As far as his career goes, Shawn Mendes has made great strides to get to where he is now. Initially, Mendes found a following on video sharing site Vine, and he has since capitalized on this which led to his successful debut album “Handwritten” in 2015.
The artist proved he is no fluke by the time his second album “Illuminate” was out in 2016. But it’s important to note that after topping the Billboard album charts on the strength of the hit singles “Treat You Better” and “Nothing’s Holding Me Back,” he has so far accomplished all of this, and he’s not even reached age 20.
That’s why A-listers like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran are pointing to Shawn Mendes as the future of male pop. And the 19-year old Ontario native isn’t letting his cheerleading squad down as he proves them right with his new eponymous album.
Here, it’s all about what Mendes can do with his songs. His new tunes run the gamut as he gives a nod to classic pop and it generally works for him musically.
On album opener, “In My Blood,” he switches a bit to alt rock. Mendes had been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and here he tackles it head on as he sings “Help me it’s like the walls are caving in / sometimes I feel like giving up but I just can’t / It isn’t in my blood.” And it gets desperate still as he croons “Laying on my bathroom floor / feeling nothing I’m overwhelmed and insecure / give me something I could take to ease my mind slowly.” It’s a rising emotional rock song that remind of Kings Of Leon, but for those in the same boat, take a listen to this song and know that you’re not alone.
A song about young attraction. “Nervous” has that Prince-like falsettos and funk styled chic-a-chic funk guitars. Likewise, “Lost In Japan” has a funky-pop-dance vibe? Maybe he’s trying to channel MJ or maybe Jackson-lite Justin Timberlake. No matter, check out those nice choruses and the “Off The Wall” basslines.
Mendes has filled a niche in Top 40 pop and he shares this space with the likes of Niall Horan, or any ex-1D members for that matter. “Where Were You In The Morning” could sit nicely alongside “Slow Hands” if you ask us. It’s those glassy, guitar octave double stops. Speaking of 1D, I’m sure their fans wouldn’t begrudge it if we say that Mendes’ ballad “Because I Had You” sounds something like their fave boys would do. How ‘bout they switch to Mendes while they await the reunion? Yes?
A quick favorite is the catchy soul pop of “Fallin’ All In You” which incidentally, is co-written by Ed Sheeran. “Particular Taste” has that classic pop feel while “Why” echo some old R&B. Nothing heavy here, just savvy melodies alongside the occasional understated guitar soloing. Is it just us or do we hear the ballad “Perfectly Wrong” like a slowed down “Message In A Bottle?” And tuneful “Queen” absolutely sounds familiar that it escapes us.
Vocally, Mendes has that Adam Levine-like tone. He sounds almost like “The Voice” coach on “Like To Be You.” It’s a nice little ditty that features American singer-songwriter Julia Michaels. This particular song is produced by John Mayer. Khalid also appears on the mid-tempo declaration “Youth.”
Another thing to note is that Mendes’ music sounds so midde-of-the-road. “Mutual” is one example. If he wasn’t only 19 years old, his sound could find him in the adult contemporary field.
Mendes is all heart. All his songs take on that conversational tone that it’s almost a Mendes specialty. Album closer and acoustic tinged “When You’re Ready” is one of them. Heart in sleeve, you say? That’s Shawn Mendes all the way.
Tags: Audio Junkie, AUDIO JUNKIE: Why A-listers agree Shawn Mendes is it, classic pop, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Manila Bulletin, Manila Bulletin Entertainment, mb.com.ph, Shawn Mendes, Shawn Peter Raul Mendes