For those of you who aren’t aware, our favorite pop heartthrob Charlie Puth blessed the world with two new singles in the past couple weeks: “I Warned Myself” and “Mother.” With a new buzzcut and his signature scarred eyebrow, Puth returned from his musical hiatus with a bang.
“I Warned Myself” was the first single released and it essentially revolves around Puth’s bad taste in women. The song, and the fiery music video, ooze bad boy vibes. But if you think Puth couldn’t get any badder, you’re wrong. In his most recent single, “Mother,” Puth is a perfect angel in front of his partner’s mom, but the moment the door closes he turns into a criminal, in the best possible way. The two songs couldn’t be more different in terms of melody and tone, but in both of the tracks, Puth proves that he perfectly plays the part of the bad boy.
Now I’m not claiming that Puth has portrayed himself as a perfect angel in his previous music. He’s dumped girls in “LA Girls,” cheated on his partner in “How Long” and begged for forgiveness in “Patient.” But, ignoring the previous exceptions, he’s been a sappy and sweet boy-next-door type. He melted the heart of every teenage girl in “Then There’s You,” singing “Some girls walk in the room and everything remains / but when you opened up the door, my life completely changed.” And it’s impossible not to swoon when Puth says in “Some Type of Love,” “When I’m old and grown / I won’t sleep alone, woah / Every single moment will be fading into you / That’s some type of love.” But his two newest singles change his whole persona, pushing him into a whole new musical era.
“I Warned Myself”
Before even listening to the song, the cover art of the single blatantly portrays Puth as a bad boy. Long gone are his tousled, messy tresses. His luscious hair has been buzzed off and instead of looking like a high school heartthrob, he looks more like a hardened criminal. With his collar popped in the black and white photograph, Puth gazes at the camera, with the shadow over his face giving him a mysterious aura.
The beginning of “I Warned Myself” is sudden, catchy and liable to take your breath away. In sharp staccatos Puth sings, “I warned myself that I shouldn’t play with fire / but I can tell that I’ll do it one more time / Don’t trust in myself, (mm) no good for my health (mm) / You mess with my heart, now you’re the reason why.” Puth’s halting words serve as a warning, not only to himself, but to anyone who’s thinking of knowingly entering into a toxic relationship.
His voice seethes with anger directed at himself and his scorned lover. And who would blame him for being angry? His supposed girlfriend lied about her ex and even threatened to choke Puth if he told anyone about their relationship: “Do you remember when you said to not tell anybody? / ‘Cause if you do, I’ll be the first to put my hands around your throat.’” Not surprisingly, Puth still sings well even when he’s choking. His smooth tone and lingering falsetto voice give the song a perfect mix of longing and anguish.
Puth’s heartbreak, and subsequent desire for revenge, is front and center in the music video for “I Warned Myself.” The opening scene features Puth standing in front of a burning doorframe in a skintight white T-shirt. You know, just your typical bad boy material. The rest of the video is a hypnotizing blur of fire, hot girls and dramatic shots of Puth looking sultry. The video ends with Puth climbing out of the window of his Jaguar as it speeds over the desert; what’s more badass than staring certain death in the face as you stand on top of a driverless sportscar?
Don’t let the title of this track fool you, for it is anything but innocent. The first few bass notes of “Mother” are mischievous, hinting at the suggestive lyrics to come. The sharp, constant background beat will have listeners unconsciously tapping their toes and the catchy chorus will undoubtedly be stuck in your head for days.
The song is incredibly flirtatious and drips with forbidden sexual energy. In his signature silky smooth falsetto, Puth croons, “If your mother knew all of the things that we do / If your mother knew all the things we do / If your mother knew, she’d keep me so far from you.” Puth has his lover’s mother fooled, but once the doors close, he’s a certified bad boy. From sneaking out the window to escaping in a getaway car, Puth is a terrible influence, but that’s what makes him so exciting.
The parents of Puth’s partner in crime absolutely hate him. No self-respecting parent wants their daughter to be sneaking around with some guy they can’t trust. But that’s what makes a bad boy like Puth so irresistible. The singer knows he’s gotten on the mother’s bad side: “Next time that she sees me (hey) / She gon’ act like she don’t know me (does she know me?) / ‘Cause she knows all of the story / Now your daddy wants to kill me.” “Mother” ends on a sweet note, with the piano playing softly in the background, but Puth’s playful tone belies the fact that he’s definitely not wholesome.
Being Bad Just Feels So Right
Puth has reinvented himself with the release of two new singles, the first songs that he’s released since his 2018 Grammy-nominated album, “Voicenotes.” “I Warned Myself” and “Mother” are dangerously catchy songs, with addictive beats and lyrics that are brimming with emotion. Once again, Puth shows that he deserves a spot as one of the most versatile and talented pop stars of our time. And with these new singles, Puth proves that being bad has never looked, or sounded, better.