Album Review: Illuminate by Shawn Mendes

“Can you talk for a moment? There’s no way to say this that easily. And everything I said, I swear I meant it…”
Shawn Mendes, “Honest”

Shawn Mendes’ sophomore album, Illuminate, is a mix of genres — a little bit of jazz, soul, and pop.

With “Treat You Better” and “Mercy,” I was somewhat concerned that the songs on this album may sound too similar and not stand on their own. I was wrong.

“Patience” is the most intriguing sound on the tracklist for me. The chorus stretches Shawn’s voice to a different point, and the entire song is just so clear and beautiful, despite the fact that it rings with lovesick frustration.

“Bad Reputation” stands out, too. The vocals and production are in perfect harmony, and I can easily imagine this song being tapped for a movie soundtrack. The vibe is fantastic.

As Shawn mentioned during a Facebook live at his Illuminate pop up in NYC last week, he made the album with the goal of giving his listeners a spectrum of emotion.

He manages to achieve that spectrum without making the album seem like a confusion of sound. From the heartbreaking goodbye in “Three Empty Words” to the surprisingly intimate beauty that is “Lights On,” Shawn has delivered an upgrade from his debut, Handwritten.

His vocals are the album’s constant, somehow resonating with passion on every single song.

Warning: it might give you chills.

Buy Illuminate on iTunes now!

Want to win a free physical copy of Illuminate autographed by Shawn?
Follow @FanaticReviews on Twitter – I’ll officially announce a giveaway during the week of 9/26/16 and update this post with more info!

 Shawn is going on tour next year! For dates and ticket info as they’re added, check out his official website.

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