Handwritten (Universal Music)
Breakdown: You may not recognize the name just yet, but Canadian singer and Vine star Shawn Mendes is planning to be the next big thing on the international pop scene. Shawn is only 16 years old but this album made its debut at the top of the Billboard 200 Album Charts. The record has seen two singles so far – ‘Life of the Party’ and the banging ‘Something Big’.
How Many Good Tracks: 7 of the 12.
What I Liked: Sure, this is a pop album, but it’s far from the bubblegum pop we’re used to from these young up-and-coming stars. The songs on this album have more depth than the early Justin Bieber stuff which is great to see in a young star. It’s clear that Shawn and Universal had a plan for this album and there are a few moments where you will take a step back and just let the music consume you. His vocals are rich and I found myself really impressed with his delivery on more than one occasion. The themes on the record are age-appropriate and it’s really well-rounded. I love that he has used live instruments instead of the studio sound that so many have gone with recently. Sure, this album is not perfect, but for a debut record from a 16-year-old, I’m impressed.
What I Didn’t Like: Although the songs have a layer of depth in them, the record is still so predictable. There is nothing unique about this record and, although it has a hit or two, it’s very safe. I feel Shawn tried to copy what is popular in the current music space rather than finding who he is as a musician and working on that.
Best Track: Something Big
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