Handwritten by Shawn Mendes

Clapping, stomping, strumming guitar, and banging drums is what you hear on Shawn Mendes’s first album, “Handwritten.” Along with his smooth vocals, this album has it all. The style is unique, starting with a slow beat but becoming faster during the rest of the songs. The meaningful lyrics discuss issues faced by many young people today, including first love and bullying. The pop album has 12 tracks, including the hit song “Stitches.” As of July 2015, “Handwritten” had sold 189,000 copies in the United States.

Mendes started out on Vine. The 17-year-old Canadian superstar posted six-second videos of song covers, attracting millions of fans with his incredible voice. He was soon chosen to tour the country with eight other Internet sensations in 2014. After, Mendes set out to pursue his musical career and signed with Island Records.

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Mendes wrote many of these songs, which prompted the title “Handwritten.” The first, “Life of the Party,” starts out with a slow piano and Mendes singing softly.

As it continues, his voice begins to rise, and you hear drums in the background. This characterizes his musical style: starting out small but ending with a bit of a surprise. The last song is the acoustic version of “Life of the Party,” and it definitely contrasts with the original. You are no longer able to hear the drums or slow piano tune. These sounds are replaced by a guitar and Mendes’s much softer voice. The acoustic is still as good as the original and had me in awe of this artist’s amazing voice.

Another song, “A Little Too Much,” discusses the hardships people experience in life. Mendes not only consoles listeners with his words but also with his smooth voice. The line “Sometimes it all gets a little too much, but you gotta realize that soon the fog will clear up,” gives us reassurance. It calms us and reminds us that there is a happy ending. This song had me smiling at the thought of better days ahead.

Although there are many great songs on the album, “Crazy” is not one of them. I didn’t connect with it or enjoy it. I found it too slow, which is unusual for his style. Unlike the others, it featured just one instrument – the slow strumming of the guitar. However the song isn’t completely bad. The lyrics are very sweet and perfectly portray the heartbreak Mendes was going through at the time. The line “All of this is getting old, I’m having trouble sleeping on my own,” portrays the loneliness one feels after separating with a significant other.

A majority of the songs here are genuinely great and have deep meaning. They can be replayed many times, and you will never tire of bopping your head or tapping your feet along to the beat. Nobody else sings like Shawn Mendes, which is why this album is so unique. He takes singing to another amazing level. I can promise you this album is worth buying and listening to. “Handwritten” is a beautiful start to Mendes’s journey toward becoming a successful, lasting musician.

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