Audiences were first introduced to teenage heart-throb Shawn Mendes through the popular six-second video app Vine, where he mastered the art of capturing young girl’s hearts with his impressive guitar and vocal skills. Although the videos only lasted six seconds, it was enough for Island records to snatch the teen pop-sensation and offer him a recording contract. Now, on the outset of 18, Shawn has released his second album ‘Illuminate’. With its John Mayer inspired melodies and true-to-the-heart lyrics, Illuminate is the perfect transition from naive, clean-cut kid to mature recording artist.
Throughout Illuminate, Shawn actively attempts to work outside of social music norms. Rather than using the “electronic/techno” backing tracks that are common among our generation, Shawn chooses to use “old-fashioned” instruments like acoustic guitar, piano and backing choir. These instrumentals reinforce the themes of the songs (as seen in ‘Like this’ and ‘Three empty words’). The lyrics in Illuminate are what you expect to come from someone linked to artists like Justin Bieber, reminding us that although this album sounds more mature, Shawn is still just an 18-year-old kid.
I would give this album a solid 4 out 5 stars on the “treblemaker scale”. There were a couple of tracks which were too slow for my personal taste, but overall the album was impressive and Shawn perfectly showcased his vocal and music ability, along with his musical development. If I had to summarise the album, I would direct you to an interview with Ryan Seacrest, which says, “Mendes’ album serves a soundtrack for the man stages of love”. It’s the perfect album for all you helpless romantics, and lovers of pop ballads.