March 3 – Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes
Total tracks: 14
Songs you might know:
– “In My Blood”
– “Lost In Japan”
– “Youth” (ft. Khalid)
My prior relationship with this album: I had not listened to this album before, but had heard the singles. “In My Blood” had impressed me already, and so when I heard a catchy song out and about and Shazam told me it was “Nervous” from this album, I decided to give the whole album a chance. Prior to hearing this song I thought of Shawn Mendes as a decent, competent musician but a bit of a one trick pony. He could do fun and catchy, but nothing that really resonated on a deeper level. “In My Blood” showed me that perhaps he was growing as an artist and this wouldn’t just be a rehash of his prior material, and I wanted to see if the rest of the album followed suit.
My impressions this time around: I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Despite having six weeks worth of albums in my backlog, this was one I found myself most excited to listen to again so I could do my writeup. It somehow manages to be Jonas Brothers meets Justin Bieber meets Ed Sheeran meets Justin Timberlake meets One Direction minus most of the qualities that make me not like these various artists. Is it fresh and original? Not really, but it somehow manages to digest all the other things that other big pop acts of the last decade have done right into one cohesive album.
Mendes has a really beautiful high register that gets a lot of moments to shine, but he doesn’t overdo it to the point that it loses its effect. He also doesn’t confine himself to the sort of R&B-based Justin Timberlake pop where we’re most used to hearing that sort of voice. We certainly get some of that on tracks like “Lost in Japan” but we also get some Ed Sheeran-esque acoustic material with songs like “Fallin’ In You.” The result is an album that’s fun, perfectly executed pop music that’s just interesting enough to avoid bubblegum territory.
Who would enjoy it? Literally anyone who enjoys current pop music trends can find something to love here. It’s derivative in the best possible way.