Charlie Puth releases long-awaited third studio album, ‘Charlie’

The twelve-track album is Puth’s most relatable release to date


Courtesy of Charlie Puth’s official Facebook.

By Colin McCarthy, Assistant Sports Editor

Over four years after his sophomore album was released in May 2018, Charlie Puth finally put out a new, full-length album titled after his name, “Charlie.” This release is far more relatable than most of his previous work, combining melancholy lyrics with vibrant melodies to pack an emotion-filled punch in every track.

Puth has released some great songs in the past, but his previous two albums aren’t widely listened to outside of a few main hits. In my opinion, the issue with those releases were that the listener couldn’t feel the same emotions Puth was trying to convey. Catchy lyrics and great vocal performances by Puth helped overcome this emotional detachment, but not nearly enough. Singing sad songs about being famous can only resonate so much with his audience.

“Charlie” is a complete 180 on those previous albums. Now, Puth is more vulnerable than ever and sings about more relatable themes. Many of the tracks on this album tackle the emotions of a breakup and trying to pull yourself back together after one. Listeners, like myself, can certainly find lyrics that they strongly connect to, which is something I can’t say about Puth’s first two albums.

The most notable song on Puth’s third album is “Left and Right” featuring Jungkook, a singer from BTS. Jungkook is the only feature on the entire album and Puth made a great choice collaborating with him. Their voices pair perfectly together on the track and the lyrics are catchy. Puth plays around with the left and right audio tracks in a way I don’t often hear. During the chorus, he isolates one line to the left side audio and then repeats it only on the right side; so, if you listen to the song with headphones on or in the car, it sounds like Puth is on your left and right side. That was an impressive touch that adds even more to this track, which was already a candidate for song-of-the-summer.

Throughout “Charlie,” Puth experiments with several different ways to convey sadness; it seems very purposeful, as different tracks relate to different stages of heartbreak. Some of the best examples of this range are the songs “That’s hilarious,” “When you’re sad I’m sad” and “I don’t think that I like her.”

“That’s hilarious” is a slower heartbreak song that ramps up into an intense chorus and conveys a feeling of being fed up. You get the sense that Puth is sad, but also angry at the irony of the situation he is in. This comes through even stronger when you hear his sarcastic laughter running through the background of the chorus. Singing words like, “you didn’t love when you had me but now you need me so badly” over that laughter paints a clear picture of the frustration Puth is trying to convey.

“When you’re sad I’m sad” offers a different theme and is Puth’s only true piano ballad on the album. There isn’t any extra layering or irony as it’s much more on the nose — a classic song to cry to. This track explores the feeling of being trapped. It describes the moment you know you’re in a toxic relationship, but you just can’t bring yourself to leave it.

Puth paints a clear picture of a chaotic love, and this observation goes back to the fact that this entire album feels genuine and relatable. Puth is singing directly from his heart, about a situation that he probably found himself in at one point or another. The authenticity is what really stands out about “When you’re sad I’m sad,” and I think that song may become the most underrated one on “Charlie.”

“I don’t think that I like her” is much more spot-on with the general vibe Puth was trying to give in his third album, which is sad songs that somehow don’t feel sad. On this track, you get the sense that Puth is frustrated with the “talking stage” of relationships, and although the lyrics make that message clear, the instrumental does not. This is such an upbeat song, and the chorus sounds very cheerful, despite the sadness of the lyrics. I love that juxtaposition and I think Puth executes it very well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this album. Puth’s voice alone keeps me returning to his work every time he releases something new, but in my opinion, “Charlie” is his best work to date. From lyrics and themes to the overall sound, it’s a solid pop album with deep meaning throughout. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a no-skip album, but I definitely resonate with many of the songs and I can already see myself jamming to them in the car on my way to work.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.