ALBUM                                 :           ILLUMINATE

ARTIST                                  :           SHAWN MENDEZ

GENRE                                   :           POP

DATE RELEASED                 :           2016

While he did not break Justin Bieber’s record as the youngest male singer to hit number one on Billboard 200 Album Chart, he managed to escape the dreaded “sophomore slump” in his second album.  Justin Bieber nearly did fell and if not for his loyal followers his second album could have ended his career.  In the case of Shawn Mendes, his sophomore album will establish him as one of them new musical stars destined to have a longer career.

He is astute enough that his teeny bopper ditties in his first album Handwritten would no longer work as his fans certainly grew up and mature.  Thus, he faced this reality with a very brilliant record.  Here’s a track by track review of this album.

  1. Ruin – is quite slow as the first track of this album. It reminds you of Madonna’s “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” where the song introduced listeners to the overall feel of the album. In Mendes case, he is preparing listeners for his maturity in terms of musicality and lyrics. This song is a good follow up when you play Paul Carrack’s “Don’t Shed A Tear For Me.”

Watch “Ruin” video in here

  1. Mercy – the heavy drum program makes the song amazing. It made the song some sort of a personal anthem for everyone.  However, you can say that the song is a slower version of his Top 5 hit “Stitches.” The piano element of this song would also infuse the idea that he can take Billy Joel’s path to musical success also if he doesn’t like the Elton John way.


Watch “Mercy” video here

  1. Treat You Better – this song clearly is a proof that he is a good singer as you can feel the longing and desire to offer better love to a girl.

Watch “Treat You Better” video here

  1. Three Empty Words – the acoustic vibe of this song could be interpreted as a Justin Bieber like attempt to replicate the success of “Love Yourself.” There is no need to compare as both songs are indeed speak of different level of maturity. In Bieber’s case, the song showed that he can do mature and Shawn’s case, it simply as the road he has to face.

Listen to “Three Empty Words” here

  1. Don’t Be A Fool – has a vibe similar to “Everybody Hurt’ of REM but it was stylistic of him to input 50’s bee bop sound.

Watch live performance of “Don’t Be A Fool” here

  1. Like This – this song might sound generic but lyrically you can say that he crafts lyrics as good as Elton John. So, expect more beautiful songs from him in the future.

Watch lyric video of “Like This” in here

  1. No Promises – perhaps he really took his inspirations from John Mayer seriously in this song. This song is so John Mayer infected with pop elements.

Watch live performance of “No Promises” here

  1. Lights On – is like watching him sex personally. The words were just vivid enough to see both in bed with the lights on.

Watch live performance of “Lights On” here

  1. Honest – you might find that this song is out of place as it sounds like a One Direction track. Hey!! He still young so what do you expect but at least this song is better than Zayn Malik’s “Pillow Talk.”
  2. Patience – the song is under three minutes and it is a good thing as too much acoustic will bore the listeners.

Watch lyric video of “Patience” here


  1. Bad Reputation – he really takes maturity theme in this album seriously. This song is a testament that he can look beyond the person’s physical beauty and integrity.


  1. Understand – this song will answer your questions what you have suspected all along. That he is an emotional kid and just needed a big hug for comfort.
  2. Hold On – only supports your suspicion with in the song ‘Understand.” This is perhaps one of the most emotional songs you will hear in your lifetime; if father image is what you lack play this song before or after Kenny Rogers “Coward of The Country.”
  3. Roses – this song and “Treat You Better” will make you also suspect that Shawn Mendes is both insecure and strong as a person.

First, there was Beyonce who went the confessional route with LEMONADE, then Frank Ocean with “BLONDE,” now, it’s Shawn’s turn with ILLUMINATE. It may not sound as glorious as those albums but the effect is just as effective.  The album will prick your heart and with that I rate this album 4 stars. Yes, another possible candidate for Album of The Year.


1 stars = Ignore it

2 stars = risk listening to it

3 stars = borrow or buy it

4 stars = buy it and keep it

5 stars = buy, keep, and treasure it




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