REVIEW: Are you hypnotized by Charlie Puth’s ‘Light Switch?’

Charlie Puth released Light Switch Jan. 20.

Photo by Lily Werner

Charlie Puth released “Light Switch” Jan. 20.

What if there was a song whose creation was documented on social media for nearly five months before its release? And what if that song, upon its release, received nearly 18 million Spotify streams in just over a week of being released to the public? Well, meet singer-songwriter Charlie Puth’s newest single “Light Switch.”  

The energetic, fun and almost ’80s reminiscent pop tune released Jan. 20, accompanied by the song’s music video. The song was a long time coming, as viewers of Puth’s TikTok profile would attest. The initial video which introduced the song’s inspiration (yes, the sound of a light switch being flicked on) was posted Sept. 16, 2021.

The TikTok in question boasted 20 million views in less than 24 hours, and was immediately followed by another TikTok Sept. 17, 2021, in which Puth teased releasing the song if it received 100,000 pre-saves on Spotify.

Over the next couple of months, Puth documented writing different sections of the track, including humorous calls from his record label hurrying him to finish the song. The videos soon took on a life of their own as other creators on TikTok took to duetting Puth’s content, using other everyday noises to make sound effects for songs, some even poking fun at Puth’s process of producing “Light Switch.”

But “Light Switch” wasn’t the only song that Puth documented on TikTok. While he mostly covered the production of his newest single, the artist also sprinkled in snippets of other new songs that may be featured on his upcoming studio album, “CHARLIE,” that will be released later this year.

Dec. 13, 2021, Puth updated fans when he posted a TikTok captioned, “Light Switch is done. If this song gets 250,000 more pre saves, I’ll drop it January 1st.”

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, viewers received another video of Puth on New Year’s Day announcing the release of the official TikTok audio for the song. Then, just six days later, a challenge: the “One Call Away” singer wanted to see people’s best uses of the “Light Switch” audio. The prize? To hear the song in its entirety before anyone else.

The hashtag #lightswitchchallenge on TikTok has received 13 million views since Puth’s initial video. One submission to the challenge that caught the attention of Puth was one created by Alex Wong (@alexdwong), which ended with the creator kicking and shattering the lamp of the ceiling fan in his bedroom.

@alexdwong @Charlie Puth said best video to his song gets it early, BY TEXT 😱 – please like & share! 😹🙏🏼 #fail ♬ Light Switch – Charlie Puth

After a series of videos featuring glimpses of the new song’s music video, Puth once again took to social media to announce that fans would finally hear the song Jan. 20.

And this time, it actually happened.

“Light Switch,” for the most part, sounds similar to other music that listeners of Puth’s have heard before. But the upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics make it stand out among his previous works.

While those who watched the track’s production on social media heard different sections of the song, nothing new is really left to hear for the first time.

Puth sings “Why you always wanna act like lovers?/ But you never wanna be each others’.” This is one of the few lyrics that are new to people hearing the song at full length.

The song’s video begins with Puth in a fat suit, heartbroken and unshaven as he is flipping television channels from a recliner. The music video, released the same day as the single, added a bit of comedy to the song and has received over 16 million views on YouTube.

Overall, Puth’s new single was a satisfying listen, but wasn’t worth the five month wait. I appreciated the beat and idea behind the song, but Puth’s use of  TikTok to get more people to save the track before hearing it was both smart and a tad manipulative. While I have enjoyed some of his other singles more (namely “Attention,” “Mother” and “How Long”)  “Light Switch” is too similar to those other releases. I’m Looking forward to the release of “CHARLIE” later this year, and hopefully some more TikTok coverage of the album, and I rate “Light Switch” a 7.5 out of 10.

This story was written by Kim Cook. She can be reached at [email protected]