Although this album was released in 2016, I finally got around to listening to it recently in anticipation of Mendes third studio album which also happens to be self-titled.
Illuminate in a nutshell has Mendes looking like the pop version of Jonny Lang with it’s musicality and rock and blues elements.
It peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.
Of all three Mendes works, this is by far my fave because Mendes voice matured from his last album, and so did his songwriting style and use of musicality. All songs on this album were co-written with Teddy Geiger.
Listen to the entire album via this custom Youtube playlist.
Song by Song Review
There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back: A fun pop dance track that is played up with dancy guitar chords about being with someone who inspires you to face your fears, and feel free to be yourself. My favorite song off this album for sure, although the rest of the album compliments this first track so nicely.
Ruin: A slow jam about a love that went wrong but you can’t let go of because you still believe you were meant to be with that person.
Mercy: A piano ballad that grips the listener like a siren song that begs for mercy because this person keeps tearing you up with the distorted way they show & give love.
Treat You Better: A strong pop anthem about a guy who can see a girl is in a toxic relationship, and believes he’s the better suitor because he can see her full potential & worth.
Three Empty Words: An acoustic guitar and soft vocals create an authentic ballad about a relationship that is empty & unfulfilling.
Don’t Be A Fool: An R&B bluesy track that bears the bad news that he’s not the right guy for this girl, and wants to prevent her from looking a fool by encouraging her to move on.
Like This: Another piano ballad where the vocalist carries pain in his voice. Musically, it reminds me of Nick Jonas’s song “Vesper’s Goodbye,” because of the similar sorrowful singing, soft acoustics, and lyrical content.
No Promises: With this track, it shares casual views on love to avoid consequences of heartache and pain.
“I’ve been living only for this moment and I don’t want to let it slip away.”
Lights On: A sultry song that has sexy undertones that describe the act of making love to someone with the lights on.
Honest: The rhythmic musicality of this track is infectious and is something that will stick in your head much like the topic of this track: the final break-up conversation.
Patience: A clever take on an on-and-off relationship that leaves you with withdrawal symptoms and distraught over all when it is all said and done.
Bad Reputation: A sultry, bluesy, I-want-her-so-bad type jam about a person with a reputation you can’t seem to stop thinking about.
Understand: Gospel-style musicality paints this track about wanting to understand who you are and where your life will take you.
Hold On: A slow jam encouraging those fighting life’s battles and that they must “hold on.”
Roses: A metaphor using a rose as a visual image of whether the love between you and this person, asking:
“Will you let it die or let it grow?”
Mercy (Acoustic): A cut-down, simple version of the crooner-tortured heart pop anthem.A definite fireworks finale for this musical masterpiece.