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Shawn Mendes: Illuminating on the Charts

Stephanie Nguyen, Junior Writer

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18 year old singer-songwriter, Shawn Mendes, has released his second studio album on September 23, 2016. Since 2013, this Canada native has been dominating the social media outlets, in particular, Vine, a six-second video sharing platform. With this recognition, Mendes has become an artist to be reckoned with. With multiple singles high on the charts, such as, “Stitches,” listeners are holding high expectations for Illuminate. They were not disappointed
when his record reached #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and iTunes in over 60 countries. Produced by Island Record, Illuminate consists of 13 tracks that showcases his abilities as an upcoming
musician.
As a brand new artist in the music industry, it is important for Shawn Mendes to establish a sound that is right for him. Illuminate beautifully showcases the brand he is making for himself. His sophomore album consists of lot of blues-inspired sounds with influences from Ed Sheeran, a music artist. This is shown through the incorporation of simplistic instruments to emphasize Mendes’ strong vocals. The result is a beautiful, consistent sound throughout the album. A track in particular that represents this is, “Three Empty Words,” which expresses the feeling of being out of love. This track, originally released before the album release date for promotion, strongly represents what the album will be, an emotionally-impactful record.
The drums are also used frequently to demonstrate a more sharp and intense sound. This is
incorporated in some of the stand outs of this album, one of which is, “Ruin.” This track is
focused mainly on Mendes’ vocals, which is strongly represented throughout to display a strong
sense of emotion. “Ruin,” discusses how he is not trying to be the one to disrupt his partner’s
happiness, by repeatedly saying that, “don’t you know that I’m the only one?” This symbolizes
that he is trying to do the exact opposite of being someone to, “ruin your happiness.” Another
significant track on Illuminate is, “Understand,” which as a powerful monologue in the middle of
the song. His words are directed to his listeners and to assure them that it’s okay to change into
a new, better, version of yourself. In a way, “Understand,” is for Shawn Mendes to express his
experience growing up and the lessons he learned, at the young age he is at. It is evidently one
of the more personal tracks on Illuminate.
The global success of Mendes’ sophomore album was evident throughout the media. Fans
and listeners of the record expressed their excitement with the hashtag, #IlluminateOniTunes,
which trended number one worldwide on Twitter. Many believe that Illuminate represents Shawn
Mendes very well, with one student from DePaul College Prep, Krista Cabiltes, describing it as,
“Really good. It shows Shawn’s range of vocals and it shows how dedicated he is to
his music with his new type of sound.” Mendes portrays himself as a respectable artist, who has
found the style of music he wants to be known for through this record.
Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate, not only is beautifully sung, but excellently represents him as an
upcoming artist. It demonstrated Mendes’ musical abilities in an honest album, giving it the
recognition it deserves on the Billboard 200 chart. He successfully supported his vocals to make
it to be one of the most prominent features in this album. Shawn Mendes creates intense emotion
behind each song, making Illuminate to be one of the most in depth albums he has yet to create.
Shawn has shown what he can bring to the music industry, a profound, acoustic, bluesy sound.
The talent in this second album is undeniable and, “illuminated,” making him to be someone to
watch for in the music world. So, if you’re ever in a need for a tune to relax to, try giving Shawn
Mendes’ album, Illuminate, a listen on either Spotify or iTunes.

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Shawn Mendes: Illuminating on the Charts