Shawn Mendes Shawn Mendes (Standa Vinyl

Artist: Shawn Mendes

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Picking up the thread left dangling from 2016's Illuminate, Shawn Mendes decides to create an even more fashionable set of soulful pop on his eponymous 2018 album. Mendes remains a quivering adolescent presence -- he was still 19 years old when this album saw release -- but his self-titled record is assured and quietly confident in a way that suggests he has his adulthood on his mind. He doesn't abandon the soft-focus soul that turned "Stitches" into a breakthrough smash, but he deepens his groove and polishes his surfaces, all the while concentrating on crafting sturdy songs. Never mind that the album gets off to a shaky start with "In My Blood," an anonymous arena rock number that suggests he equates playing rock to the rafters with real music, a notion that's dispelled by the remainder of the record. He builds Shawn Mendes on lithe, tuneful R&B numbers, happy to have songs be as mellowly effervescent as "Queen" or as modern as the gently pulsating "Youth," which is graced by an appearance from Khalid. Mendes occupies a space between modern R&B and Ed Sheeran's earnest balladeering, but the key to his success -- both commercially and artistically -- is his light touch. There's a palpable sweetness to music that endures, even when a production is as bright and glistening as it is on Shawn Mendes. That bodes well for the future that Shawn Mendes is so evidently planning for. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • Released: 6/29/2018
  • Genre: Pop
  • Format: Vinyl