On his third, self-titled, studio album, 19-year-old Shawn Mendes offers more catchy pop songs, solid songwriting and a gentle push into new territory, without losing his edge.
Songs like Nervous and Particular Taste take a minimal approach, revolving around simple guitar licks, finger clicks and the kind of smooth R’n’B/neo-soul delivery you might expect from Pharrell Williams. Lost In Japan and Where Were You In The Morning are much more lush and jazzy in comparison, oozing confidence, with Mendes’ falsetto reminiscent of Justin Timberlake, all over Stevie Wonder-style soul funk.
Some of the best tracks are those which see him at his most comfortable, such as in the plucked guitar rhythms of Because I Had You, the bittersweet piano-led Perfectly Wrong (which contains Mendes’ best vocal performance), and sentimental closer When You’re Ready, which has some of the simplest, but most powerful lyrics.
Queen and Fallin’ All In You are the only real low points here, with Mendes opting for generic and repetitive chord progressions.
This album may deal with even more unrequited love, but Mendes is at his most consistent, and on course to set the world alight with another set of perfect pop songs.