After months of teasing and taking us through the process of his creation on TikTok, Charlie Puth sheds light on his long-awaited new music, starting with the delightfully addicting, Light Switch.
Ah, superstars, they’re just like us mere mortals. Ever since Charlie Puth found solace on TikTok early on in the pandemic, he’s been obsessed. Whether it be jumping on trends, stitches, and duets, filming with odd camera angles, or nerding out on all things music, the singer and songwriter gets really up close and personal in his fragments of expression, revealing a side to him that is real, relatable, and yes, ridiculous.
“Everybody kind of made fun of me at first for focusing so much on TikTok,” he shares. “It is a safe place, and what I fell in love with originally is that people are being and vulnerable.” In this context of connection, Charlie Puth has carved out a more expansive space to entertain and escape, giving us everything from random pitches of his mundane everyday, dissections of music, and a lot of what ifs.
I’m freaking out wtf just happened….. ?♬ original sound – Charlie Puth
“What if there was a song that started off like…” begins Charlie Puth on TikTok, trailing off his thought with a cartoon-like phonetic imitation of robot sounds. In the extension of the slightly chaotic video, there was a splicing of inserts that revealed bass and drum tracks on a song he was working on back in September last year, before wondering, “there’s something missing. There should be a weird sound effect, just a random noise or something like that.”
Okay, Charlie, you have our full attention.
My record label won’t stop calling ?♬ original sound – Charlie Puth
The Sound Of Charlie Puth
Silly as it may seem, his tapping of surfaces in the studio led him to a light switch. Nondescript? Sure. But this was where the hallelujah chorus rejoiced, because the recorded flicking sound, layered with the existing instrumentations and the lyrics, would mark the earliest chronicle of what would eventually become the aptly christened, Light Switch, Charlie Puth’s first single of the year, as well as the introduction to his long-awaited follow up to the compelling release of 2018, Voicenotes.
I’m almost done with this Light Switch song. Pre save it if you want it now. Link in bio ?♬ original sound – Charlie Puth
Marked by a fitting light bulb emoji, this well-documented journey breaks down the song from the singer-songwriter’s perspective and engages the fans, too. With these slices of life on TikTok, we are not only clued in on the creative process of Charlie Puth, but also given insight into Light Switch, which he worked on with longtime collaborators, Jake Torrey and JKash. Being granted this much access and attachment has taken on such a personal meaning both for the artist and the audience, as in our hero singing in the shower and brushing of the teeth levels of intimacy.
I’m stressed…everyone tell Jeff to leave me alone…..Pre save link in bio ?♬ original sound – Charlie Puth
“On the songwriting level, it was really cool to share this song with the fans while I made it, so they felt like they were involved at the very beginning of the song, like they almost wrote it with me,” he says in a conversation with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. “I love the fact that Light Switch has been teased for months, and people are making bootlegs of it. Some producers have even taken, run it through Isotope, and taken the acapellas, and made their own versions of Light Switch. I love that. I think music should be twisted and pulled in many different directions. That was just the goal for this album, and I’m really excited for people to hear it.”
Flip The Switch
From the snippets heard on TikTok for months, Light Switch immediately feels familiar. Yes, the yearning and heartache synonymous to Charlie Puth is still prevalent, but this time seamed subtly in the surprising sensual song. In the progression of the musical exposition, the retro-tinged track is buoyant and warm, the tempo racing from a steady pace to faster strides, much like a heart beating in anxious anticipation.
If this song gets 100,000 pre saves I’ll finish it and drop it. Link in bio ?♬ original sound – Charlie Puth
“You turn me on like a light switch / When you’re movin’ your body around and around / You got me in a tight grip / You know how to just make me want you, baby,” relents Charlie Puth in the song, which was heard first on TikTok. “Why you always wanna act like lovers? But you never wanna be each other’s / I say don’t look back but I go right back, yeah.” Ouch.
Despite admitting to be “very bad at expressing my feelings,” Charlie Puth is incredibly self-aware, which is evident in his otherwise deceptive music. This is especially true in Light Switch, where feelings once tucked away to the dark backend of memory and lingering longing are brought to well, light. Confronting these residual contradictions is all but necessary, but doing so with a groovy, funky pop song that we can dance to our heart’s content? Even better.