Illuminate by Shawn Mendes


Grace Lester, Reporter

Shawn Mendes, a star on the rise, released his second album “Illuminate on Sept. 23. Mendes’ new album continues to follow his personal touch by writing on all of his songs and keeping the boy-with-his-guitar persona. However, Mendes took it up a notch with songs such as “Ruin,” “Honest,” “Lights On” and “Bad Reputation.”

Mendes shares that his music is influenced by John Mayer, Justin Timberlake and Ed Sheeran. Sheeran joined Mendes’ record label on this time around and produced over half of the album. Mayer and Sheeran are known for their electric guitar solos and Mendes happened to pick that up when writing on his first album, “Handwritten.” With Sheeran around, Mendes was able to maintain the popular hook he had developed while posting short six second clips on Vine with lyrics like “I can’t give you what you need / You deserve more than I can promise.”  

The closing song of the album of named “Understand,” is one of the most authentic songs on the album. Mendes speaks at the end of the song reminding us, and himself, that we should stay true to our hearts during hardships. Mendes has found this more difficult to do as he grows in fame. He shares, “Am I turning into someone else? / I’m praying I don’t forget just who I am” and “Yeah we all get lost sometimes / But don’t leave your heart behind.”  

Overall, I enjoyed Mendes’ “Illuminate” and the album’s authenticity of love and loss. Mendes has come a long way since his vine videos and I look forward to hearing more from Mendes as he grows in his music.