It was no surprise when Shawn Mendes’s fourth album dropped at midnight last Friday. The last time I saw this much press for something was… well, I really can’t think of a time I saw more press for anything. (Zane Lowe, Netflix, Netflix again, a bunch of other interviews, and a suddenly very active Instagram.)
I was concerned that there wouldn’t be surprises because of the ~load~ of content we got in the weeks leading up to the debut, but I was pleasantly caught off guard with some of the songs and the turns they took.
Mendes is very clear about his influences for this record: The Beatles, John Mayer, a specific Kanye West song — basically a 60s/70s vibe with a ton of instrumentals showing off the magic of music. While I would throw in some Justin Bieber and more pop-y elements to that group, you can definitely hear what he wanted to do.
I don’t think there’s a weak song on the whole record. At the same time, I feel like most of them are on a similar level. They have noticeably better instrumentals than his other music and definitely more thoughtful lyrics. However, there aren’t a ton of stand-outs, but they flow together nicely. That being said, here are a few that I’ve been turning to more than others.
Call My Friends — He’s bummed he’s been gone from home so long and misses his friends. He wants a break from his life and to go back to “normal” where he can be with them and get high. I took this as the “pandemic” song of the album even though I don’t think it was meant to be that. As he was singing, I kept thinking about what I would give to be able to sit in a bar with my hometown girlfriends and laugh and just be together instead of on Zoom or over the phone. I miss them so much it hurts, and, like all of us, long for this time a year ago when everything was “normal” and we didn’t even realize it.
Dream — Here’s The Beatles influence. The chord progressions in the chorus sound almost musically identical to The Beatles’ vibe, I’m sure of it and will ask my mom for confirmation — she agrees.
Look Up At The Stars — I love this because it’s so obviously meant to be performed on stage. I miss live music more than most things, and I hope we get to see this on stage at some point.
Honorable Mention — Monster with Justin Bieber. This is a BOP! I’m obsessed. The music video is even better. I’m a sucker for a good JB collab and this is it. (HOLY with Chance is also my favorite. And did you know he just re-released a few of his Christmas songs as an EP?? Okay, sorry this isn’t a Justin post but thought you should know.)
Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us, Shawn. I’m always here for a musical journal entry. Most of these songs are about his relationship with Camila Cabello which I’m not mad about. If I were her, I’d feel crippling pressure to be the most perfect girl he has created in these songs and that would send me ~running~. I’m not her so it doesn’t matter. Happy they’re happy and we get videos of them trying to walk their dogs to remind us all: celebs! they’re just like us!