Shawn Mendes has come an incredibly long way from his pre-popstar days of posting covers on the now defunct Vine app. Now on his third studio record; Mendes’ star continues to rise, this record is able to tap into his young audience without a hint of it remotely being patronised. It would be easy to overlook Mendes as a pop artist whose fans are likely to only be teenage girls, but as we continue to see – this is one of the most powerful demographics in the entire world.
Opener In My Blood may follow a ballad-lite formula, but it manages to retain all the natural emotion that Mendes is able to place in his vocals. James Bay is probably somewhere kicking himself that this isn’t one of his tracks, it follows a Hold Back The River style, but the success of such a sound is not something to be sniffed at. As the record progresses towards tracks like Lost In Japan, there is an almost pop/jazz crossover feel going on, something that Mendes’ voice effortlessly flits between.
Hit writing machine Julia Michaels (Selena Gomez, Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato to name just a few) joins Shawn for Like To Be You; which is a surprising early highlight. The pair have a very natural chemistry together that translates well in practice as well as on paper. Khalid provides the second collaboration of the record on Youth, but it doesn’t quite match up to the high standard set by Mendes and Michaels.
Particular Taste sees Mendes move towards a more Timberlake style that doesn’t really go hand in hand with his image and releases to date. It’s a faux macho bravado that Mendes isn’t quite able to live up to, he’s a little too innocent boy next door to truly pull off the ladykiller image.
This record is certainly a more diverse effort from Shawn Mendes, whose previous records have all but merged into one never ending track. Before many of his hits sounded almost exactly the same, but by branching out into a more adventurous selection Mendes is able to showcase just how talented the world knows him to be. This record isn’t great, but it’s definitely still a pretty good outing from a still teenage musician.