Who did it?
Charlie Puth, the mostly unremarkable pop star (save for his inescapable chorus on the 2015 Furious 7 theme “See You Again”), shared a new single off his upcoming sophomore album Voicenotes called “If You Leave Me Now.” Living legends Boyz II Men are featured on it, which was a very nice thing for them to do. As you’ve probably deduced from the title, it’s all about heartbreak, a heartbreak so bad that now I need to know who caused it. Don’t ask why.
The song isn’t totally awful—thanks in
part whole to Boyz II Men’s charming crooning—but it is pretty much, in every shape and form, exceedingly meh. I have a hard time imagining this song playing on the radio or topping any Spotify “Getting Ready 2 Go Out” playlists, mainly because it’s a pop song masquerading as an R&B song, and it’s...pretty ridiculous? The stripped-down ballad has Puth begging his lover not to walk out the door. She’s going to, and Puth knows that when she does, he’ll be destroyed. It’s over-the-top, a seriously big deviation from most of Puth’s hits—while the track isn’t obnoxious like, say, “See You Again,” it’s also not an earworm by any stretch of the imagination.
But back to business—who inspired the dang thing? Is it about teen sensation Bella Thorne, who dated Teen Wolf heartthrob/well-publicized pop-punk fan Tyler Posey, left that dude in the dust, and then shacked up with Puth for like, a literal second? Is this song Puth’s way of working through that particular heartache, or was it caused by another leading lady? (Young Hollywood drama is so hard to follow.) Did our boy write this song to signal that he can run with serious musicians, break genre expectation, and prove he’s not just another pretty face in pop?
I don’t know. I didn’t talk to him. (Did you? Talk to me.) But I doubt the grown-up vibes on “If You Leave Me” will translate into a more robust album; he stays pretty much in his lane in the first two singles, “How Long” and “Attention,” which are about potential act of infidelity and an insufferable ex.
Dude has a way to go. But dear lord, what happened to him?