Handwritten

by: Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes circumvented traditional routes to a recording contract by posting short clips of himself singing other people's songs on the video-sharing service Vine. These were no more than a few seconds -- Vine's restrictions set the limit at six seconds, which is hardly enough time to cover a chorus -- but it was enough to set some teenage hearts aflutter, which led to a contract with Island, which led to an EP in 2014, which led to the full-length debut Handwritten in 2015. Handwritten showcases Mendes' fusion of Jason Mraz's singsong loverman schtick and Ryan Tedder's adult contemporary. Mendes has songwriting credits on two-thirds of Handwritten, but when the record clicks -- as it does on "Stitches" and "Kid in Love" -- it's a combination of his sweet, puppy-dog charm and pristine production. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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