I’m not quite sure how this- lets call it, obsession, came to be but I somehow can’t stop listening to Shawn Mendes. Is my love for him inappropriate? Definitely. Will that stop me? No.
The 19-year-old singer-songwriter just released his self-titled album and suddenly I’m wondering how I’ve gone all this time without listening to his music. If John Mayer and James Bay had a baby and that baby had each of their best qualities, then that baby would be Shawn Mendes and the baby would grow up to be a handsome young man and — I had a point I promise.
Shawn Mendes kicks off the album with “In My Blood”, which has been in constant rotation since its release and is the perfect indicator of the kind of passionate lyrics and powerful vocals one should be expecting from the rest of the album. Though Shawn’s vulnerability is sprinkled throughout the entire album, he leads each song with the kind of confidence that makes it utterly clear that the album is exactly what Shawn Mendes intended it to be.
The vulnerability first peaks through with “Nervous”, a song that leads with a sound rooted in funk and suddenly I’m swaying in my desk chair.
I get a little bit nervous around you
Get a little bit stressed out when I think about you
Get a little excited
Baby, when I think about you, yeah
Talk a little too much around you
“Like To Be You”, a duet with co-songwriter Julia Michaels, describes both sides of an argument within a relationship. With Shawn and Julia’s voices beautifully blending together, it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite songs on the album. My Fangirl tendencies threatened to jump out while I listened to “Fallin’ All In You” because suddenly I’m picturing our life together and – the point is the songwriting is truly the star on this album. “Particular Taste” gave me the kind of happiness that “Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monaé gave me and honestly; I’m grateful because I am always down for a solo-dance-party.
Shawn has stated that the influences for this album came from multiple inspirations but I couldn’t help but hear a little bit of Justin Timberlake sprinkled throughout a couple of the songs. It was during “Why” that his Justin Timberlake-esque falsetto took center stage and stole the show. Though I’ve been known to criticize Timberlake and his music, it’s clear that Shawn Mendes has picked up on Justin’s best qualities and applied his unique take on the music.
Though admittedly, I haven’t truly listened to his previous albums (with the exception of a few songs) I can see the clear progression with this new release. The lyrical content displays a maturity that doesn’t overshadow the sweet-nature that Shawn Mandes is known for. While the music is electric, funky and eclectic in its sound; each song beautifully blends from one track to the next. I will say, if I had one complaint, it would be that I was expecting more soul from this album. I was hoping for more songs reminiscent of “Ruin” from his Illuminate album, so maybe I’m a tiny-bit disappointed but I’m sure a few replays of Shawn Mendes and I’ll be getting over it.
Clearly I’ve struggled to contain the fangirl during this entire piece but we can’t deny the talent that is contained within the 6’4″ human specimen that is Shawn Mendes. So now excuse me while I go listen to “Mutual” while I pretend that he wrote it about me.