LA Girls” where he sings, “How the hell did I get caught up? Messin’ with these LA girls.” On this track, he continues by singing, “Listen, I don’t want this to be the way you remember me, cause I know I was wrong, wrong.” This album features voice notes from his phone, (that’s why it’s titled Voicenotes) and that effect is most evident on “Patient.” The voice note effect is felt with the latent beatbox sound on this downtempo song. This song is like a melodious rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. I imagine the shiver an audience will have during a live performance of “If You Leave Me Now” which features Boys II Men. This a capella song is striking as the vocal harmony between Charlie and the group is stunningly presented. With every line on “Boy,” he unveils an element of surprise with his vocal pitch and rhythm.
“Change,” shares similarities with Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” and sounds inspired yet, unoriginal. On “Through It All,” he mentions that he won’t cry as he looks back at everything he has been through for love. The harmonies on this track are angelic.
The mix of so many instruments is one of the special features on this album. He combines pop sounds with funk, disco, ballads, a capella, and R&B sounds. Unlike his previous album, which consists of mainly piano sounding ballads, he introduces fresh sounds with various instruments. The pop artist shows a lot of growth on this album as a singer and producer. I was waiting to applaud the production team for a phenomenal job, but the high quality sounds are a result of his input. His voice has always been his most highlighted talent. Although he takes his dexterity to a higher level by playing with notes, switching tempos, and presenting vibrant falsettos.
“Attention” was one of the promotional singles for this album and it peaked at number five on the Billboard charts. After listening to this album, I think there are quite a few songs that can compete with that feat. With so many potential hits, Voicenotes is a win for Charlie Puth. Although songs like “Done For Me,” “The Way I Am,” and “Empty Cups” aren’t as tuneful as “Patient,” “BOY,” and “How Long,” it’s almost unnoticeable. A few stronger hooks would have made this album better, but still, it is filled with interesting sounds all the way.
Charlie Puth is still conveying heartbreak in his lyrics, while on some songs managing to break away from that mood while hiding under the shade of confidence and arrogance. With his lyrics, he describes various aspects of his relationships. On “LA Girls,” he is the young, dumb boy who ends up apologizing for his mistakes made in “Patient” and “How Long.” Meanwhile, on “Somebody Told Me,” “Through It All,” and “If You Leave Me Now,” he prepares for the heartbreak that awaits him.
With this album, Charlie Puth finally has the album he has always wanted.