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Album Review

The list of musicians who've put out chart-topping albums before their 19th birthday is a short one.

Shawn Mendes is on that list. In fact, he's on the brink of accomplishing that feat for the third time with his self-titled third studio album. It’s packed with pop, rock, funk and alternative influences, featuring songs written and produced by Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Ryan Tedder and Julia Michaels, among others.

Thematically, Mendes wrestles with exactly the kinds of issues we're used to seeing from the many teen heartthrobs who've come before him: love and lust, heartbreak and hope.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

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Pro-social Content

In “Mutual,” Mendes says he wants to know how a woman feels before he pursues a relationship: “I need to know/If this is mutual/Before I go/And get way too involved." That's because "half of you’s not enough for me," he says. Next up, “Why” wonders why he can’t confess his true feelings: “I don’t know why we act like it means nothing at all/I wish that I could tell you that you’re all I want, yeah/I pretend that I’m not ready … /Why can’t we just get over ourselves?”

Mendes vows to wait for a woman on “When You’re Ready": “Baby, any time you’re ready/I’m waitin’/Even 10 years from now/If you haven’t found somebody/I promise, I’ll be around.” “Like to Be You” tries to cheer up angry girlfriend: “Are you still mad at me? I’m hopin’ not/'Cause maybe we could go to the movies/I know that always cheers us up, hey.”

In “Nervous,” Mendes speaks fondly of a girl who gave him butterflies from day one: “I saw you on a Sunday in a café/And all you did was look my way/And my heart started to race.” And on “Fallin’ All in You” he wants to fall fully in love, with no reservations: “You are bringing out a different kind of me/There’s no safety net that’s underneath/I’m free/Falling all in you.”

Youth” deals with the tragedies that affect people, but boldly declares that death and destruction won’t win: “Pain, but I won’t let it turn into hate/No, I won’t let it change me/You can’t take my youth away/This soul of mine will never break.” Likewise, "In My Blood" insists that anxiety and despair won't have the last word.

Objectionable Content

Mendes realizes he is “Perfectly Wrong” for a woman whom he can’t resist as he finds himself in bed with her one too many times: “You’re perfectly wrong for me…/But when you’re making love, you make it worth it/I can’t believe the places you take me.” And in “Where Were You in the Morning?” he finds himself alone in bed, disillusioned after a lover has apparently left quietly before he awoke (“I look around, and I don’t see you"). Similar sentiments are shared in “Mutual” and “Like to Be You” as Shawn tries to decipher what a woman wants in a relationship.

There’s a special someone whom Mendes can’t get out of his mind or heart, no matter who he sleeps with in “When You’re Ready,” “Why” and "Because I Had You." A woman invites him into her apartment in “Nervous.” “Particular Taste” involves a lusty lover who dispenses with small talk: "She don’t waste time on conversations, no/She just goes right for the face, yeah/She’s so particular.”

“Lost In Japan” describes Mendes' willingness to fly in spontaneously just to spend one night with a woman he desires: “Do you got plans tonight?/I’m a couple hundred miles from Japan, and I/I was thinking I could fly to your hotel tonight.” Nights spent together are also a theme in “Fallin’ All in You.”

Summary Advisory

When you listen to Shawn Mendes, you may be surprised at his versatility. He’s grown up, both lyrically and artistically, since his last album, with his style combining influences from artists such as Ed Sheeran and Kings of Leon.

But some of the other ways he's seemingly "growing up" are a bit more problematic. Sure, songs offer some positive nods to commitment, hope, perseverance and love. Unfortunately, sex is practically a given here, too, with most of the songs on this album addressing that subject in one way or another.

Mendes says that he longs for something real and lasting when it comes to romance. But he seems to have trouble connecting the dots when it comes to understanding how crawling in and out of bed with different women might make it more difficult to commit to just one person.

Plot Summary

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Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







On track for a No. 1 debut.

Record Label

Island Records




May 25, 2018

On Video

Year Published



Kristin Smith

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