After two very well-appreciated albums, containing popular hits like Mercy, Treat You Better and Stitches, Shawn Mendes has released yet another dynamic album. At such a young age, the 19-year-old Mendes has expressed a massive transformation in terms of his musical approach, with each albums’ release signifying his growth over the teenage years. Whilst this record has a style and vibe of its own, it’s clear that Mendes’ self-titled is an album inspired by his past efforts.
This album is surprisingly self-titled despite it being his third studio album - perhaps this shows that Shawn wants to start afresh and re-represent himself within his newly found personality and musical identity. The album’s cover art, Shawn’s distorted face (with flowers growing underneath the deformations), is a great representation of the fact that Shawn is growing out of his old shell and starting a new chapter in his life.
Through the opening track In My Blood, Shawn illustrates anxieties and how he builds up the courage to face them. This scenario is musically portrayed using a subtle verse and a very strong and progressive rock chorus - “Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can’t, it isn’t in my blood.” Through Youth, Shawn and fellow 1998-born Khalid share the difficulties of being a celebrity at such a young age. Lines such as “Waking up to headlines…filled with devastation again” and “You can’t take my youth away” signal towards how while growing up as such young celebrities in the music industry, people change, responsibilities change, and suddenly, one doesn’t feel so young anymore. But all those factors cannot change the fact that they are very much representational of youth culture.
Each song on the album portrays a different fusion of pop, bringing out a sense of versatility in Shawn and his work. Nervous, Lost In Japan and Fallin’ All In You give a very upbeat R&B vibe with strong base lines, vintage beats and unexpectedly well-blending falsettos. Where Were You In The Morning? follows similar lines, but is comparatively a bit slow paced and jazzy and frames the perfect idea of a one night stand. Like To Be You (featuring Julia Michaels) is a well-composed duet, painting an elaborate picture of two people trying to understand the mentality and personality of each other. To an extent, this song has tried to put light on an aspect of relationships a lot of people do not actually understand or realise.
As I listened to each song on the album towards the end, I noticed that the songs were becoming less and less captivating. Whilst the songs retained the style Shawn chose for the album, the latter tracks did tend to fall off slightly - there was a lack of consistency that detracts from repeated listens somewhat.
Looking over at the summation of the atmosphere created through the composition by Shawn in this album, it feels to have a way more personal and passionate touch to it than his previous two albums. Shawn has had a remarkable journey through the past four years from being a famous vine-star to a well-rounded and appreciated musician. It is amazing to see how someone as young as 19 has achieved so much already and still has such a long way to go.