Charlie Puth’s Artistry Is A Work In Progress (Quick Thoughts)

Charlie Puth, Nine Track Mind © Atlantic

There are artists and albums that you really, REALLY want to like. The problem is, things just don’t end up tickling your fancy. It’s even more disappointing if there was hype behind the artist/project and then once it materializes, things just don’t quite work out. That’s the case with pop newcomer Charlie Puth. Charlie Puth has tons of potential artistically. He’s got a pleasant, beautiful voice and based upon his background, he seems to be quite accomplished as a musician. It’s tough to beat superb musicianship.

All those great compliments paid to Mr. Puth, Nine Track Mind, his debut album, ends up being a bit underwhelming. Again, there are moments and it’s drenched with potential (“Suffer” comes to mind), but the ultimate problem with Nine Track Mind is that it comes over as too light – perhaps a bit on the undercooked side. Yes, those pros referenced in the first paragraph are all true and the listener will see them, but there are also some cons that take away from Nine Track Mind.

The ‘Brent Faulkner’ official review will appear on in a couple of days, but the biggest drawback is that Puth plays into his sensitivity too much. Yes, his voice is suited for lighter fare compared to grittier vocalist and YES that’s likely his personality, but it would’ve helped had he went outside of the box a little bit. How does one compensate when your voice is best suited for something yet dabbling too much will result in a boring album? The answer lies within the production and stronger material.

Nine Track Mind definitely isn’t inferior in the production department. However, it wouldn’t have hurt had the production helped to give Puth a little more edge and “oomph” at times, even beyond his own vocal capabilities. As far as the songwriting, well, it’s too safe. Actually, this might be the biggest drawback of the album, more so than the “too nice” vibe that Puth gives off here. As noted in the forthcoming review, “Dangerously” comes off as anything but so. And we already know how corny and arguably ‘unsexy’ “Marvin Gaye” is featuring Meghan Trainor.

So ultimately, its hard not to like Charlie Puth – he seems like a nice guy who’s definitely living his dream. But based upon Nine Track Mind, he’s gonna need more substance and less fluff next-go-round. Yes, there’s some scrumptiousness to be enjoyed, but there’s also some “eh” moments. Shouldn’t “Marvin Gaye” have warned us in the first place?

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