Charlie Puth, the pop music prodigy who mastered the art of the earworm, has gifted us with a discography filled with both bops and ballads worth swooning over. From collaborations that sparked fireworks like “Marvin Gaye” with Meghan Trainor and “We Don’t Talk Anymore” with Selena Gomez, to solo masterpieces that tugged at heartstrings such as “One Call Away” and “Dangerously”, he consistently delivers hits that straddle pop and soul with a finesse rare for his generation.
Puth’s genius is not confined to melodious tunes alone, as he ventures into lyrical depths with songs like “That’s Not How This Works”, “How Long”, and the all-too-relatable “Attention”.
His ability to experiment while keeping his signature style intact is evident in the surprising yet successful collaboration with Jung Kook of BTS on “Left and Right”. Celebrated or underrated, every Charlie Puth track is a testament to his undeniable talent and contribution to the pop music scene. So, let’s get into it. From the underrated gems to the chart-topping hits, here are the Top 12 Charlie Puth Songs Ranked, from Worst to Best.
12. Marvin Gaye (feat. Meghan Trainor)
Meghan Trainor)” kicks off our list, and though it’s Charlie Puth’s first major hit, it falls short in comparison to his later masterpieces. The tune is a nostalgic hat tip to the R&B legend Marvin Gaye, with lyrics that unabashedly invite the listener to ‘get it on’. Cleverly peppered with nods to Gaye’s iconic soul, this track is a cheeky blend of classic throwback vibes mixed with modern pop sensibilities. Puth and Trainor play with an enticing lyrical dance, their voices overlapping in a flirtatious understanding. Despite its catchy melody and smooth sound, the track doesn’t quite reach the heights of emotional complexity or lyrical depth that Puth would later achieve. It’s enjoyable, sure, but lacks the artistic maturity prevalent in his later work.
A self-reproaching narrative, the song glimpses into the agonizing aftermath of an intense, unhealthy affection. Puth plunges deep into the chaos of a love that has left him drained and shattered, but nonetheless riveted. The lyrics channel a raw fragility, unearthing the despair that comes with desperation and regret, and yet, a poignant acceptance of this self-destruction.
The track mirrors a relationship rollercoaster where the ride is exhilarating but the fall is severe – a dangerous love, as Puth describes. It highlights his ability to leverage pop music’s buoyancy to captivate listeners while exploring painful emotional depths. The story is universal, and Puth’s delivery makes it feel uniquely personal, confirming his knack for lacing captivating melodies with potent, heartfelt narratives.
10. One Call Away
It bounces on a steady rhythm, all while Puth’s velvety voice assures the listener that he is a dependable figure – always one call away. The lyrics explore the idea of loyalty and companionship, putting out a reassuring message of always being there for someone, especially when they’re in need. A metaphorical knight in shining armor, he’s illustrating that he’s a better Superman, always ready to save the day. This late-night phone call appeal weaves feelings of longing and devotion into its DNA, marching on the frontlines to make a promise of unyielding support. The lyrics’ effect is amplified by the traditional pop structure of the song, coupled with a chorus that’s as infectious as pop gets. While it doesn’t shatter any molds, “One Call Away” solidifies Puth’s status as a pop powerhouse, all the while presenting a warm, comforting message to anyone in need of a lifeline.
9. We Don’t Talk Anymore (feat. Selena Gomez)
The track voices the emotional turmoil of two former lovers who no longer share their lives and intimate details with each other. Despite the catchy, upbeat melody, it highlights a poignant narrative of longing and acceptance, resonating beyond the simplistic layer of a dance-worthy beat.
The lyrics underline the characters’ struggle to accept the irreversible severance that has befallen their relationship. Both parties are shown grappling with the vestiges of past memories, unable to shake off the remnants of their lost love. This struggle manifests in their reluctance to acknowledge the other’s newfound happiness and the sting they feel upon the realization of their replaced existence. The song is a masterclass in capturing the heartache residual, magnifying the regret, unrequited love, and the emotional cocktail stirred by seeing a former partner move on. It’s a melancholic anthem wrapped in a pop shell, an ode to the pain of love lost, but not forgotten.
8. Done for Me (feat. Kehlani)
Puth lays his heart out bare, serenading his lover with a litany of sacrifices he has made, ranging from the emotional to the material. Yet, the central question looms throughout the song – “But tell me what you’ve done for me.” As tears flow and pledges of death-before-dishonor punctuate the lyrics, he confronts the stark realization that his love, while passionate and consuming, isn’t reciprocated in kind. The Kehlani feature adds another nuance to this narrative, brilliantly portraying the dichotomy of perspectives in a troubled relationship. Overall, “Done for Me” manifests Puth’s signature style – raw emotion wrapped in refined pop sensibilities – while highlighting his ability to weave a heartrending narrative into a catchy beat, cementing his place as one of pop music’s most exciting voices.
