Charlie Puth
Puth cultivates a new voice in his second album (Image via iHeartRadio)
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Charlie Puth
Puth cultivates a new voice in his second album (Image via iHeartRadio)

Puth’s promotional singles hint at a more mature, yet promising sophomore debut.

By releasing hit after hit from his upcoming album, “Voicenotes,” singer-songwriter Charlie Puth has continued to steadily climb up the charts. And, with the debut of his new lead single, “Attention,” in April 2017, the popularity of singer-songwriter Charlie Puth has begun to reach new levels.

Puth’s debut album, “Nine Track Mind,” had seven producers while his current project, “Voicenotes,” has only one, making the album a more personal project for the singer.

Since January, Puth has dropped a hot new single (or two) every month as the album’s May 11 release date approaches, with Puthinators patiently waiting to hear more tracks; fans are no doubt streaming the singles to make the wait more bearable because they know the remaining records will be as captivating as their predecessors.

Puth originally intended to release his new album for fall 2017, but pushed it back several months. In an interview with Billboard, Shawn Mendes (a friend and former tourmate) speaks highly of Charlie Puth and explains the decision to delay the album’s release, saying “Charlie is an incredible musician, he doesn’t settle for anything short of perfection.” Since Puth is recording his new record with only one producer, Mendes’ words rings true.

“Voicenotes” starts over a new leaf for Puth as he is finally able to write the lyrics he’s always wanted to sing. His recording method isn’t changing, though. Since “See You Again,” Puth has continued to record rough cuts and sounds of his hit tracks using the popular iPhone app “Voicenotes,” which is also where Puth got the name of his new album from.

Fans know that an artist’s music style constantly changes throughout their career, but Puth’s still comes as a surprise after the release of “Attention.” The distinctive sound is a long time coming for him, which he admits to Billboard, “I didn’t feel like an artist until ‘Attention’ came out.”

Hard backbeats and guitar strums make “Attention” very different from the soft piano playing heard throughout “One Call Away.” Not only did Puth make changes in his writing, but he also developed his unique sounds with the first single off “Voicenotes.” His debut album is a cycle of one fantastic love ballad after another, but that isn’t the sound that fans hear so far from his sophomore album.

Every fanbase loves when artists feature another phenomenal artist on their albums, and Puthinators are no different. On his debut record, Puth had three guest artists (Meghan Trainor, Selena Gomez and Shy Carter), and so far, his sophomore record is looking to continue the trend with features from Boyz II Men, Kehlani and Puth’s all-time favorite singer, James Taylor. In the past, the artist has named Taylor as his idol and primary influence when discussing his early music career.

No one can forget Puth’s promotional single with Boyz II Men. Featuring a jazzy and R&B style, “If You Leave Me Now” resonates with soul and emotional depth about a relationship long gone. Even though the track appears to be a nod to Puth’s previous love ballads, it distinguishes itself in a few ways, with one of the main differences being the singer’s heavy involvement in the new project.

Puth and Kehlani hit fans with an unforgettable track, “Done for Me,” on March 15. Their voices mesh perfectly, with Kehlani’s voice bringing a more intense vibe to the song. Together, the artists render an authentic performance accompanied by realistic lyrics as they play out two sides of a past relationship.

In an Instagram post, Puth teased the music video for the song by answering a fan’s “waiting for the music video” comment with one word — “soon.” While fans eagerly wait for the official music video to drop, they can check out the official lyric video in the meantime.

“Change,” featuring Taylor, came out the following Monday after Puth’s live solo performance at March for Our Lives on March 24. At first, the words may sound simple if listeners don’t know the background behind the lyrics, but lines such as “we’re all the same, together we can make that change,” convey a deeper meaning, with the single being a dedication to the survivors of the Parkland shooting.

The quality of Puth’s music videos has always been amazing, dating back to “One Call Away,” which shows him playing the piano and crushing on a pretty girl. While the concepts aren’t huge and dramatic, the singer’s lyrics manage to make them sound fresh and one-of-a-kind. In addition, the music videos to “Attention” and “How Long” share the same story but different concepts.

“Attention” follows Puth coming home from an LA party as he fights the urge to get back together with his ex, who constantly tempts him in her red dress. In contrast, “How Long” mostly shows him dancing and smiling around the empty and quiet LA streets late at night. The visuals and direction of both videos couldn’t be any more different, but they still share the same theme.

This summer, Charlie Puth will kick off his Voicenotes tour in Toronto (July 11) with special guest Hailee Steinfeld and wrap up in West Palm Beach, Florida (Sept. 1). Opening acts are a classic way to introduce the main artist, and Steinfeld has a compelling tracklist and can easily pump up fans before Puth steps behind his keyboard. The musical pairing of Puth and Steinfeld will be a collaboration Puthinators won’t want to miss and guarantees to be an exciting and great experience for fans of both artists.

Puth has revamped his music style and shared his personal stories while also growing as an artist and producer. The transition from love ballads such as the ones on “Nine Track Mind” to darker lyrics and R&B style beats on “Voicenotes” will surely make the new record an unforgettable addition to his repertoire.

Writer Profile

Emily Craig

University of North Alabama

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