Charlie Puth- Voicenotes
For young, primarily white pop stars, an R&B approach is a tried-and-true way to give their more svelte personas more edge. Charlie Puth is the most recent artist to do this, and while his efforts on Voicenotes are admirable, he still needs to demonstrate that he can compete with the Justin Timberlakes and Nick Jonases of the oversaturated music industry.
The album’s home-made vibe lends it familiarity and warmth. It was totally recorded on his “little Pro Tools rig with a MIDI keyboard and a microphone.” The R&B influence from the 1980s and 1990s that permeates every note is effectively offset by this. The sultry Kehlani duet “Done For Me” most effectively draws from those influences as the two coo to one another over a nocturnal, Eighties synth riff. Other songs like “Attention,” “Empty Cups,” and “How Long” have slinky basslines that are ideal for radio-soul-pop.
Each ballad on the album is a little more forgettable than the last, slowing down the album’s flow. Despite Puth being lost in the band’s heavenly harmonies, Boyz II Men contribute a little piece of authentic R&B nostalgia. Even while the words to the well-intentioned song “Change,” in which the pair constantly pleads, “Why can’t we just get along?” are a little syrupy, James Taylor’s voice later on is a pleasant hint of silkiness. After “Empty Cups”‘s hedonistic joy, the album’s closing track, “Through It All,” puts a desperate whimper on the proceedings.
Puth established himself as a skilled pop musician to be taken seriously from the moment he reached the top of the pop charts with the Wiz Khalifa collaboration “See You Again.” Voicenotes feels like, at the very least, a step in the right direction, unlike his subsequent debut album, Nine Track Mind, which struggled to establish his identity among a sea of bright-eyed male pop stars.
Stream Voicenotes by Charlie Puth and let us know what you think
Charlie Puth”s Voicenotes’ Tracklist
The way I am
Done for me
If you leave me now
Slow it down
Somebody Told me
Through it all
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