The student news site of Central High School

The Grizzly Claw

Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

Singer-Songwriter Drops Second Album

Photo Courtesy of Disney| ABC Television Group

Photo Courtesy of Disney| ABC Television Group

Sierra Blanco, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes started from humble beginnings as an amateur musician turned Viner. His love for music and the encouragement he received on Vine prompted him to post additional videos of himself on Youtube. He eventually developed a strong following which led to the release of his first hit single “Life of The Party”. Since then, he has made it big, dropping his first album Handwritten in 2015 and recently releasing his second, Illuminate, in September. 

Though he’s received harsh criticism from some, those who fans of Mendes have been highly anticipating the release of  Illuminate after the commercial success Handwritten which debuted at number one on Billboard charts. On September 23,2016 Mendes released Illuminate, worldwide. Mendes says he decided to write the songs because he was inspired by heartbreak and the darker aspects of life. Initially he dropped two singles back in June, Treat You Better and Ruin via Itunes, and the lyrics in both reflect this more serious, mature shift in focus.

Regardless, most of Illuminate’s tracks still feature the musical style he’s known for. The beats are typical pop fare, and most tracks are catchy and danceable. On other tracks, the tempo remains energetic while Mendes delivers contrasting lyrics that are intended to be heartbreaking. He is clearly attempting to be more honest and personal on this album.

However, Mendes has a long way to go before anyone will consider him a songwriter of substance. One of the singles he released before dropping the album, “Treat You Better”, was the best of the bunch. The lyrics were more authentic and well crafted than they are on other tracks. The melody is characteristically upbeat and appealing. Unfortunately it just doesn’t deliver the emotional depth Mendes seems to be reaching for, and this is his best work so far.

In general, the rest of the album was listenable, while unremarkable. Mendes’ vocals were consistently solid, though his ambitions outweigh his capability here as well. At times,  he is apparently influenced by Gospel traditions, yet doesn’t have the range or power to make the most of this style. His voice is never striking – it’s just polished. His lyrics are fairly trite and not nearly as insightful as Mendes intends them to be. Despite Mendes’ articulated desire to produce more serious music, his approach still comes over as sentimental, self- indulgence.

Overall, Illuminate doesn’t live up to the artist’s promise of an intropective journey. It’s simply a trip right back to his first album, Handwritten. If you’re a dedicated Shawn Mendes fan, you’ll probably love it. If not, then only two songs, Treat You Better and Ruin are worth checking out. For anyone who found Mendes’s first effort annoying or boring, Illuminate is just more of the same, so don’t bother giving him a second chance.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    Snowden; Big Brother is watching

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    Music

    Our Hearts go Bidi Bidi Bom Bom!

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    To Catch A Dream Catcher

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    When the Bough Breaks: Is It Worth It?

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    The Fanatics Guide on How to Download Insanity

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    Top 5 Technologies We Wished We Had as Kids

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    Teenage Girl Who Controls Lightning

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    The Life of a Trouble Teenager

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    Kanye Still Making Waves With New Album

  • Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright

    A&E

    Mysteries of the Moon

The student news site of Central High School
Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate Isn’t So Bright