by Conner Tighe
With brown curls and a dreamy smile, young pop idol Shawn Mendes has been blessing the music world and fans alike since “Life of the Party,” his 2014 debut single. Since then, the musician has produced three albums and has taken part in several collaborations with the likes of Taylor Swift (“Lover”), Astrid (“Air”), Khalid (“Youth”) and love interest Camila Cabello (“I Know What You Did Last Summer,”/“Señorita”).
Mendes has always connected with other musicians. Years ago, he was still on his way to becoming famous when he met Cabello. The two met in 2014 on Austin Mahone’s summer tour, where Cabello found an interest in Mendes. The two were in a game of public tweets, hinting about their friendship and experiences working together between 2014 and 2018. Mendes has always been excellent at telling his love life and struggles through his songs. An example of that is through "Señorita," the summer bop that changed everything between him and Cabello. Many speculated that there was chemistry between them, but from then on, the spark between the two was undeniable.
10. “Treat You Better”
The singer’s second album Illuminate was nothing short of amazing, with Mendes telling fans about his love and feelings of loneliness for an unknown love interest. With every album, there’s a track that stands among the rest, and then there’s the track that is skipped over. “Treat You Better” is the weakest of Mendes’ work as the message is drone and gray with appeal. The track talks of the singer’s jealousy and comparison of him to a certain someone. The message doesn’t land, and it’s best to skip this track as it takes any listener back to those cringey high school days.
Again from Illuminate, Mendes does better with a track of love and a woman’s rage that drives him mad. The beginning hymn of the piece is soothing and only gets better with each passing second. The singer explains how his heart is sensitive about his girl, and he wishes she would have mercy on him. Mendes, like so many other artists, took a universal message and spun it with rhythm and a winning track of sadness and emotion. Mendes is no stranger to having love issues like most people in their early 20s, but crafting the idea into art is fantastic; the line “I’m prepared to sacrifice my life. I would gladly do it twice” gets me every time.
A song of inspiration and seeing hope, this Mendes track was featured on the “Descendants” soundtrack, which premiered on Disney Channel in 2015. The music video shows a community coming together to recognize unity and the central message focuses on humanity and our flaws. The message is fantastic and represents Mendes’ character. The singer has always displayed points of positive reinforcement and genuine kindheartedness.
7. “Something Big”
Mendes had an epiphany while he was on Austin Mahone’s tour. The young singer’s fame was snowballing, and Mendes expressed his surprise with this newfound acclaim by producing “Something Big.” The piece itself is terrific with its pop inspirations and repetitive line, “woah, woah…” you get the picture. Mendes was discovered over the now-dead platform Vine and has since grown into someone unforgettable in the music industry. “Something Big” is what we’ll all be saying years from now about his career.
The only collaboration on this list, “Youth” features Khalid as he aides Mendes on this track of self-discovery about being young. The singer understands that it’s difficult being young in a changing world, and “Youth” is more of a proud statement of finding oneself. No one stays young forever, and being youthful is something many of us take advantage of. The message Mendes wants the listener to take away? Enjoy being wild while life allows you.
5. “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”
A quick Latin music appeal and soft vocals envelop Mendes’ piece of art that talks about a wandering man—that man being Mendes. In this song, the singer is going all-in with this mysterious girl. When the song was released, radio stations everywhere couldn’t get enough of the rhythmic appeal of this fast-paced guitar song. The pop star proves again that a relationship is empowering, and love is a mysterious thing.
Mendes has always clarified that John Mayer has been one of his longtime inspirations in the music industry. In a 2018 interview with Time, the singer said Mayer was his “favorite person in the world.” One can’t help but wonder if that inspiration was behind this beautiful track. One of the singer’s slower tracks, it proves that sometimes slower is better. The message is sad, providing listeners with a loss that Mendes was facing at the time of an ended relationship. Seeing your ex with someone can be great, but it can also be sad, and Mendes is all about showing his vulnerable side.
3. “If I Can’t Have You”
I can’t help but bang my head or tap something nearby to the beginning rhythm of number three on the list. “If I Can’t Have You,” believe it or not, was written by Mendes for singer Dua Lipa, according to Teen Vogue. A fast tempo and repeating lyrics are always golden with this pop star. The cover art is beautiful and resembles a beach vibe, featuring a slight outline of Mendes with waves crashing. The single is a piece of art with a heart of longing and wordplay of dreams. If Mendes can’t have you, he’ll undoubtedly write about you.
2. “Lost in Japan”
Japanese aesthetic and slight references to Bill Murray’s “Lost in Translation” surround this heavenly song that earned number two on this list. Zedd’s version of the single is incredible, although authenticity reigns supreme here. Mendes is in love within this song, and he wants to party, have fun, and explore his desires. “Lost in Japan” expanded the boundaries that the singer was afraid to cross with his earlier work. Listeners can feel Mendes coming into his own with this Juno Award-winning track. Nothing feels like being lost in an unknown city with a beautiful woman. Mendes can tell you about the experience.
1. “In My Blood” (Portuguese Version)
Half English, half Portuguese, “In My Blood” inspires all around the world with Mendes growing from his pain and struggles within his life. This single easily earns its spot because of its universal message, and if anyone reads the news, Mendes had a lot to say about the track. In a 2018 interview with Elite Daily, Mendes says, “This song is the closest song to my heart that I’ve ever written, and I hope you guys love it.” We love it, Shawn. We more than love it. The overlying message of inner strength and self-awareness ties to his rosy image that was the center graphic for his last tour. Roses grow through rain and shine. Mendes inspires all with his music, saying that everything will be okay. We need that message now more than ever.
The singer has gone dark in the music world unless you count the time he sang “What a Wonderful World” live with Cabello. It’s rumored that Mendes may collaborate with Justin Bieber on something after he was spotted outside of a recording studio where the two have been seen previously. Mendes has been good friends with Bieber’s wife Hailey, and if something is going on, it may be Mendes’ most significant piece yet.
Sources: Elite Daily
, Teen Vogue
Featured Image: E! Online