It’s very evident that Charlie Puth has grown a lot as an artist over the past couple of years. His debut album “Nine Track Mind” was a mediocre affair which highlighted his raw talent and real potential to be that big pop star he aimed to be. However it was his average production and melodies that heard his songs falling a little flat. Two years later Charlie Puth has reinvented his sound, stepped up his songwriting and delivered a very polished pop record. “Voicenotes” is everything you wanted his debut album to be and more. There are moments where his soulful pop delivery remerges but most of the record is driven by shiny hooks, groovy baselines and funky production. His lead singles “Attention” and “How Long” are bathed in the new production and will have you singing along to the ridiculously catchy hooks instantly. While other single “Done For Me” feat. Kehlani takes this funky sound to sexier and more vulnerable place. I did expect more songs to continue this delivery but instead the softer tracks we did receive are actually some of the weaker moments on the record. “If You Leave Me Now” feat Boyz II Men, “Change” feat. James Taylor and “Through It All” are forgettable at best and will have you disappointed by the strong potential they had. But the soulful “Patient” stands out with a Bruno Mars inspired hook that takes you to this honest and croon worthy place where he explores wanting to hold onto an ex-lover and promising to grow as a person. “I know I’m not what you need but baby I’m gonna be. So please be patient with me”. Most of the record is driven by big synths and album opener “The Way I Am” is one of the funkiest and coolest moments. It has this dominating guitar riff that will have you vibing instantly and once it collides with the synth-pop production it will have you MOVING. “Boy”, “Slow It Down”, “Empty Cups” and “Somebody Told Me” continue this sound and all have their own unique moment which could easily see them being verified as a single later down the track. The moody synth track “LA Girls” is a little forgettable and fails to live up to the highs that the rest of this record creates.
Throughout the whole record I was very impressed with just how much Charlie Puth has grown as an artist. This album is nothing like his debut and that’s a good thing because it was monotonous and boring. Where as this record delivers bold and fun synth-pop moments with honest lyrics and soulful lyrics. Yes, there may be some skip worthy tracks thrown into the mix but it’s significantly stronger and seems to be genuinely more him.