ALBUM REVIEW: Charlie Puth – Nine Track Mind

Charlie Puth showed so much potential with the release of “See You Again”. His stunning collaboration with Wiz Khalifa fast-tracked him to viral success thanks to it being marketed as the theme-song to the emotionally-charged seventh instalment of the Fast and Furious. It would be foolish to assume that the song only became popular due to the fact it was dedicated to the late Paul Walker – this may have played a role but Puth had been carving a name for himself prior to signing to Atlantic Records with the release of two independent Eps, but it was “See You Again” that catapulted him to success. Success that was continued when he release a solo version of “See You Again” – a version that created so much promise for his debut album Nine Track Mind.

Unfortunately, Nine Track Mind does not live up to this promise. It falls rather short of its intended mark and rather comes off as a rather mediocre attempt at a pop album. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes the album so mediocre. It is not an absolutely terrible album. It would be easy to write down the flaws of terrible album. In its mediocrity, Nine Track Mind is demanding. The endless strive to determine the cause of its mediocrity demands constant repetition, and it is at that point that Nine Track Mind’s inherent flaw is revealed. The instrumental backbone driving Nine Track Mind are repetitive and regurgitated pop melodies. They thrive on contrived clichés regarding the sonic landscapes of pop music – namely it being a bland and uncreative wasteland.

Puth’s saving grace is his song-writing but even that is peppered with lyrical repetition as each song follows the same basic theme of being hopelessly in-love with someone – which is not the most exciting thing that a pop star can sing about these days. Despite this, his lyrics are strong and filled with emotional substance – something lacking in many modern pop lyrics, but the points at which his album shines is his collaborations with rappers. Khalifa has already mentioned, and the only other one to talk about is “As You Are” featuring Shy Carter. These collaborations add a sense of variety to the album as they transcend into the fast-paced world of commercial hip hop. It is just like the presence of Selena Gomez on “We Don’t Talk Anymore” pushes Puth towards Gomez’s brooding world of pop hooks and driving bass riffs.

This is only a debut album, but it does say a lot about the current nature of Puth’s music and it leaves a lot to be desired.



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