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After dropping a funky Wham!-inspired Kehlani collab earlier this month, Charlie Puth decided to take a sharp turn and put out a more stripped-down, soulful tune appropriately titled “Change.”
Puth teamed up with renowned singer-songwriter slash guitarist James Taylor (who famously covered Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend”) to record the guitar-driven, John Mayer-esque track, which—like Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change”—urges listeners to love and support one another despite their differences.
“James Taylor is the reason why I write music,” Puth admitted in a gushing Instagram caption, previewing a Beats 1 interview clip in which he explains how he and Taylor came together. And Taylor’s influence is especially palpable in “Change,” a track that noticeably differs from what Puth has put out in the past.
Puth debuted “Change” at the March for Our Lives rally in Los Angeles this past weekend, acknowledging that nobody in the crowd would be familiar with the track but that it nonetheless felt “like the right song to perform right now.” Unfortunately neither Taylor nor his guitar were present for the performance. But Puth made do with a keyboard, his unmistakable falsetto and an ‘Enough Is Enough Is Enough Is’ t-shirt and delivered a touching performance that visibly moved his fellow march-goers. When Puth released “Change” online a couple of days later, he took to Twitter to dedicate the song to “all of the Parkland students, any lives lost to senseless gun violence, and the world.”
Puth and his team assembled footage from his rally performance as well as clips of fellow March for Our Lives protesters to create the “Change” music video, which also features a shot of Puth standing in solidarity with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Mia Freeman and Hayley Licata. We don’t know whether or not Puth will ever invite Taylor to record another, more heavily produced music video, but we’re not so sure that he should. The “Change” music video we have now is simple and subdued yet incredibly effective, and any added bells and whistles could take away from the song’s powerful message.
Along with the aforementioned Kehlani collaboration “Done For Me,” the accusatory “How Long” and smash hit “Attention,” “Change” is one of the tracks that’s set to appear on Puth’s highly anticipated Nine Track Mind follow-up, Voicenotes. Voicenotes drops on May 11 and Puth’s Voicenotes tour kicks off on July 11 in Toronto, where he’ll be accompanied by Hailee Steinfeld.