The twenty-years-old Canadian pop singer Shawn Mendes released his self-titled third studio album on the 25th of May this year. With this album, he counts now three number one albums in the US and also in many other countries. I listen to his music since his Handwritten era back in 2014. I literally witnessed him growing up and developing his music style and I can say that he went in the right direction so far. For this record, he worked again with his songwriter team with which he works since his first album, with names like Scott Harris and Teddy Geiger. He also worked with other famous artists Ed Sheeran and Julia Michaels. Every time when an artist drops out a self-titled project they say it’s their most personal body of work they have ever released, but I think it was too early for Shawn to do so. Camila Cabello did the same. I think for a self-titled album you need experience in life. These two young artists aren’t there yet in my eyes. I think both titles were just a marketing strategy. Anyway, for this album, I expect a more mature Shawn since he isn’t a teenager anymore.
The lead single is called In My Blood and it’s an empowering anthemic rock-like guitar ballad. Shawn wrote it in the most real, raw and vulnerable way. An inspiring song with many messages he thematizes: fake relationships, mental health issues like anxiety, and the loneliness, which is caused by social media. The way he sings this song is a pure cry for help. He wants to give up but it’s not in his blood, so he asks for help. And you should do the same if you feel like giving up. Here is a list of international suicide hotlines: http://ibpf.org/resource/list-international-suicide-hotlines.
One of the promotional singles was Lost In Japan. In this song, Shawn is considering flying to Japan just to see the girl he loves. He must be crazy in love and a long-distance relationship would probably not work out for him. It’s an R&B inspired cool song. Shawn admitted in an interview that this song was hard to sing for him, he really had to practice the high notes and the falsetto, therefore he is most proud of this one. This song had to grow on me with every listening.
Nervous is another promo-single, which Shawn co-wrote with Julia Michaela. It’s an upbeat fun song in which he sings about being nervous around his crush and that he gets more excited since he knows she is also interested in him. Shawn’s vocals are the main reason why this song is so pleasant although he’s not even singing in the verses. The track Queen sounds similar to Nervous because of its beat, it also makes you clap along. But this song is quite the opposite of Nervous, it’s a fun diss track, which is aimed at a complacent selfish girl, who thinks she is a queen. I met many girls in high school, who thought they were better than others or something special. I dedicate this song to all wannabes queens. Thanks, Shawn for dissing such girls, they deserved it.
One of the collaborations is Like To Be You featuring Julia Michaels. While listening you can recognize that Julia co-wrote on this track because it’s a typical Julia Michaels song. Only their vocal performances make this song appealing otherwise the instrumentals only consist of a bass and a guitar, it’s really like an acoustic song. Shawn and Julia represent a couple, which had an argument and they want to know what the other person is thinking afterward. Is the person still mad or can they act as nothing happened? We all know such bad situations; therefore, I think that everyone can relate to this song. We all argue with our beloved ones from time to time. The other feature on the album is Khalid he sings and co-wrote Youth together with Shawn. It is the most powerful track on the album. As you already know I love songs with messages. They wrote this song to stand up against the violence in our everyday life, just like terror attacks, school shootings, and war. Such tragedies really can traumatize people especially children and destroy their youthfulness, therefore, Shawn sings that these occasions cannot take away their youth.
There is one song I wish it was also a duet with the co-writer, the song is called Fallin’ All In You and is co-written by Ed Sheeran. From the first line, you can hear that Ed Sheeran was in the house, it’s written in Ed’s style, a love song well-filled with metaphors. Maybe there’s a chance that one day they will perform this song together onstage. Another romantic love song from the album with a smooth guitar and calming vocals is When You’re Ready. Shawn is sure that this girl also loves him, but he gives her the time she needs to know if he is the right one for her. He makes himself her second choice and also admits that he would wait forever for her. In contrast to these to romantic love songs, we have an emotional breakup song in which Shawn tries to move on, called Because I Had You. I really could sympathize with Shawn’s heartache while listening to this song, let me just quote the chorus for you: “It’s time for me to finally meet somebody new, take her to all the places that I took us to. And she might help me forget but loving her is something I could never do, because I had you”. This song is just perfect and one of my favorites. Shawn not only finds himself left after a great relationship but also after a one-night-stand in the slow song Where Were You In The Morning?. In which Shawn spent the night with a girl but she had left him in the morning, so he tries to understand the entire situation and feels a bit used by her. I know, we all hate this girl.
The album counts two more funky songs, which make you move. If you’re a crazy Shawn Mendes fan they also make you wish they were written about you since they are a bit sexual. I’m speaking of the tracks Particular Taste and Mutual. In Particular Taste, Shawn is obsessed with a confident girl, who exactly knows what she wants. He is really chasing her and wants her attention. And in Mutual, he wants to turn his affair to a real relationship and asks his lover if this desire is mutual. The production is kept very simple in both songs; therefore, the listener can concentrate more on the lyrics and vocals.
If you love personal and emotional slow songs like me then the next two tracks are written for us. One of them is called Why. It is probably one of the most personal tracks on the album. In the lyrics Shawn opens up about his attraction towards a musician, he admits that even though he dated other girls, she is still his inspiration for his music. He asks himself why they can’t make the first step and tell each other that they’re interested in a relationship. If these lyrics are based on real experience, as I hope then the first female singer, who comes to mind is Camila Cabello because of their friendship. Musically not fascinating but I guess the writing process of this song was like a therapy for him. He really is telling a story. Another sad story is told in Perfectly Wrong. This track is my masterpiece of the album, I love everything about it, the lyrics, instrumentals, emotions, the vocals. This track is perfectly made for me. Shawn calmingly sings about a love-hate relationship and tells that he can’t let her go, while she is not the right person for him. This remembers me of the toxic friendships I used to have in high school. I want this song to last forever.
The production of all tracks beside the lead singles is kept very simple. The instrumentals are straightforward, they don’t sound too electronic or have special sound adding. I really missed listening to such a raw album without being distracted by the electronic features. I also think this is why the album could stand out among many other new released albums and become a number one album. Of course, Shawn has many fans, but I also think that he gained new fans with this project. I really like the album cover but he should have given it to Troye Sivan since his new album is called Bloom. I’m sure this era will be another success for Shawn and he will again win many awards for this project. Thank you for reading so far, you can leave a comment mentioning your favorite tracks.
Check out the concert review: Shawn Mendes: The Tour – Concert Review