In the second single off of his upcoming sophomore album, “VoiceNotes,” Charlie Puth details his conversation with a scorned lover after he admits he cheated on her. Released on Oct. 5, “How Long” picks up where “Attention,” his wildly successful single released earlier this year, leaves off—both lyrically and musically.
In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, Puth described the similarities between the two tracks, saying, “With the theme of ‘Attention’ kinda being a ‘bass’ song, I didn’t want it to be, like, a ripoff of ‘Attention,’ but lyrically, the song is like part two of ‘Attention,’ as far as the story goes. I’ll leave that up to interpretation.”
Puth begins “How Long” with, “I’ll admit, I was wrong, what else can I say, girl? Can’t you blame my head and not my heart? I was drunk, I was gone, that don’t make it right, but promise there were no feelings involved,” openly admitting to his wrongdoings. He is brutally honest about his cheating in the verses but owns up to his mistakes and apologizes to his girl, who is understandably hurt.
In the pre-chorus, she demands answers: “She said, ‘Boy, tell me honestly, was it real or just for show?’ She said, ‘Save your apologies, baby I just gotta know.’”
Continuing this conversation into the chorus, the girl tries to pry some details from him, asking: “How long has this been going on? You’ve been creepin’ ‘round on me while you’re callin’ me ‘baby.’”
While Puth does his best to convince her that “it only happened once” and she’s the “only one I wanna love,” it’s ultimately up to listeners to decide the fate of the relationship.
Deviating from the funky beats offered in “Attention,” “How Long” features a slinky yet fairly stripped back vibe that does wonders for Puth in showing off his vocal range. The song starts with a simple bassline and clapping noises.
Puth opened up about this musical choice, in particular, while chatting with Seacrest: “In my mind, it had to start out with a bass, but not so much a bass with so much melody, just like … a walking bassline.”
But that’s not even the best part of the song.
With an even catchier bassline and finger-snapping beats, the chorus will surely prove to be one of the most memorable pop hooks of the year. “Attention” gave fans a glimpse into this new style of music that Puth seems to be moving towards: A departure from a straight pop sound into a more electro-R&B and disco-like sound. “How Long” has solidified this more mature sound that listeners can expect from Puth’s new album, “VoiceNotes.”
The album is expected to release Jan. 19 next year.
Song: “How Long”
Artist: Charlie Puth
Release: Oct. 5
Rating: 5 out of 5