I Regret To Inform You That My Nemesis Charlie Puth Is Getting His Shit Together

Charlie Puth is ridiculous, however extra importantly, he’s meticulous. His music is toothless, however his dedication to that music and its spoils is ruthless.

The similar Billboard cowl story that depicted the 26-year-old pop singer-songwriter directing his driver to lunch by declaring “I’m hungies!” additionally revealed his singleminded devotion to turning into as impossibly wealthy and cozy as two of the whitebread icons his music exists in continuum with: Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, who shares Puth’s affinity for the finer issues in life — “You know, freshly cut fruits and toilets that greet you when you walk into the bathroom, and Porsches” — and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, whose state of affairs Puth overtly covets. “I just want a studio house like Ryan Tedder,” Puth stated, clarifying, “He has another house for his studio.” Also: “He has candles, so now I have candles. I like candles.”

Hailing from the wealthy white suburb of Rumson, New Jersey, Charles Otto Puth Jr. is brazen in his want for such lavish residing. His easy-listening tunes appear fastidiously calculated to achieve that diploma of success, and his pursuit of it has been cutthroat. In one other Billboard interview — the one the place he gushed about being awed by the Lamborghinis upon his first go to to Beverly Hills and claimed to be “way too bougie” for the “crappy hotel” Atlantic put him up in when his fame was nonetheless confined to YouTube — Puth stated he threatened to withhold his breakthrough hit “See You Again” from the Furious 7 soundtrack except he was allowed to be a featured artist on the monitor and seem within the video alongside lead artist Wiz Khalifa.

That recreation of hardball was cheap — why shouldn’t a songwriter with a voice as brilliant and agile as Puth’s get first dibs at his personal surefire hit? It additionally turned out to be clever, each for Puth and everybody else invested in “See You Again.” The music spent 12 weeks at #1 on the Hot 100, turning into the longest reigning rap music since Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” the most important hit of Khalifa’s profession, and the most-viewed YouTube video of all time. (It was later surpassed by “Despacito.”) “See You Again,” with its heart-prodding refrain and titanic “Whoa-oh!” bridge, additionally served as a launchpad for Puth, validating him as not only a rising business songwriter however a bankable radio powerhouse. It made him a star.

This was nice information for everybody besides these of us with an iota of excellent style, who needed to put up with the saccharine drivel that was “See You Again” all spring and summer time. But at the very least that cloying tribute to the lifeless in all probability supplied some catharsis for individuals in mourning; lord is aware of I’m not proof against Hallmark sentimentality when it meets me the place I’m at. I nonetheless hate that music, however I’ve to at the very least give it credit score for its function in giving thousands and thousands of individuals a very good cry.

Still, in its wake got here the much more objectionable “Marvin Gaye,” a Motown-inspired duet with Meghan Trainor constructed on the face-palm hook, “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on.” Even earlier than Puth acquired round to releasing a complete album on that tip — 2016’s Nine Track Mind, finest recognized for the Selena Gomez duet “We Don’t Talk Anymore” — I had referred to as him “2015’s most egregious rising star” and declared him my sworn enemy. This low-calorie cheeseball was a lot enjoyable to chew up and spit out. For somebody keen on partaking with mainstream pop from a crucial take away, there was no higher whipping boy. He was the GOAT scapegoat.

Sadly, our one-sided feud could also be coming to an finish because of Puth’s new album Voicenotes, out tomorrow after a protracted rollout that carried on for greater than a 12 months. It’s not that he’s immediately advanced right into a beacon of suave expression; his music stays triangulated for optimum publicity and minimal offense, able to dominate dentist’s workplaces and elevators in all places. Nor has he toned down his shameless douchebag tendencies; if something, success has solely ramped up that facet of his character. (I’m by no means letting that “hungies” factor go.) He nonetheless typically comes off like a baby making an attempt to challenge grownup gravitas; bounding his method by an empty constructing within the “How Long” video, sexy-dancing in an open-collared go well with, he may simply be mistaken for an escapee from senior promenade.

But if hanging out with these kings of contemporary adult-contemporary has impressed Puth to embrace his future as a Hollywood cliché, it additionally appears to have initiated a transfer towards extra palatable taste of vanilla. On Voicenotes, he’s up to date his method to retro pop-R&B, buying and selling out the cartoonish Motown pastiche of his first LP for glossy, ’80s- and ’90s-inspired synth jams with a soft-rock disposition. His musicality is sharper than ever. Most of essentially the most obnoxious parts of his earlier music have been toned down considerably. When I discover myself singing alongside along with his new songs, fairly than cringe, I shrug.

