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Shawn Mendes Illuminates

The Charger Bulletin

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Since 2013, singer Shawn Mendes has come a long way from the six-second covers on Vine that first put him in the spotlight. 18-year-old Mendes released his second album, Illuminate on September 23 and earned his second number one album on the Billboard 200, whilst playing a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden.

Illuminate, Mendessophomore album, comes about 18 months after his debut Handwritten. In those 18 months, Mendesmusic has evolved immensely. As a whole, Illuminate is more cohesive than Handwritten. Illuminate is a departure from some of the songs on his first album theres nothing syrupy sweet and bubblegum pop about it. Artists like Ed Sheeran, John Mayer and Jason Mraz come to mind less than Justin Bieber.

Mendes began making this transition with the first single, Treat You Better, released in June. Ruin, Three Empty Words, and Mercywere also released before the album itself. Out of those three, Mercyis the standout it perfectly contrasts acoustic with drums and fiery vocals.

One of the biggest changes Mendes made is the way he subtly began writing more and more about intimate and sexual situations he was still 16 when Handwritten was released, and now as an 18-year-old, the music has matured with him. Lights Onis a perfect example of this, and one of Illuminates standout tracks.  

Ruinis the first track on the LP, which was a smart decision. Though it starts slow, it perfectly sets the tone for the next 11 songs. It is driven by acoustic guitar, which is one of the major changes from Handwritten.

Though it can be a bit slow at points, there really is not a bad song on Illuminate. It may seem typical of popular music to be about love, but Mendes makes it clear that his tracks on Illuminate are not all in lovesongs. Dont Be A Foolis more about heartbreak than love; Patienceis another song that iss more intimate than the others, and it has an extremely memorable melody.  With the varying tempos and instrumentation on the tracks, they are all different without straying too far from the core sound. The way the songs were arranged on the track listing lends itself to a few musical surprises throughout listening.

Illuminate has so much depth to it, and with Mendes still only 18-years-old, there is still so much more to come from him.

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Shawn Mendes Illuminates