Charlie Puth Finally Discusses Namecheck On Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department”: “The Song’s In C Major”

Charlie Puth Finally Discusses Namecheck On Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department”: “The Song’s In C Major”

When Taylor Swift released her blockbuster album The Tortured Poets Department last month, she included a whole lot of lyrical namedrops, and the most prominent was the shoutout to fellow pop star Charlie Puth. On the LP’s title track, Swift sings, “You smoked, then ate seven bars of chocolate/ We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist.” Puth got no advance notice about that namecheck, and he now says that he didn’t believe it was real at first. He also cried.

A few weeks ago, Puth responded to that Taylor Swift line while teasing a new song on TikTok, but he didn’t mention her specifically. He just said stuff like, “Thank you for your support… you know who you are.” But now Puth has described the experience of hearing that line in a Rolling Stone interview. In the story, Puth says that a friend heard an early leak of The Tortured Poets Department and told him about it at lunch: “My brain immediately went to ‘Oh, like in an interview or something. That’s cool. I love Taylor Swift.'”

Puth also thought maybe the line was AI-generated: “I’m going to wake up tomorrow and it was just a big joke that someone was playing on me because someone thinks I shouldn’t be a bigger artist, so get the biggest artist since the Beatles to say that I should be a bigger artist. Ha ha ha.”

But on the morning that the actual album came out, Puth heard it for himself while he was brushing his teeth: “My first thought was like, ‘Wow. She said my name.’ She kind of said it like P-O-O-T-H. And I just cried, dude.” He also notes, “The song’s in C major,” which seems like the kind of thing he would say. But so wait: That’s not how his name is pronounced?

Puth says that the Taylor Swift shoutout helped give him the confidence to release “Hero,” the new single that he teased in that TikTok video a few weeks ago: “It was surreal because it’s never good to look back, but I feel like I could have done things a little differently in the past, but it’s all meant to happen now… I’d say if it weren’t for Taylor and her mentioning me, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to put this out, which is a big statement. I know.” Puth also says that the song was directly inspired by boygenius, Maggie Rogers, and Swift’s own lyrical specificity:

I was in complete denial, too, because there was no way this could be a thing. It’s so random. But then again, I’m listening to [‘The Tortured Poets Department’] and I’m like, “”t’s not random. It’s probably about a real conversation she had with somebody.” And I thought to myself, “Why don’t I get hyper specific in my lyrics ever? Because I’m so concerned about a song being a hit? No.” I feel like I owe it to myself to make a song where people really know the true backstory of something. But I’m always like, “They’re going to get bored. There’s too many words.” This song wouldn’t have come out without her stamp of approval.

Puth wrote Swift a thank-you note, but he hasn’t seen her in purpose since they both played a Jingle Ball show years ago. And as far as people who he thinks should be bigger artists, Puth mentions Melanie Martinez and Mk.Gee. You can read the Rolling Stone interview here and check out “Hero” below.


This song is out now

♬ original sound – Charlie Puth

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