Album Review: Shawn Mendes: ‘Illuminate’ Review


JaCarla Anderson, Writer

18-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes recently came out with his second album, Illuminate.

Illuminate debuted on Sept. 23, 2016 through Mendes’ record label, Island Records, and Universal Music Group, an American-French worldwide music corporation.  

This is Mendes’ second number  one on the US Billboard Top 200. It has also reached number one on the Canadian Albums and in five different countries’ top rated album charts after its release.

Leading up to its release, Mendes dropped multiple promotional singles. “Ruin” was first and released on July 8. The music video followed eight days later on July 18. “Three Empty Words” was the second released on July 28. The last song Mendes gave to the fans for a taste of his new album was “Mercy,” which was released on Aug. 18 and the music video released on Sept. 22.

Mendes’ album sold a total of 145,000 copies, which was “nearly three times as many copies of…Drake’s [album] Views,” according Rolling Stone. Illuminate did better on its first week than Mendes’ first album, Handwritten, which was released only 18 months ago.

Illuminate is different from Mendes’ first album. It’s much edgier and more mature-feeling. Mendes also gets very personal with the lyrics and the concepts of each song.

“I’ve had a crazy two years where the most inspiring things happened to me. I feel like there’s so much to talk about, and I’m able to go into more detail with certain things in a more mature way,” Mendes told Entertainment Weekly.

On Illuminate, Mendes is doing things with his voice we have not heard yet. This album has “different aspects to the album. Some of the songs are like, wow this is so John Mayer, and some are straight-up pop records.” He even noted that the number one track on the album, “Ruin,” is “a lot more soulful and R&B… while still being super singer-songwriter-y and still pop.”

Illuminate’s length is 41 minutes and 15 seconds long, or 52 minutes and two seconds counting the deluxe version. It has 12 songs with a bonus track of three extra songs. One of the songs on the deluxe version is an acoustic version of “Mercy.”

To many, Mendes is able to write good quality songs that  millions of others can relate to. These new songs have a much deeper meaning than his previous songs.

While Handwritten was really good, Illuminate is just as good and more. On this album, Mendes is still finding himself,  but he is farther along than he was 18 months ago. Mendes truly did a great job on his album.