No more I love you’s

Char­lie Puth is done with singing love bal­lads.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Music - By MICHAEL CHEANG en­ter­tain­ment@thes­ By WIL­LIAM ROBERT FER­RER

WHEN it comes to Asian su­per­stars, there are few who are as big as Jay Chou.

The Tai­wanese artiste has been at the pin­na­cle of Asian star­dom for as long as we can re­mem­ber, with best-selling al­bums, hit movies, and sell-out con­certs all over the world.

Chou will soon be em­bark­ing on his world­wide The Invincible 2 Jay Chou Con­cert Tour 2018, and Malaysia will be the sec­ond “NO more love bal­lads,” Char­lie Puth de­clares. “That was peo­ple nudg­ing me in a di­rec­tion that I didn’t want to go in.”

Puth, of course, is al­lud­ing to his first al­bum, Nine Track Mind, a com­mer­cial suc­cess that failed to land with crit­ics. Packed with love songs, the al­bum is an ex­er­cise in rep­e­ti­tion. But Puth says those never-end­ing tales of tor­tur­ous and un­re­quited love do not de­fine him, his style or his ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Like, not that they don’t mean that much to me, it’s that they weren’t me,” Puth says. “Those songs weren’t me.”

When asked about Mar­vin Gaye, his ca­reer-mak­ing duet with Meghan Trainor, Puth just laughs. “Dude, I wrote that song for Cee Lo (Green)! I wrote that song as a joke! And it ended up be­ing like a big hit!”

It’s not that the Gram­mynom­i­nated singer (for See You Again, his duet with Wiz Khal­ifa) doesn’t ap­pre­ci­ate what his first al­bum has given him. Rather, he sees his first record as rite of pas- sage, a step­ping stone to the artiste he’d like to be.

“But the mu­sic that you’re go­ing to hear from this new al­bum ... I’ve proven my­self,” he says. “I’ve writ­ten hits for other peo­ple, and I’ve writ­ten hits for my­self in a very short amount of time.”

Puth’s sopho­more al­bum Voice Notes is due this fall.

Ac­cord­ing to Puth, his more au­then­tic self is of­ten som­bre and im­per­fect, a far cry from the “pris­tine boy pop won­der” (his words) im­age pro­mul­gated by Nine Track Mind.

“You know I’ve had some dark thoughts be­fore and some dark times in my life and I’ve been re­ally messed up,” Puth says.

His next al­bum, he hopes, re­flects that side of him. De­scrib­ing the track list, he talks of songs about “(be­ing) in this club by my­self, danc­ing with some per­son, and I have no idea what her name is,” about “how girls can show their true colours and how they have ul­te­rior mo­tives.”

“And, you know, des­per­a­tion records,” Puth adds. “And me not be­ing a per­fect per­son. Me ex­press­ing, (to) many peo­ple, just have a lit­tle pa­tience with me. I’m not go­ing to be ex­actly what you need at this mo­ment, but I will.”

That sub­ver­sion is largely miss­ing from his most re­cent sin­gle, At­ten­tion, though.

Sung in Puth’s un­mis­tak­able falsetto, At­ten­tion has a lot in com­mon with first-al­bum sin­gle We Don’t Talk Any­more. There’s the girl who doesn’t get it and there’s the guy with the aching heart.

There is some­thing “again­st­the-grain” about the sin­gle. It’s a club song that doesn’t want to be a club song.

“The nat­u­ral in­cli­na­tion is to, like, dada-DADA, build-up-BUILDUP,” Puth says with a mu­si­cal lilt. And At­ten­tion, with its low, boom­ing, guitar-in­fused cho­rus, seems to be ac­tively re­sist­ing that im­pulse.

“I live for mak­ing mu­sic for peo­ple,” Puth says. “I’m never go­ing to make every­body happy, but how can I just make them a lit­tle bit hap­pier? I want to make some peo­ple dance.” – Tri­bune News Ser­vice

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