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Mercy - Shawn Mendes

Mercy - Shawn Mendes

It's no secret that Shawn Mendes has an incredible voice. Whether it's in his more light hearted songs, like I Know What You Did Last Summer, or in his more emotional songs, like Bad Reputation, his fans are constantly reminded of his vocal ability. Mercy, a powerful yet melancholy addition to his newest album, Illuminate, is yet another impressive reminder of his raw talent. 

Mendes got his start by posting videos of himself singing on Vine in 2013, and gained millions of views within months. Mendes was recruited to be a performer for the Magcon Tour, which was a tour including other new young artists and social media stars. He expanded even further as he became the opening act for Austin Mahone. Mendes' accomplishments had already gained the interest of Andrew Gertler, an artist manager, and he finally was brought to Island Records, was signed, and quickly released his first single, Life of the Party, by June of 2014. By July, 15 year old Shawn Mendes was the youngest artist to debut as number 24 in the top 25 on the US Billboard Top 100. In April of 2015, Mendes released his first complete album, Handwritten, debuting as number one on the US Billboard 200. His major hit from the album, Stitches, became his first top 10 single in the US. Mendes' career blossomed as he continued to open for artists, such as Taylor Swift during her 1989 tour dates in the United States, and released more music. Now, in 2016, he has released two successful albums, Handwritten and Illuminate. As Mendes grows up, he continues to grow as an artist, adding more depth to his music and increasing in popularity. 

Mercy is a soulful song, with a guitar background and a constant drum beat. His lyrics tell the story of an unhealthy relationship. Mendes tells the story from the perspective of someone who is weak around the person they are in a relationship with, and that it is not good for him, shown when he repeatedly asks for them to "have mercy on me", followed by "I'm a puppet on your string, and even though you've got good intentions, I need you to set me free.". We can assume that this relationship is dark and twisted, shown through both the lyrics, and the tone of Mendes' voice. He sings in a lower register, as well as incorporates a sort of raspiness, adding to the message of desperation and hardship of the song.  Although many of Mendes' songs are slower and have powerful lyrics, such as Understand and Ruin, Mercy is about wanting to leave an unhealthy relationship, which is a concept many artists don't discuss. This is a testament to Mendes' maturity as an artist, and lets fans know that he is growing up. 

Whether you listen to Mendes' music to admire his poetic lyrics or to simply bask in the beauty that is his voice, it is a satisfying experience nonetheless. 

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An Inside Look at French Music Culture

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