Ever been invited to the loft party, the industry event or the fundraising brunch in the city that most in flyover country could only fathom attending in their wildest fantasies, yet nobody seemed happy there? Pop star Charlie Puth’s new duet with R&B favorite Kehlani, “Done For Me,” might be your ideal tune for those bubble-bursting moments out in the world.
Said Puth about “Done For Me” to Zane Lowe on Beats 1, “I produced this after an unsuccessful party in L.A., which is what all these records are based off of on my album.” The lyrics don’t go into detail about Puth’s glum evening out, but hang on elliptical little hints: “You think you’d be better with somebody new?” “If you want to leave, there ain’t nobody stopping you.”
This solo sulk then develops into a lover’s quarrel with Kehlani’s guest vocal, which gets songwriting and arranging points for weaving her voice into the narrative seamlessly, instead of as an awkwardly shoehorned-in cameo. She fires back at her insecure, accusatory partner — “I never cheated/ Deleted everyone because they made you uncomfortable” — which is decent fodder for thought experiments about Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks writing Rumours in 2018 over an Instagram spat.
“Done For Me,” which was also produced by Puth, is both classic-sounding in that big-board, Thriller vein of record,s and modern-seeming without adding too many 2010s signifiers. A liquid bass line, a couple synth horns and some vaguely stoney reverb carry the song, while the dejected, inward-looking vibe may serve you well next time that ritzy function turns out to be more of a dark night of the soul than a bash to remember.