The track portrays a man whose heart is so entangled in love, he openly urges his lover to stake her claim with lipstick marks on his body. Puth blends in sentimental expressions of love, toying with the idea of a future together, even jesting about naming their hypothetical baby. Yet, at its core, it’s a bold assertion against the misconception of ‘no strings attached’ love, emphasizing that there ain’t no hobby love in his world. The song redefines romantic boundaries, making it okay for his lover to be “selfish”, and dismissing any room for jealousy. Essentially, “Lipstick” propagates an unapologetic, raw, and unabashed demonstration of love, shedding light on Puth’s daring perspective on romance.
6. That’s Hilarious
It’s a pop tune with a heavy dose of sass and an undercurrent of emotional pain. The lyrics are raw and unapologetically honest, giving listeners a glimpse into Puth’s own bitterness and regrets. A narrative of a toxic relationship emerges, where the tables have turned and he’s the one with the upper hand. The poignant lines “You didn’t love me when you had me / But now you need me so badly” show a desperate plea for attention that’s met with scorn and disbelief. The song brilliantly portrays the all too familiar scenario where affection is taken for granted and regret only shows up when it’s too late. “That’s Hilarious” not just underlines Puth’s knack for cleverly crafted pop, but also showcases his ability to narrate the human condition with flippancy and raw emotion.
5. That’s Not How This Works (feat. Dan + Shay)
Dan + Shay)” from Charlie Puth’s discography. A powerful testament to the confusion and agony of dysfunctional relationships, it’s a tune that shows Puth’s knack for raw, honest songwriting. The lyrics depict a love gone sour, with the protagonist grappling with mixed signals from a former flame who can’t quite make up their mind. Puth and Dan + Shay’s voices fuse beautifully, painting a poignant picture of heartache and frustration. The pain of being told ‘I hate you’ and then being called when hurt resonates deeply, speaking to the classic human struggle of moving on. It’s a heartfelt plea for clarity and closure – underscored by the honesty of the line, “You can’t walk away, then come back to what we were.” This track is a masterclass in the art of emotive pop songwriting, showcasing Puth’s talent for crafting relatable narratives that tug at your heartstrings. Even though it ranks at No.7, its emotional depth and lyrical sophistication make it a standout in Puth’s discography.
4. How Long
The narrative arc of the song is an exploration of guilt, deceit, and the struggle for redemption. Underneath the jazzy, upbeat rhythm, Puth admits fault and navigates the nuances of a relationship compromised by his indiscretion. His confessions underscore the juxtaposition of his actions – proclaiming love while being unfaithful. This dance of duality gives the track its emotional punch.
Throughout the song, Puth uses the refrain ‘How Long’ to reflect an internal and external interrogation, questioning not only the duration of his deceit but also the sustainability of his actions. Notably, the song refuses to offer a pat resolution, leaving listeners hanging on the uncertain aftermath of the admission. In effect, “How Long” is a pop confessional, a mea culpa set to a danceable beat – evidence of Puth’s ability to pair serious thematic undertones with infectious pop sensibilities.
3. Light Switch
Drenched in sultry rhythm, the track is an exploration of a tumultuous relationship marred by emotional gamesmanship. Puth’s lyrics delve into the confusing dance of desire, as he finds himself perpetually drawn to a lover who keeps him on his toes. The narrative unfolds through a lens of ambivalence and longing, embodying the push and pull dynamic that often characterizes complex romantic entanglements. Yo-yoing between heated passion and stressful uncertainty, Puth captures the essence of a love that swings like a pendulum. His reference to being “turned on like a light switch” is particularly poignant, embodying the unanticipated and instant allure he finds in this provocative relationship. Tying it together is Puth’s irresistible chorus, where his vocal prowess shines. “Light Switch” is both a catchy pop tune and an emotive illustration of the volatile terrain of love.
2. Left and Right (Feat. Jung Kook of BTS)
The result? An earworm that delivers a poignant depiction of longing and nostalgia. Underneath that infectious beat and shimmering production, the lyrics reveal a bittersweet journey. The prose is a maze of memories, with the left and right motif symbolizing the way remnants of past love seep into every corner of the mind, day and night. It’s about the struggle of moving on, symbolized through phrases like “going ’round in circles” and “you’re all I think about”. There’s the universal sentiment of the one who got away, and the agony of not being okay even after the passage of time. Like a haunting refrain, the motif of feeling the presence of the loved one ‘over here’ resurfaces, reinforcing the omnipresence of past love. “Left and Right” is more than just a pop anthem; it’s a heartfelt exploration of love’s lingering ghosts that speaks to Puth’s knack for capturing raw emotions in his lyrical narratives.
It’s a textured exploration of the struggle that unfolds when love becomes a battleground of egos. Puth’s sharp observations of a former lover’s attention-seeking habits serve as the thematic backbone of this compelling track.
The song opens with the image of a former flame making the rounds, reveling in the LA party scene and relishing the thought of making Puth jealous. Puth cuts through her charade, asserting that her games of jealousy are thinly veiled attempts to forge chains of regret around him. Central to the song’s narrative is the bitter realization that her actions are calculated to stoke the flames of the extinguished relationship, ensuring he’s perpetually caught in her orbit.
Throughout “Attention,” Puth is at once the victim and the observer, caught up in an emotional tug of war, understanding he’s being manipulated, yet unable to fully break free. His smooth vocals underscore the tension of a love anchored in the past and a heart attempting to move forward.