A Bad Essay on Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore”

We don’t talk anymore, we don’t talk anymore
We don’t talk anymore, like we used to do

Charlie Puth

The following satirical essay will be much more enjoyable if you’re familiar with Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore.”  Most of the information in this essay is loosely based on true facts, but some of it is so loosely based on real details that it’s debatable whether “loosely based” is still an appropriate description.


Class: MUS 52.21 Contemporary Music

Professor Flibert

Due: In 1.5 hrs.

Let’s Talk about Why “We Don’t Talk Anymore”: A Lyrical Analysis of Puth

Since the dawn of time, humans have been intimately drawn to music. This sentiment is perhaps best captured in Charlie Puth’s 2016 hit “We don’t talk anymore,” a song that speaks to that hardest of truths—being friends with your ex is really really difficult.  Charles Otto “Charlie” Puth Jr.[1][2][3][4] (/pθ/; born December 2, 1991) is an American singer-songwriter and record producer, best known for his 2015 song “See You Again“, which he wrote, co-produced, and performed with Wiz Khalifa for the Furious 7 soundtrack as a tribute to the late Paul Walker (Wikipedia 2017). Puth is also what we today would now consider to be a YouTube celebrity, where he found success through producing viral videos. He’s done other collaborations with big stars like Meghan Trainor and Wiz Khalifia. “we don’t talk anymore” features Selena Gomez too. Puth’s music has frequently featured on US Billboard Hot 100, and it is catchy so that is why I am writing about it.

In this essay, I will analyze a few stanzas from the song to try to show how Puth captures the full gamut of human emotion with style and a catchy rhythm, that’s been described as a “pulsing club jam that will stick with you for days after you hear it. Seriously, this song should come with a warning label.” Charlie Puth wrote the song in Japan, while trying to console a friend about a recent breakup (MTV 2017). Puth claims that it’s Japanese origins are what give the song that great international/global feel. Puth reportedly wrote the entire song in a record thirty seconds. Months later, he asked Gomez if she wanted to sing with him because he followed the news and knew that she had recently broke up with someone, and they recorded all of her vocals in a closet in under 15 minutes (USA Today 2017).

[Chorus: Charlie Puth]
We don’t talk anymore, we don’t talk anymore
We don’t talk anymore, like we used to do
We don’t laugh anymore
What was all of it for?
Oh, we don’t talk anymore
Like we used to do

The song opens with a sorrowful lament: “We don’t talk anymore.” Instantly, the listener connects with the singer’s sad plight in life. He doesn’t talk with her anymore, nor laughs anymore, and worse, doesn’t talk to her like he used to. Just like the singer, the listener is left wondering “What was all of it for?” along with perhaps “Oh man, they’re still playing this song on the radio?”

[Verse 1: Charlie Puth]
I just heard you found the one you’ve been looking
You’ve been looking for
I wish I would have known that wasn’t me
‘Cause even after all this time I still wonder
Why I can’t move on
Just the way you did so easily

[Pre-Chorus 1: Charlie Puth]
Don’t wanna know
What kind of dress you’re wearing tonight
If he’s holding onto you so tight
The way I did before

Like a typical man, Puth assumes she had an easier time getting over the break up than he did. He doesn’t even care what dress she’s wearing. Thus, the listener begins to understand why they broke up in the first place.

[Chorus: Charlie Puth]
That we don’t talk anymore, we don’t talk anymore
We don’t talk anymore, like we used to do
We don’t laugh anymore
What was all of it for?
Oh, we don’t talk anymore
Like we used to do

Puth sings about them not talking anymore; I will talk about this more later in the essay.

[Verse 2: Selena Gomez]
I just hope you’re lying next to somebody
Who knows how to love you like me
There must be a good reason that you’re gone
Every now and then I think you
Might want me to come show up at your door
But I’m just too afraid that I’ll be wrong

Selena’s vocals are spot on, showing no indication that she recorded this in a closet, a fact that provides some interesting material for a psychoanalysis paper. She shows some good sense by not showing up at her ex’s door in the middle of the night with an axe.

[Chorus: Charlie Puth]
That we don’t talk anymore, we don’t talk anymore
We don’t talk anymore, like we used to do
We don’t laugh anymore
What was all of it for?
Oh, we don’t talk anymore
Like we used to do
Like we used to do

[Chorus: Charlie Puth & Selena Gomez]
That we don’t talk anymore, we don’t talk anymore
We don’t talk anymore, like we used to do
We don’t laugh anymore
What was all of it for?
Oh, we don’t talk anymore
Like we used to do

[Outro: Charlie Puth & Selena Gomez]
We don’t talk anymore, oh, oh
(What kind of dress you’re wearing tonight)
(If he’s holding onto you so tight)
The way I did before
We don’t talk anymore, oh, woah
(Should’ve known your love was a game)
(Now I can’t get you out of my brain)
Oh, it’s such a shame
That we don’t talk anymore

Upon the 37th repetition of the phrase “We don’t talk anymore. We don’t talk anymore like we used to,” the listener understands full well why the couple broke up in the first place—they never had anything to talk about. Read in this light, the song brilliantly captures one of our generations greatest dilemmas: finding a sick beat, a cool chick, but none of the write words. In the words of Ms. Perry, “We’re all chained to the rhythm, to the rhythm, to the rhythm.”


Comments

A brave attempt to add depth to Puth’s song. Please come to my office to discuss possible violations of the school’s honor code policy (i.e. plagiarism) and to go over MLA style citation guidelines.

Best,

Prof. Flibert

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