On Friday, Charlie Puth and Dan + Shay surprised their fans with an unanticipated music collaboration — a heartbreaking ballad about toxic love titled “That’s Not How This Works” — released on March 31, 2023, via Atlantic Records.
The “Attention” singer-songwriter and producer joined forces with chart-topping country duo Dan + Shay for a dreary yet enchanting electro-pop single, adding a country tinge to it. Co-written and produced by Charlie Puth and Dan Smyers, the single marks the first release from Dan + Shay since their 2022 Christmas album.
“That’s Not How This Works” — first teased in 2020 — was supposedly getting featured on Puth’s third studio album, CHARLIE. However, the plan changed, and they ultimately omitted it from the tracklist.
In an Instagram post, Puth shared that he and Dan + Shay wrote the song over Zoom in April 2020 amidst a series of musical changes. He says he always had the song in the back of his mind, “because I knew how special it was,” he expresses. “It was [after all] the song [that] propelled me into the next phase of my life. It was the song that healed me,” he continues.
“With all [of] these feelings that I hadn’t come face to face with before, I finally mustered up the courage to put a melody against them. When you listen to this song, I hope you feel what I felt when I wrote it – a sense of relief.” “Really proud of this song we created with our friend + musical genius @charlieputh,” Dan + Shay added.
“That’s Not How This Works” is a meticulously crafted and emotionally charged, heartfelt ballad, highlighting the brilliant vocal prowess of both Puth and Dan + Shay, delivering a mesmerising amalgam of two worlds we didn’t know we need until we had it.
The song draws inspiration from Puth’s own personal accounts of a failed romance where he’s grappling with an ex-romantic partner who’s giving him mixed signals while playing with his mind, as she attempts to resume their relationship after parting ways on a sour note. The lyrics are engaging and relatable, offering comfort and solace to those who have gone through similar experiences while also clearing that the ex-lover should quit playing games with his heart and not return.
Puth takes the lead in the first verse, paving the way for the duo in the later verses as they impart the song a pleasing country flavour, turning it into an impassioned ballad. “Stop reminding me of when we said forever/I know exactly what you’re doing.” “When you say, ‘You need to drop off all my sweaters’/It’s just one of your excuses,” sings Dan + Shay, about an ex-partner’s attempts to get back together and pleading with her to stop making excuses to get together knowing she has ulterior motives.
Both Puth and the duo band together for the chorus, harmonising and echoing the song’s title in its entirety. “You can’t say you hate me, then call me when you’re hurt / Baby, you know that’s not how this works, no / That’s not how this works,” sings Puth, on the mid-tempo pop track. “You can’t walk away, then come back to what we were / Baby, you know that’s not how this works, no / That’s not how this works, no.”
Even though we got this musical collaboration unexpectedly, we’re now in love with this passionate and heart-stirring composition guise as a pop anthem in the classic Charlie Puth fashion; that will surely strum your heartstrings and make you want to groove.
The single “That’s Not How It Works” arrived alongside a cinematic music video starring Charlie Puth and Sabrina Carpenter as hapless lovers in a former romantic relationship that turned sour. Starring Sabrina Carpenter as the ex-girlfriend in question, the music video mirrors the lyrics, traversing toxic love cycles, setting the mood for the song aptly, and making it an essential viewing.
The music video opens with the musician creating the song in a recording studio and expands on the narrative laid out by the short film released by Puth to accompany the track on Thursday, March 30. It depicts the pair through valleys and peaks, as it takes viewers on an emotional journey showcasing their sweet moments to a turbulent relationship, resulting in a painful breakup.
The camera pans to flashback memories of the actors portraying a couple happily in love. As the present-day Puth plays back tape recordings, we see the flashback of his lover gifting him a gorgeous upright piano for his birthday while watching him blow out the candles on his cake to other scenes where they are flirtatiously painting their apartment together, showing together, dancing together, playing the board game Operation by Candlelight, and playfully debating whether he can boil a live crab to make a romantic dinner.
But slowly, the happier times fade out after an argument about Carpenter “flirting” with someone else during a night out. They find themselves in screaming matches and slamming doors, resulting in a tear-jerking separation. Watch the music video below:
Charlie Puth will hit the road this May for “The Charlie Live Experience” tour with openers Blue DeTiger and Alexander Stewart, starting at Mexico’s Corona Capital Festival, and stopping at venues including Austin’s Moody Amphitheater, New York’s Radio City Music Hall, and Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre.
Meanwhile, Sabrina Carpenter just unveiled the deluxe edition of her own breakthrough 2022 album, titled “Emails I Can’t Send Fwd”, which featured new bonus tracks “Feather,” “Lonesome” and “Things I Wish You Said” as well as a remix of her hit single “Nonsense” with Coi Leray. She’s currently on the second leg of her tour across North America to promote her album.
In a post of her own on the social media platform, Carpenter announced that she’s featured on another remix version of “That’s Not How It Works” that’ll release on April 14. Are you ready for it? We know we are.
Listen and stream “That’s Not How This Works” (feat. Dan + Shay) below:
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