LOS ANGELES, March 24, (Agencies): After a teaser campaign that ranged from Instagram posts to a billboard in Times Square, Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes dropped a brand-new single called “In My Blood” , his first new music since 2016’s “Illuminate” album. The song starts off quietly but within the first minute seems to reflect a new rock influence in the 19-year-old singer, with roaring drums and a cascading pre-chorus and chorus that evoke Kings of Leon’s 2007 hit “… Fire” and even a flash of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”
The song was co-produced by Mendes and Teddy Geiger and co-written by the pair with longtime collaborators Scott Harris and Geoff Warburton, and is the first track to arrive from Mendes’ third full-length, expected later this year on Island Records. He will perform the song on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” on March 28. In January he performed a duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Elton John’s 1976 hit with Kiki Dee, with SZA at “I’m Still Standing,” an all-star Grammy salute to John, which airs on April 10.
Mendes rose quickly to fame in 2014 as the first “Vine star” after releasing a series of covers recorded in his bedroom onto the now-defunct Twitter platform. He’s successfully forged a more conventional career in the years since, selling an estimated 10 million albums worldwide and clocked over 4 billion YouTube views and headlining venues including New York’s Madison Square Garden and London’s O2 Arena.
“I just wanted to write this note before the song comes out tonight & say how excited I am for you all to hear it,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “I know I’ve been pretty quiet during this album process & just wanted to thank you with all of my heart for being there and supporting me the entire time. This song is the closest song to my heart that I’ve ever written & I hope you guys love it and all the new music coming your way. I love and appreciate you all so much!!! Thank you! Xx.”
Jack White really doesn’t want to be known just as that sometimes abrasive guy who plays high-decibel guitar.
On a sprawling and unapologetically weird new album, White dabbles with UFO-esque synthesizer effects, sings gleefully about robbing banks and covers a tune by that lesser-known songwriter Al Capone.
“Boarding House Reach,” the former White Stripes frontman’s first album in four years, veers into funk, electro, gospel and blues as White defiantly demonstrates his range.
White’s third solo album starts off in comparatively tame territory with “Connected by Love,” a sure crowd-pleaser with his signature fuzzy guitar.
White quickly finds a fresh portal in his mind with “Why Walk a Dog?,” a rumination on humans’ relationship with their proverbial best friends.
“Corporation” opens with a distant echo of the White Stripes’ now-classic “Seven Nation Army” riff before turning funky with conga drums in the back as White vows, with tongue-in-cheek gusto, to aspire to the capitalist dream.
Soon White seems to be daring to be reined in. On “Hypermisophoniac,” White explores his distaste for someone’s dental noises as trippy, space-like synthesizers swing back and forth like a yo-yo.
White’s guitar then kicks in over piano as he sings with nonchalance, “Ain’t nowhere to run / When you’re robbin’ the bank.”
The 42-year-old Detroit native, identifiable for his chin-length swoop of black hair that belies his fair complexion and infamous for off-stage flarings of temper, in the late 1990s led the revival of garage rock with its raw, rough-around-the-edges energy.
On “Boarding House Reach,” White offers hints that he knows he will be accused of self-indulgence. One track, recited in spoken word by Australian blues artist C.W. Stoneking, is entitled “Abulia and Akrasia,” the latter a classical Greek term for lack of self-control.
After two decades of success, White apparently can afford artistic freedom. He has founded his own label, Third Man Records, with a headquarters in Nashville and a major new vinyl pressing plant in Detroit.
For a five-month tour in support of the album, White — annoyed, like so many, at the constant distractions in modern-day concerts — will require fans to leave their phones at the door.
In an interview in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, White seemed to fantasize about a long-dead music industry in which powerful executives could stop his ideas.
“’Hey, the label won’t let you do that,’” he told the magazine, adding, “What cool problems to have!”
White closes “Boarding House Reach” with a song written by none other than Al Capone when the notorious gangster was imprisoned on Alcatraz.
Showing an unexpectedly sentimental side to the Chicago crime boss nicknamed Scarface, “Humoresque” reminisces about lighter moments outside of prison.
“If the children are dancing / Lovers are all romancing / Is it any wonder everyone is singing?” White sings to a gentle jazz arrangement.
Capone was said to have performed the song on banjo as part of an inmate band, taking a melody of Dvorak. The sheet music was sold at an auction last year — to an anonymous bidder.