For every artist, a sophomore album is a real challenge and a crucial opportunity to prove your talent and your musical abilities to the world. Charlie Puth stands with his follow-up to 2016’s ‘Nine Track Mind’ which was highly critisised– except his sophomore album, ‘Voicenotes’, has already given him some good news with ‘Attention’ and ‘Done For Me’ (Ft Kehlani).
The bass-heavy, feisty ‘Attention’ (which hit No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 last August) introduced a saucier retro side of Puth, who’s directing his music career into a more mature sound. And let’s be clear, ‘Voicenotes’ is a major step up from ‘Nine Track Mind’, but to be honest that album was pretty bad. So no big deal about it.
One thing to admire and we have to admit is that Charlie Puth has handled the whole production of this new album. He has a nice talent for soft catchy melodies, but the problem is that they’re nothing innovative. Whether they’re upbeat or heartfelt, the tracks on this ‘Voicenotes’ sounds like the trend, the easy way to make your tracks to be played on the radio. Also, his lyrical abilities have improved in this two years, but they’re still going around the same stuff over and over again.
Maybe the main problem with this record, is that we already heard all the good tracks before his release. ‘The Way I Am,’ which sees electric guitar intermixed with a wavy beat with a confidence which is also present into the other singles and promotional tracks including ‘Attention’ and the super-catchy follow-up ‘How Long’. Don’t also forget ‘Done For Me’ ft Kehlani which is the best track he has ever released, just classy, effective and insanely addictive.
The problematic ballads of the bunch (‘Patient,’ ‘If You Leave Me Now’ and ‘Change’) give Charlie’s smooth vulnerable voice room to breathe but also give the listener the opportunity to escape and immerse themselves in other important stuff like laundry, sleeping or whatever. Sorry, but they are such a downgrade from the uptempo stuff.
Special mention to ‘Slow It Down’ co-written by Daryl Hall and John Oates – from the Hall & Oates –, which is the Magnus opus (along with ‘Done for Me’) of the album. From the synthy ‘80s beat to the disco influences and the robotic voice at the chorus, everything is so so right about it. To much replay value and should definitely be a single in the future.
Charlie Puth was able to create a 13-song album that clearly shows growth in the right direction, his production abilities and adaptability has improved. Also, is well know that Puth was extremely nervous about how the ‘Nine Track Mind’s’ follow-up will be perceived, so he put his best into ‘Voicenotes’ which has some loose ends especially with the ballads but excels with the uptempo tracks which shows the direction that Charlie’s should follow up in the future. Properly progress.