50 Best Albums of 2018 So Far

Including Janelle Monáe, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, the 'Black Panther' soundtrack and more

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Shawn Mendes, 'Shawn Mendes'

Shawn Mendes, 'Shawn Mendes'

We Say: Over his past two albums, the Toronto native proved himself an affably charming, guitar-slinging foil to the deluge of often-forgettable, pop'n'B-leaning white male stars. He was a family-friendly one-man boy band, churning out hits about love, heartbreak and savior complexes in a post-One Direction world. On his latest, Mendes crosses a bridge to the other side; it's groovy R&B funk that doesn't lose the charm of the way his warm vocals sound over the scratchy strum of his guitar. ... Mendes' strength is in romance, and more than ever before, this teenager seems like he not only believes the words he is singing, but he's actually lived through the emotions behind them. B.S.

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