Puth now exists on a airplane much like his pal Jason Derulo, who I as soon as dubbed “pop’s most begrudgingly acceptable hitmaker, the high priest of faint praise.” His music is impeccably produced and catchy because the clap, too bland to be nice however too competent to be atrocious. It elicits muted bursts of delight however by no means elation, caught in some numb nether area between the mediocre and the genuinely thrilling. It’s exceedingly, resoundingly, monumentally high-quality.

Derulo, Levine, Tedder: These guys are chameleons, at all times adapting to the sound of the instances. Puth is chameleonic, too, and he proves it on Voicenotes by leaning all the way in which into finger-snapping ballads with Boyz II Men (the a cappella “If You Leave Me Now”) and James Taylor (the acoustic lounge-folk ditty “Change”), serving up every act a music that might match proper in alongside their best hits. Mostly, although, he’s sticking to at least one sound on Voicenotes, this crystalline lite-funk mode that provides him loads of room to flex his falsetto powers and amplify them with each ounce of gloss and sparkle a state-of-the-art recording studio can muster. It labored for him on the bass-powered “Attention” and the fizzy disco hip-swinger “How Long” — tales of being toyed with and copping to infidelity, respectively — and it really works all through most of Voicenotes.

It could by no means work higher than on “Boy,” a music Puth wrote about getting rejected by older ladies. Given his youthful look, it’s fairly humorous to listen to him singing, “You won’t wake up beside me/ ‘Cause I was born in the ’90s/ Baby, how dare you treat me just like a boy?” But musically the music is stellar, a deeply melodious pop tune with a glassy LCD floor, a rippling synth-bass undercurrent, and a virtuosic keyboard solo to high it off. The Kehlani collab “Done For Me,” the crisp and moody “Slow It Down,” and the frenetic “Somebody Told Me” additionally fare properly. And on opener “The Way I Am,” slicing electrical guitars and military-precise drum programming propel Puth’s assured assertion of intent: “I’ma tell ‘em all that you can either hate me or love me, but that’s just the way I am.”

I nonetheless don’t love Puth, however I can’t say I hate him anymore both. His expertise, ego, and excessive averageness are starting to remind me of one other piano-playing diva from the Eastern seaboard too banal to worship however too gifted to dismiss, Billy Joel. There’s a scene from that New Yorker profile on Joel from just a few years in the past that particularly jogs my memory of Puth: After a day of luxuriating at Oyster Bay, throughout a 16-minute helicopter experience from his Long Island dwelling to his month-to-month enviornment gig in Midtown Manhattan, Joel remarks, “You know, if you type ‘Billy Joel’s house’ into Google Maps, you get Madison Square Garden.” The hubris is spectacular, however presumably, so was the present. Puth is hungies for that sort of fame and fortune, and as a lot because it pains me to confess, he could have what it takes to realize it.

CHART WATCH

Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys enjoys the most important debut week of the 12 months to date and units the single-week streaming document within the course of, getting into the Billboard 200 at #1 with 461,000 equal album models and 153,000 in conventional gross sales, topping the 397,000 models that launched J. Cole’s KOD final week. Per Billboard, 288,000 of these models derive from 431.Three million on-demand monitor streams, besting the 384.Eight million Drake acquired for the primary week of More Life. Perhaps craziest of all, Post has two albums within the high 10 concurrently; his 2016 debut album Stoney is again as much as #9 this week and has by no means left the highest 25 in its 73 weeks since launch (although notably it additionally by no means rose above #four).

Keith Urban is in at #2 with 145,000 models/137,000 gross sales for Graffiti U, his seventh top-10 album. Like Post Malone’s LP, Urban’s benefitted from a promotion pairing a duplicate of the album with live performance ticket gross sales, which helps to account for the uptick in gross sales from Urban’s 2016 launch Ripcord. Prior #1 blockbusters J. Cole’s KOD, Cardi B’s Invasion Of Privacy, and The Greatest Showman soundtrack are at #Three, #four, and #5 respectively.

