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Track Review

Like an ever-growing list of heartthrob singers, New Jersey native Charlie Puth built a YouTube following via cover songs and original music. Before too long, he was on Ellen. Then, signed by Atlantic.

And now? Now his YouTube videos wrack up hundreds of millions of views. In fact, his collaboration with Wiz Khalifa on the Furious 7 soundtrack hit "See You Again" recently inched past Psy's "Gangnam Style" as the most-watched video ever on YouTube, with nearly three billion views.

And the buzz is building again with Puth's latest single, "Attention," which has itself racked up nearly 250 million views.

Where Did I Put That Restraining Order, Anyway?

"Attention" is about exactly that. Specifically, that's what a spurned lover is seeking from her ex, who's trying to get over her. He doesn't want to give her the attention she craves. "You've been runnin' 'round, runnin' 'round, runnin' 'round throwin' that dirt all on my name," Puth begins, "'Cause you knew that … I'd call you up."

When that doesn't work, she starts stalking him: "You've been going 'round, going 'round, going 'round every party in L.A./'Cause you knew that I, knew that I, knew that I'd be at one."

What happens when she finally finds him? Well, he immediately notices what she's wearing, for starters: "I know that dress is karma, perfume regret," he sings, apparently referencing a dress that has some history for them. It's no surprise, then, that those memories mingle with desire. Soon, they're soon making out: "You got me thinking 'bout when you were mine, oh/And now I'm all up on you, what you expect?"

That said, he manages to draw the line at spending the night with her, saying, "But you're not going home with me tonight." Why? Because despite his lingering lusty longings, he knows that she's not really interested in him. He knows it's all about her: "You just want attention/You don't want my heart." On top of that, he intimates further that jealousy is the main motivation behind her actions: "Maybe you just hate the thought of me with someone new/ … You're just making sure I'm never gettin' over you."

An Accidental Morality Tale

In "Attention," Puth is trying, desperately, to get some distance from a failed-but-intense romance. He realizes how possessive and insecure his ex-girlfriend is. Yet her refusal to take no for answer from him is obviously wearing this guy down, maybe even tempting him to re-engage in a relationship that he knows is a dead end.

And that (perhaps unintentionally) illustrates something critically important about physical intimacy: It powerfully bonds two people together, which is why God designed it for the context of marriage. When that bond gets sundered, the fallout can be messy for both parties.

We see that moral in "Attention." Two lovers who once shared a torrid relationship don't know what to do when it's over. One tries to pull away. The other strives jealously to seduce her ex and to manipulate him. He's not having it.

Relationships can be emotionally intense even apart from incendiary intimacy. But stir that ingredient into the mix—which the conflict-filled video does by showing Charlie's ex in a slinky dress and in revealing lingerie as they fight, break things and embrace—and it likely only amplifies the fallout if things take a tough turn later on.

Positive Elements

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Reached No. 15.

Record Label





April 21, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

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