Music Monday: Shawn Mendes Makes a Strong Case for Stardom and Two Producers Stand Out

Shawn Mendes

Happy Music Monday! Last week featured new music by Mike Will Made It, Nick Jonas, Cash Cash, Mumford & Sons, and Elle King along with songs from some of your pop favorites and masterful producers. Let’s take a look at three songs from the last week that show huge potential. Check them out on the playlist at the end of this article.

1.) The Surefire Hit

Shawn Mendes – “Treat You Better.”

Shawn Mendes’ first single since the duet “I Know What You Did Last Summer” covers familiar lyrical territory, but that doesn’t stop Mendes from giving this song a unique touch. Featuring fingerpicked guitar notes, live fret sounds, and tribal drums, “Treat You Better” opens with Mendes’ voice at center stage with rhythmic vibrato: “I know he’s just not right for you.” The chorus – “I can treat you better than he can” – is an explosive test of the very limits of Mendes’ voice and pushes past any preconceptions we may have had of the crooning pop singer. Although the song lacks the sing-along qualities of “Stitches,” its chorus is unshakeable, and the track has already performed quite well, debuting at number 1 on iTunes on Friday. Expect “Treat You Better” to make a big debut on the charts next week and to solidify the 17 year old Canadian singer-songwriter as a major industry force.

2.) The Newcomer’s Debut

Alan Walker – “Faded.”

Alan Walker’s “Faded” has actually been around since December, 2015 and has charted all over the world before gaining traction in the U.S. The song has been viewed 360 million times on Youtube, but if you haven’t heard it yet, you’re not alone—the tune has only reached number 80 on the Hot 100 here in the states. “Faded” is an instantly classic, EDM-fueled piano ballad led by the folky vocals of Iselin Solheim. The song creates the feeling of an electronic wasteland; twitchy signals bounce around Solheim’s vocals, and her “Where are you now?” reverberates and echoes, oblivious to the rigid, rhythmic production that maintains the song’s structure. At one point, Solheim’s words are distorted and mangled just barely outside of the realm of comprehension, providing the listener with a feeling of fitting incompleteness. “Faded” is a heart wrenching ballad that struggles against its own structure; as Solheim’s smooth vocals grab our attention, the song tugs us forward with its EDM beat, mimicking a growing sense of loss as time passes, indifferent.

3.) The One-of-a Kind Track 

Beck – “Wow.”

They say creativity is intelligence having fun. “Wow” is the brainchild of two geniuses having fun: the Grammy award-winning indie artist Beck and Grammy-nominated producer Greg Kurstin. In “Wow,” Kurstin ditches his well-entrenched pop roots (Adele’s “Hello,” Sia’s “Chandelier”) for joyful, nonsensical funk. “Wow” features layers and layers of hooks that shouldn’t work together: a toy flute, human whistles, lion growls, and a poppy “nah nah nah” background vocal. Furthermore, the trippy lyrics make little sense: “I wanna move into a fool’s gold room / with my pulse on the animal jewels” isn’t the easiest thing to picture. “Wow” is an exciting, confusing ride that will leave you hitting replay to make sure you weren’t imagining some of those crazy sounds.

Take a listen below:

 



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