Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes is kind of the perfect pop star. Stable, grounded, nice as hell and altogether are pretty good fucking guy Mendes is the poster boy for a good kid doing good shit outside of controversy. His ravenous legions of tween fans hang on his every word, and have propelled him to the top of the Billboard Hot 200 on both his previous albums. All this makes him sound pretty easy to hate, or maybe his music is just that generic that it can appeal to millions of fans, but you'd be wrong. Mendes manages to make all the right moves, stick to what He knows and make the absolute best of what is put in front of him. This self titled record arrives at a bit of a transitional time for Mendes. At 19 and already an established Pop singer this record needed to push the edges a bit and allow the singer to "grow up" a bit. This album deals with larger topics like one night stands and emotional anxiety while certianly taking some notes from Prince on his delivery. There are more than a few times that you can hear The Pruple One's influence looming over this record on tracks like "Lost in Japan" and "Particular Taste". However, instead of going over the top sexual Mendes stays in his cute boy lane creating a space for his style of pop all his own. He also sounds a hell of a lot like Justin Timberlake when He whips out the falsetto, and boy does it sound nice.
The arrangements here are strikingly simple often just Mendes and a guitar using the strums as the beat. "Because I Had You" follows this pattern just laying the whole think out plainly and allowing Mendes' vocal to shine through it all. It's almost like Ed Sheeran without the cheese, even though some of that same cheddar is still in there. Thing fall apart a little in his duo with Khalid "Youth" a song that tries way to hard to encapsulate the mental anguish of youth. The second half of the album is far more boring than it's first as Mendes slips into some old bad habits and sort of cuts out the experimentation. These are likely for the Mendes faithful, but it hurts the album and brings it to a bumpy close. There is a lot to like about this record, but there are also some flubs that any 19 year old should be expected to make. Shawn Mendes may not be the most edgy, nor avante garde musician, but his songs are simple and true and give you a somewhat beautiful picture of what life is. There is a place in the world for this music, and a place for it to be enjoyed. Don't be hater just cause the guy is 19.
7.3 out of 10