Track Review: Charlie Puth, ‘Attention’
Charlie Puth returns with “Attention,” presumably the promo single for his sophomore album. “Attention” is a step up, but Puth hasn’t conquered just yet.
Calling Charlie Puth a critical darling would be the ultimate overstatement. The characterization of critical darling for Mr. Puth would be a flat-out lie. His debut album, Nine Track Mind was panned universally, receiving a mere score of 37 on Metacritic. The question is, what made Nine Track Mind so unlikable? Suspect songwriting and the lack of assertiveness about Puth’s performance are the biggest offenders. Now with the run of Nine Track Mind complete, he returns with a new single, “Attention.” Is “Attention” a step forward for the artist? Yes.
First and foremost, “Attention” doesn’t transform Charlie Puth into Superman, rather a legit, pop powerhouse. It does, however, up the ante, finding him stepping up his game. His falsetto was among his strong suits on Nine Track Mind, and it’s even stronger on his performance on “Attention” – save for that moment where his voice cracks… Naturally, his lighter tone of voice isn’t suddenly going to become a robust, formidable instrument, but he packs more punch than his last outing.
As far as the production, it is also a step up on “Attention.” Too many times on Nine Track Mind, there was a conservativeness about the backdrop that cheapened the results. While there’s still an overabundance of repetition on “Attention,” this particular record still feels stronger. If nothing else, the danceable groove is enough for a good foot tap or two.
The final component is songwriting. It’s nothing game changing, but flirty without being the least bit distasteful. Like Nine Track Mind, Puth’s suggestiveness isn’t very suggestive, thanks to his overt sensitivity.
“You’ve been runnin’ round, runnin’ round, runnin’ round / Throwin’ that dirt on my name / ‘Cause you knew that I, knew that I, knew that I’d call you up…”
This, arguably, still makes “Attention” a tougher sale compared to other artists who might pull off the suggestive, sexiness off more convincingly. Arguably, the best lyrical moment occurs on the pre-chorus:
“I know that dress is karma, perfume regret / You got me thinking ‘bout when you were mine…”
Still, Puth trends lite – diet as opposed to possessing all the fat, calories, and sugar.
All in all, “Attention” is a step up for Charlie Puth. He’s not conquered, but “Attention” shows more potential than some of his previous work, save for “See You Again.” Still, taking more risks would bode well in his favor, as “Attention” still possesses predictability.