19-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter and now pop-megastar released his self-titled third studio album. The lead single and opening track, “In My Blood,” was released March 22nd, a huge victory for fans who had waited nearly a year and a half for new music from Mendes. The single sets a cathartic and necessary tone for the rest of the anomalous record. Mendes sings, “Sometimes I feel like giving up / but I just can’t,” and each song that follows naturally proves that assertion. The second track, “Nervous,” delves into the relationship-focused aspect of the album, which will appear again and again. Mendes is at his best lyrically and vocally when reflecting on his romantic side. The most romantic track on the record is arguably “Fallin All In You,” co-written by none other than Ed Sheeran. The song reflects on a one-night stand turned into a long-lasting relationship. He sings, “You are bringing out a different kind of me / There's no safety net that's underneath,” expressing the newfound courage it has taken to jump into a new relationship after past mistakes. But the unequivocal highlight of the record comes on the thirteenth track titled “Perfectly Wrong,” a heartbreaking yet heartwarming piano ballad in which Mendes shows his most vulnerable side both vocally and lyrically. The best lyric on the track is, “You're perfectly wrong for me / And that's why it's so hard to leave,” which reflects with ease the hardships of being a young adult trying to navigate relationships and finding strength. The way Mendes sings every word in the song is captivating, outrageously exposed, and brutally honest. The track refrains from trying too hard in production and lets his vocals and lyrics stand for themself.
The fourteen-track record also features more upbeat, fast-tempo songs such as “Queen,” which is about that person who thinks they’re wayyyy cooler than everyone else *cue the eyeroll* and Mendes’s reflection on the girl who says “nice to meet you” every time they meet. “Particular Taste” is another sassy track in which Mendes makes “oooh” sound both charming as hell and naturally sexy as he sings about a girl “obsessed with the chase.” Another focal point in the album is “Where Were You in the Morning,” an entire song about one specific moment: waking up to find that your lover from the night before has fled. It happens to the best of us, but Mendes is able to write an entire song about that sudden feeling, demonstrating his masterful songwriting talent.
Mendes, still being a teenager and having a fanbase of mostly teenager girls, is well aware of the political turmoil in the states right now and collaborated with Khalid to produce a song that could very well be an anthem for the March for Our Lives movement. “Youth” is that song every other artist will bang their heads on the wall about, wishing they’d come up with such a tactful song. The lyric, “Pain, but I won't let it turn into hate” will be relatable to every young person right now fighting the good fight. All together, this self-titled record shows Mendes’ transition from teen pop star to mature young adult releasing more thoughtful and tastefully provocative music than a majority of the adult musicians who have been doing this for way longer. Shawn Mendes very well may be the greatest young male musician we have seen in decades, and it is clear that he is only getting started.