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Meaning of ‘Attention’ by ‘Charlie Puth’

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Released: 2018

“Attention” by Charlie Puth is a deep dive into the emotional whirlpool of a failed relationship, where one person is playing games and seeking attention. The lyrics express frustration and a degree of suspicion over an ex-partner’s motives, hinting at the struggle of moving on.

He starts off stating “You’ve been running ’round, running ’round” followed by “throwing that dirt all on my name“. This paints a picture of his ex courting attention and actions that could tarnish his reputation. “Dirt” here suggests negative words or gossip that could disparage him.

When he sings “you knew that I, knew that I, Knew that I’d call you up“, Puth shows that his ex is well aware that her actions will provoke a reaction from him, which pushes the idea that she’s only doing this to get his “attention”.

Then, the line “I know that dress is karma, perfume regret“, Puth is guessing her looks and scent are intentional hooks to remind him of their past relationship. Probably meant to stir up old feelings.

She’s not planning to go home with him, though – “But you’re not coming home with me tonight“. This leads him to the conclusion that “You just want attention; you don’t want my heart“. She’s after the satisfaction of knowing he still cares, rather than wanting to rekindle their love.

The lines “Maybe you just hate the thought of me with someone new“, says a lot about their current dynamic. It suggests she is more concerned with him not moving on, offering her the upper hand in their post-breakup relationship.

The song’s repeated cries of “What are you doing, love?” underline Puth’s frustration and confusion. He feels manipulated and is struggling to comprehend her motives and actions.

The song’s refrain of “You just want attention” and “You’re just making sure I’m never getting over you” offers a clear-cut view of Puth’s feelings. He knows she’s not interested in his heart, it’s all about control and validation for her – making sure he’s not over her. The carefully chosen words tell a tale of emotional turmoil, manipulation, and the struggle to truly move on.

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