Debuting at #6 is Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer through 54,000 models/41,000 gross sales. It’s her second top-10 album following 2013’s #Three-debuting The Electric Lady. It’s adopted at #7 by the debut of YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s Until Death Call My Name courtesy of 43,000 models/Eight,000 gross sales. At #Eight is one more debut, Godsmack’s When Legends Rise, incomes 40,000 models/36,000 gross sales to turn into the band’s seventh top-10 album. And after Post Malone’s aforementioned Stoney at #9 comes Jason Aldean’s Rearview Town at #10.

Post’s album success interprets to an enormous week on the Hot 100 singles chart as properly. Although Drake’s “Nice For What” is at #1 for a fourth straight week — giving him 15 straight weeks at #1 following his 11-week run with “God’s Plan” — Post turns into the 18th artist within the chart’s six-decade historical past to land three simultaneous singles within the high 10. “Psycho” with Ty Dolla $ign returns to its #2 peak, “Better Now” debuts at #7, and former #1 “Rockstar” that includes 21 Savage rebounds from #32 again as much as #Eight. Notably, Drake additionally continues to have three songs within the high 10: “Nice For What” at #1, “God’s Plan” at #Three, and his look on BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive” at #9.

Is there room for anyone else moreover Drake and Post Malone within the high 10? Well, Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant To Be” is in there at #four, adopted by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey’s “The Middle” at #5. Camila Cabello will get her third top-10 hit as a solo artist as “Never Be The Same” climbs to #6 — I suppose that remix with nation star Kane Brown did its job. And rounding out the highest 10 at #10 is Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left To Cry,” down from its #Three debut final week.

POP FIVE

Selena Gomez – “Back To You”
Like Gomez’s Marshmello collaboration “Wolves,” this acoustic ballad from the brand new season of 13 Reasons Why boasts a humongous refrain and EDM parts adequately subtle to not get in the way in which. It’s not an elite Selena Gomez monitor, however like “Wolves,” I can think about besmirching myself by returning to it typically.

Zayn – “She Don’t Love Me”
Aesthetically, “She Don’t Love Me” could go down because the second the place Zayn Malik discovered the best stability between his adult-contemporary impulses and his want to be a horny cutting-edge R&B singer. But the place are the hooks?

Meghan Trainor – “Let You Be Right” & “Can’t Dance”
I’m somewhat ashamed to confess that I’ve room in my life for half-decent Meghan Trainor singles, however these flimsy issues ain’t that.

Julia Michaels – “Jump” (Feat. Trippie Redd)
In which an emotively breathy top-40 artisan from the major-label machine and a feral SoundCloud-rap individuals’s champ sound completely at dwelling alongside one another. Must be that Midwest connection!

Jessie Reyez – “Body Count”
The rising Toronto R&B singer applies her smoky rasp to some deconstructed acoustic hip-hop and preaches a gospel of private freedom and self-love, from “We don’t care what they say/ We gon’ love who we gonna love” to “I dodge dick on the daily/ I know it’s funny but it’s true/ And I bought this Mercedes all by myself/ Got the papers to prove” with a “Hallelujah!” or two for good measure.

NEWS IN BRIEF

  • Ariana Grande and Mac Miller broke up. [TMZ]
  • Rita Ora groups up with Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX on “Girls,” out tomorrow. [Twitter]
  • Christina Aguilera introduced her first tour in over a decade. [E!]
  • The Rhode Island city the place Taylor Swift owns a home is contemplating permitting parking on her avenue. [Boston Herald]
  • Speaking of Swift, she visited an Eight-year-old fan who had been badly burned in an accident in March. [AZ Central]
  • Pitbull has scored his first film — Gotti, the indie biopic starring John Travolta. [THR]
  • Adele had a Titanic-themed 30th birthday bash. [Billboard]
  • Liam Payne shared a video for his J Balvin collab “Familiar.” [YouTube]
  • Payne additionally did a piano-led, string-laden cowl of Zedd ‘s “The Middle,” however dude isn’t any Maren Morris. [YouTube]
  • Kygo and Miguel launched a video for “Remind Me To Forget.” [YouTube]
  • J. Cole introduced a North American KOD Tour with Young Thug. [PR Newswire]
  • John Legend’s voice might be obtainable as an choice for Google Assistant. [Engagdet]
  • Panic! At The Disco did their new single “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” on Ellen. [YouTube]
  • Sam Smith and Logic launched their “Pray” video. [YouTube]
  • Clean Bandit and Demi Lovato have a single out subsequent week. [Twitter]
  • Spice Boys. [Instagram]

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