By: Tiffany Chang and Courtney Miller
Voicenotes by Charlie Puth
After the massive hit “See You Again” with Wiz Khalifa was released in 2015 for the Furious 7 soundtrack, Charlie Puth maintains a distinguished presence in the music industry and has consistently been putting out quality songs since his explosive debut. Voicenotes continues to prove that Puth is a force to be reckoned with. This collection, to say the least, is a spectacular blend of styles.
“Somebody Told Me” gives off a late ‘90s/early 2000s pop vibe, which is something I definitely did not expect; it starkly contrasts with other numbers including “Attention” and “How Long,” the two biggest singles off the album. Another pleasant surprise would be the beautiful collaboration with legendary R&B group Boyz II Men, entitled “If You Leave Me Now.” With stunning harmonies and Puth’s evident tastefulness in using his impressive vocal range, “If You Leave Me Now” is nothing short of musical perfection.
However, although there are several different elements to Voicenotes, “Done for Me,” featuring Kehlani, is a catchy, sing-along tune representing the Charlie Puth we all know and love. I don’t doubt for a second that his amazing talent shines through with this album. – TC
Attention Attention by Shinedown
Overall, this album is a solid alternative rock/hard rock package. It goes as hard as its lyrics, like “judges are racists, the jury’s corrupt,” but also strips it down near the end of the album, with songs like “Get Up” and “Creatures.”
Skip the first track, because it’s just someone walking loudly and then knocking. It sets up for the ending where the vocalist says, “‘Until next time” at the end of “Brilliant,” but the entire bit is unnecessary.
“Devil” sounds like Avenged Sevenfold-era Avenged Sevenfold, but with less skilled guitar riffs. The vocals on this track, like most of the album, are good but not amazing. The best vocals of the album are easily on “Get Up” where the gentle piano really gives them an opportunity to shine. It’s also the poppiest song off the record, but the way they’ve organized the tracklist, it really works in its spot.
It’s still Shinedown, but they definitely play with other sounds: “Attention Attention” almost feels Linkin Park-esque with some quasi-rapped lines, “Kill Your Conscience” starts out like Imagine Dragons wrote it during Night Visions, and “Monsters” made me do a double-take because it sounds so much like something Three Days Grace would produce. – CM
Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes
Mendes is good at what he does: delivering almost-unique pop with unwavering quality. His self-titled album hits the mark, and the cliché songs of high school teenagers have given way to a more mature sound.
He tackles things in a more personal way this time, with the slow start to “In My Blood” paving the way. A self-titled album usually implies that the artist is trying to reinvent themself, but in Mendes’s case, it seems his defiant confidence is what prevents him from falling by the wayside, as so many other teenage stars have.
“Nervous” starts in the same style as Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and then the song layers up from there, taking a golden-era Justin Timberlake falsetto turn that works well, despite feeling slightly overdone by the end of the song.
The falsetto is strewn throughout the album, though never more so than on “Where Were You in the Morning?” which is a touch too much. Julia Michaels features on “Like to be You” and their voices work well together on this more instrumentally minimalist track. And when you listen to “Fallin’ All In You,” you know that Ed Sheeran had a hand in it.
The album is poppy, but rhythmic and melodic, with layers and enough variety within the genre to make it a worthwhile listen. – CM