Charlie Puth’s ‘Nine Track Mind’: Album Review

Ryan Carey-Mahoney | January 29, 2016 9:30 am
You may not immediately know the name Charlie Puth just yet, but you’ve definitely heard him. He is the voice that launched 1,000 tears on Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” — and rightfully so! From the opening notes on the Grammy-nominated hit, you know he’s packing vocal heat. Sadly, an amazing feature does not a star make. On Nine Track Mind — his first big-label LP released today ()— the singer is out front and center. And you can tell he’s really trying to make great music — even if it never quite ascends beyond plain ole pop.

For the album’s first single, Puth turned to bubble-gum hit maker Meghan Trainor for an assist. They landed on “Marvin Gaye,” an ode to doing the deed that’s more mood-killer than hot and heavy. It was a big hit that never really deserved to be, which may possibly be a recurring theme for the 24-year-old.

“One Call Away,” the second single, has all the makings of a would-be smash. Instead, it gets riddled down with clichés: “I’ll be there to save the day, Superman got nothing on me,” he coos. Rough, I know. But “My Gospel” and “Left Right Left” fall into similar traps, which is sad because they’re at least bit more appealing to the ear.

Not all hope is lost, however. In the club-ready flirt bomb “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” Puth gets steamy with tourmate Selena Gomez in a closet. Like a literal closet: that’s apparently where Gomez recorded her parts. It’s effortlessly sexy, catchy as anything and is begging to be a summer hit.

The sappy melodrama in “Dangerously” serves as an example of the singer’s pop sensibilities coming together nicely, while “Suffer” showcases a slinky soulfulness that points to where he should have gone with his sound.

If it were called Three Track Mind, Puth’s debut would have been stratospheric — but it wasn’t. There were 12 tracks here, most of them oomph-less, head-bobbing pop. His talents certainly promised more than that.

Idolator Score: 3/5

— Ryan Carey-Mahoney

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