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We’re still a few weeks away from the September 23 release of Shawn Mendes’ second album Illuminate, but the Toronto teen is continuing to keep us intrigued with exciting new tracks.
Having already released his lead single “Treat You Better” and the John Mayer-esque “Ruin,” Mendes is now venturing into the world of R&B with the song “Mercy.”
Mendes continues to play the underdog in his own love life with “Mercy”, singing, “Please have mercy on me, take it easy on my heart / Even though you don’t mean to hurt me, you keep tearing me apart.”
The subject matter is in line with Illuminate’s first two songs, where Mendes longs after someone who doesn’t seem to know he exists. While it may be difficult to picture a teen heartthrob dealing with that issue, it’s a topic that will certainly resonate with Mendes’ young fans. For most people in high school and college, love stinks.
Though the topic of unrequited love seems to be Mendes’ comfort zone, the Canadian singer does show growth in both the arrangement and writing. The impressively visceral lyrics (“Consuming all the air inside my lungs / Ripping all the skin from off my bones / I’m prepared to sacrifice my life / I would gladly do it twice”) are given legs by the stirring backing of a choir.
While Mendes’ sound continues to mature and grow in an exciting direction, the young singer still needs to work on finding inspiration outside of fictional heartbreak. Hopefully, the rest of Illuminate takes notes from his musical hero Ed Sheeran, who, while known for his love songs, has branched out to write about topics like the loss of family members and drug abuse.
Though an official music video hasn’t been released, Mendes has uploaded a number of short clips to Instagram showing the singer performing “Mercy” at the piano. The visuals are similar to his “Ruin” music video, which was shot at Madison Square Garden, and could even just be extra footage from that shoot, rather than a teaser for the official “Mercy” video.
Shawn Mendes’ second studio album Illuminate will be released on September 23.