- In a recent interview, Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody surprisingly described the group’s latest material as “mind-boggling”. In truth, album seven fits pretty neatly into the Northern Irish band’s back-catalogue – not especially groundbreaking, sure, but featuring cinematic, U2-tinged rock ballads that speak to love and humanity and self-doubt. Lightbody’s oeuvre has always been full of tenderness anyway, and while there’s not anything here that’s an obvious follow-up to the gargantuan successes of ‘Run’ or ‘Chasing Cars’, tracks like ‘What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?’ are quite striking. Their first new album since 2011 finds Snow Patrol comfortably emotive and willing to get more stripped-back than ever.
- It’s been easy to dismiss Canadian popstar Shawn Mendes under the presumption that he’s just another tween making palatable sugary songs, but his spot on Time’s 2018 list of the 100 most influential people in the world tells another story ahead of album three. He’s been campaigning to help people struggling with their mental health since his emergence back in 2014 and while he’s making a lot of lilting, soft songs that channel lithe, Timberlake-meets-Daniel-Caesar falsetto, some of Mendes’ output goes deeper than tender ruminations on love. ‘In My Blood’, for example, examines his anxiety disorder with a startling honesty for a mainstream teen star (“Laying on the bathroom floor, feeling nothing / I'm overwhelmed and insecure, give me something”). An album of candid, delicate pop finds Gen Z’s ruling pop star levelling up.