Shawn Mendes is Shawn Mendes’ self-titled third project following the albums Handwritten and Illuminate. Some have proclaimed Mendes as an icon and one of the industry’s hardest workers for already having a three albums by the age of 19. In his self-titled album, Mendes continues his trademark of poignant songs of young love featuring an acoustic guitar here and there. In addition to sticking to this trademark, Mendes begins experimenting musically and lyrically which provides, perhaps, a glimpse to future endeavors.
This album starts off strong with a trio of lyrically-interesting, instrumentally-sound, and vocally-impressive tracks. “In My Blood” features Mendes’ best vocals on the entire album by far. Though this does kick the album into high gear from the start, it does leave the listener yearning for more vocally, for the rest of the album is so-so. “Nervous” provides stripped-back and clean production for Mendes to play on top of a funky, Justin Timberlak-like vocal style. “Lost In Japan” continues this candy-like sound with a plucky, yet gracious guitar and a jazzy piano backing that forces you to snap and bob along.
The features on this album most definitely provide some well needed spice to this soup of Shawn Mendes, though they can be a little overpowering where they are present. Julia Michaels’ feature on “Like To Be You” harmonizes near perfectly with Shawn’s vocal style creating a very emotional duet. However, Michaels does seem to bring out the emotion in her vocals much more easily and openly than that of the more reserved Mendes, creating a slight imbalance. The Khalid feature on “Youth” is one of the more experimental tracks. It features a much deeper and soulful tone than most Shawn Mendes tracks, though keeping the upbeat nature of the rest of the album. However, Khalid took over the reins, being the spotlight on the song rather than just providing a bit of flavor. Perhaps the trend of these features is based on experience or simply just production, however, it is still a noticeable trend.
Shawn Mendes is most definitely a success, adding face to his career. Mendes’ previous works have been filled with reaches for radio hits, and this album is no exception, but Shawn Mendes does show growth. Another youthful, young love album may not go over as well in the future, but for now, Mendes is lining up the cans and hitting most of them down and is right where he needs to be for more future success.