Charlie Puth – That’s Not How This Works (feat. Dan + Shay)

The pop visionary and country powerhouses team up for the first time

Pop star Charlie Puth is back with new single, “That’s Not How This Works,” featuring country duo Dan + Shay. Puth may be hoping for a pop/country crossover moment that rivals “10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay’s multi-platinum collaboration with Justin Bieber from 2019, and, with his track record of self-promotion on Tik Tok in recent years, he just might get it.

The new track comes just months after the release of Puth’s third studio album, Charlie, but could have easily fit on Voicenotes, his sophomore release. While Puth is no stranger to a midtempo power ballad, this one feels incredibly close to cuts from the aforementioned record such as “Through It All” and “If You Leave Me Now,” an a capella collaboration with R&B legends Boyz II Men.

Lyrically, Puth sings of an ex-partner who refuses to let him move on, calling out their manipulative and hurtful ways of coping; “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.”  The ex seems to be taking advantage of his inability to break ties and has decided to play games until they figure out their next move. The track is Puth and Dan + Shay’s refusal to give them the satisfaction.

Puth is a strong singer, but he, respectfully, cannot match the power of Shay Mooney. Mooney, even as far back as “19 You & Me,” established himself as one of if not THE premier male vocalist in country music. He has continued to showcase his pipes on smash hits like “Tequila” and “I Should Probably Go To Bed.” The trio comically alludes to this in a Tik Tok promoting the collaboration.

However, Puth makes his presence known throughout the track, not attempting to outsing Shay, but using his technical skills to add his own flavors. Starting near the end of the second chorus and continuing through to the end of the track, he interjects what can almost be considered signature in-between-the-lines adlibs to fill up space and create new layers for the listener. That, of course, includes a well-timed shout-on-a-note “HEY!” during a small bit of post-chorus breakdown that Puth often saves for moments of pure musical bliss.

You can stream the song on Spotify, as well as check out the music video, which features “Nonsense” singer Sabrina Carpenter, on YouTube.

Catch Puth on tour from May 20 with Blu DeTiger and Alexander Stewart.