Look, we’ll be the first to admit that we get Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth mixed up. But while Mendes is prepping his album (admittedly sounding great already), young Charlie gives us Voicenotes. And it’s not that bad at all.
In terms of mainstream pop goes, there’s a lot to love here. lead single Attention is a proper earworm, making the most of a funk-driven beat and Puth’s personality. Of course there’s nothing groundbreaking in terms of content here – LA Girls somehow frames the eponymous females as wrong ‘uns, while How Long is a caught-in-the-act ‘you been acting so shady’ song we’ve heard so many times before.
But fuck us if it isn’t just great fun to listen to. The singles have all proven that already (including the Kehlani-featuring Done For Me) but Charlie Puth also seems to have aspirations beyond plain pop. His James Taylor and Boyz II Men collaborations are surprisingly good, the former’s breeziness mercifully outweighing the latter’s schmaltz.
When Charlie Puth veers away from his sense of fun, he falters. Patient is a by-the-numbers ballad that doesn’t match up to BOY (those vocal runs will get you pregnant, just FYI), and the rest of the album does well to keep up the funk-inflected tunes. It’s bloody hard to sneer at, and by the time Empty Cups rolls around we’re probably sold on Puth’s popstar quality. He’s certainly one of the better blokes out there, and his Voicenotes are sketches of momentary brilliance.