Pop music today is all about the hook and Canadian Shawn Mendes is all about the catchy earworms. With his debut album and especially its smash single “Stitches” he was all over the radio and firmly installed in the hearts of all teenage girls. Illuminate shows some maturation but not a radical departure from what shot him into the spotlight in the first place. Most of the songs on the album are constructed around his guitar and nice guy persona. Both his playing and sincerity are totally believable. Though it all seems a little more personal I am not sure it illuminates what the young man is all about like the album title would have you believe. Tracks “Mercy” and “Treat You Better” make you like him while his mostly electric guitar playing envelopes all this hearts and flowers in a nice soft package. Meaning most what goes on here is chill (slow) and easy to listen to. It isn’t anything you have not heard before from the likes of Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran or even Justin Bieber, but it has not gotten tiresome yet either.
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