It only took Shawn Mendes three years to realize his pop dreams. After catching a wave of fame on Vine, he steered it into solo stardom with two chart-topping albums, a world tour, and a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden. Then, the Toronto-area native got right to work on his third album, an adventurous voyage of texture and tempo, with songwriting support from pop heavyweights like Ed Sheeran, Julia Michaels, and John Mayer. Lyrically, he’s still the same Shawn—brooding, broken, heart on his sleeve—but age and experience have emboldened him; heartbreak is no longer a curb on his powers, but his creative fuel. With a skillful balance of poise and risk-taking, he explores slick funk (“Particular Taste”), soulful piano ballads (“Perfectly Wrong”), and Kings of Leon-inspired pop-rock (“In My Blood”), showing us just how much he’s capable of.
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