I am not a fan of Shawn Mendes. I barely know the Canadian 19-year old’s music, and I already hate the handful of pop singles I encountered where his pubescent voice yells mediocre hooks. Yes, that includes “Stitches”, “Treat You Better” (“bedder danee caaan!” kills me every time) and even that insufferable duet with Camila Cabello. The only song I have of his on my iTunes is “Something Big”, which I don’t even listen to.
But when I found out a new studio album of his had dropped, I made the random decision to listen to it; I already have a Spotify subscription, so it’s not like I’m forking out extra money.
Surprise, surprise, because Mendes’s album is actually unexpectedly good.
The self-titled Shawn Mendes sounds nothing like the four singles I know of his. It’s easy listening goodness, a mash of acoustic pop and R&B with hints of rock, disco and country. I never heard Mendes’s first two albums, but from those singles he put out, there’s a maturity in the young adult’s artistry that the once-teenage heartthrob previously lacked in his music. His vocals are gentle and soothing, exercising a calm yet confident restraint.
It’s not my go-to genre of music, but this easy listening album is a peaceful, versatile record for the quiet evening at the dinner table or a lounge.
Six of the fourteen tracks run under three minutes.