Review: Shawn Mendes - Illuminate
3.0Overall Score

He’s become a formidable name on the international pop front after his smash hit ‘Stitches’, which appeared on his debut album ‘Handwritten’, took the world by storm. Now, Shawn Mendes hopes to mimic the success that success with his second studio album “Illuminate” – and it seems to be going well for him so far. The album’s lead single “Treat You Better” has become one of the star’s biggest hits yet and his new single “Mercy” is on the road to being another smash hit.

The first thing that is evident when listening to the record is how much Shawn has grown over the 18 months since he released his debut record. Sure, “Illuminate” is still a love record but Shawn manages to put his feelings in song in the most open, honest and raw way.

This album is a lot deeper and the album shines, lyrically. Shawn sings about hope on “Treat You Better,” loss on “Don’t Be A Fool” and heartbreak on “Mercy”. The singer also tackles social issues such as bullying on “Bad Reputation” and staying true to oneself on the album’s closing track “Understand”.

Shawn’s vocal performance, much like the song-writing on the album, has also improved remarkably on this record. The emotions are evident on almost every note he sings and explores both the high and low ranges of his voice, stretching them further than ever before.

However, sonically, the sound doesn’t stray too far from what he carved since he rose to superstardom. Shawn still hides behind his guitar. It’s where he feels comfortable but, unfortunately, it doesn’t allow for his creativity to flow. So, the album became predictable and it’s a shame that the growth in his song-writing and vocal ability wasn’t able to translate as well as it could have on the final product.

Overall, this album had the potential to be great. The singer has done a lot of growth over the past year and a half and it’s great to see this translate in his music. This is a pleasant album, but don’t expect it to make a major impact.

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