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‘Handwritten’ shows promise for up-and-coming musician Shawn Mendes

Social media has taken over the lives of many teenagers in this generation. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Take a look at 16-year-old Shawn Mendes. Mendes is a singer/songwriter from Canada who got his big break on YouTube and Vine. From 2013-2014 he was a part of a group of Viners called Magcon. Mendes has opened for Austin Mahone, has headlined for Jingle Ball 2014 and is scheduled to open for Taylor Swift’s “1989 Tour” this summer. He was signed to Island Records in January 2014 and has since released an EP and now a full album, “Handwritten.” For a 16-year-old, Mendes shows a lot of potential, as he demonstrates with “Handwritten,” released earlier this month.

The deluxe version of “Handwritten” features 15 songs, including his hit singles “The Weight,” “Life of the Party,” “Stitches” and “Something Big.” Overall, this album encompasses a variety of sounds, centering on pop and singer/songwriter. Mendes’ sound can best be described as a mixture of Ed Sheeran (whom he credits as one of his biggest inspirations) and Sam Smith. I love how soothing this album is. My favorite songs off this album are “Imagination,” “Kid in Love,” “Something Big” and “Life of the Party.” Each song has a different sound, but what makes them stand out to me were the lyrics.

“Imagination” is my favorite song from this album because it is a slower, acoustic song, which makes me feel like it’s easier for me to relate to the emotions behind the songs. There’s just something about slower songs that makes them seem so much more meaningful than songs that are more upbeat. Maybe it’s because you can hear more of the emotion in the singer’s voice. In “Imagination,” the sound is beautiful, and the lyrics are adorable. The song tells a story about a boy who’s crushing on a girl and he can’t find the right words to tell her how he feels. This song is relatable for most teenagers, but what struck me about the lyrics were how much they were able to capture the essence of what it is like to have feelings for someone and how meaningful they were. Mendes writes all of his own lyrics and the fact that he is able to relay his experiences and emotions into his music so well at just 16 makes him even more impressive.

“Kid in Love” is also another cute song about being young and in love. It is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, but it follows the theme of love and romance that prevails through the songs on the album. What I like about the song is that it reminds me of Ed Sheeran’s music, and I think that is shows how much Mendes has grown as a musician. I love lyrics like, “If this is what it’s like falling in love, then I don’t ever want to grow up.”

“Life of the Party” and “Something Big” are also some of my favorites off of this album, though they were both released on his EP that came out a few months prior. “Life of the Party” is Mendes’ first single that gave him his big break in the music industry. The song strays from his usual theme of love. Rather with “Life of the Party,” the lyrics speak about being who you are and staying true to yourself.

“Something Big” was released about three months ago, right around the time he announced that he would joining Swift on the Canadian and American legs of her “1989 World Tour”. “Something Big” is a standout song for me because, in terms of how it sounds, it is a new sound for Mendes. It is the most upbeat of the songs on “Handwritten,” and it has become my motivational song. Whenever I hear it, I just get motivated to be very productive. The lyrics remind us to take charge of our lives and to do something with our lives because as he sings, “something big is happening … I can feel it in my bones.”

It is amazing how social media can change lives. Look at what it has done for Mendes. At 16 years old, he is the youngest headliner in Jingle Ball’s history to tour; he was chosen by Swift to open for the “1989 World Tour”; and he has several hit singles and a top charting album. From six-second covers on Vine to the Billboard Hot 100, Shawn Mendes is the next big thing in the music industry. Be sure to check out “Handwritten,” available now on Spotify and iTunes.

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