It’s come out later than scheduled, but pop star Charlie Puth has finally released his second album of memorable tunes, Voicenotes, just in time for summer.
The 26-year-old kicks things off with The Way I Am, a simple-but-catchy, summery R’n’B pop tune. Attention and LA Girls have a similar vibe, but opt for generic heartbreak themes. Again, the songs are slick, and melodic, as if Sam Smith or Shawn Mendes had gone down a more electric R’n’B route.
While lyrically, Puth remains pretty stagnant throughout, the music gradually shifts from chilled summer vibes to the sort of dance/funk favoured by Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake – How Long and Done For Me are particularly good examples of this – before Boy jumps into Ibiza synth mixed with 80s synthpop, in what is the best track here. Somebody Told Me is equally bright and strong. Change, featuring songwriting legend James Taylor, offers a dynamic change with finger-picked acoustic guitars and bluesy piano licks.
It’s hard to shake the feeling this album is nothing new. Puth is offering a tried-and-tested formula of pop songs, on which he vocally emulates Timberlake. Voicenotes has some great hooks and melodies but its lack of originality means it falls short.
Edited by Nicole Moraleda