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Track Review

Here at Plugged In, we do our dead level best to keep up with what's happening in pop culture. But with the advent of the ever-shifting digital age, that's harder than ever. Why? Because when it comes to music, we're seeing more and more re-releases of moderately successful albums with additional bonus tracks included that weren't there the first time around. (You know, just to give the diehards a reason to re-engage.)

Take Shawn Mendes's 2016 album Illuminate, for instance. We reviewed it when it was released last September. Since then, however, there's a reissued version—one with Mendes' new track "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" on it.

So in the spirit of thoroughness, we're tackling that track this week.

Under the Influence

There may be neurochemical states of being more intense than the intoxicating influence of infatuation. But whatever those altered states might be, they typically don't make for good pop songs.

Infatuation on the other hand—the kind that inspires a certain kind of pseudo-insanity where those under the influence lose their minds a bit—well, we have lots of those songs. This nearly universal experience has inspired generations of pop stars and pop songs. The only question is just how crazy someone might go when they're twitterpated out of their hormone-flooded minds.

That's the kind of song "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" is. The love bug bit Shawn Mendes hard. And there's not much he won't do, it would seem, to hold onto that feeling … and to hold on to the woman generating it in his fast-beating heart.

"I wanna follow where she goes," Mendes begins. "I think about her, and she knows it." And Mendes is happy to surrender it to the object of his ardor. "I wanna let her take control."

After willfully surrendering to her, Mendes just goes along for the wild ride. "You take me places that tear up my reputation," he says. "Manipulate my decisions." She's confident to a fault, perhaps ("She says that she's never afraid/Just picture everybody naked"), and self-control doesn't seem to be a virtue she's cultivated either ("She really doesn't like to wait/Not really into hesitation").

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Lose

It doesn't sound like a particularly prudent path. But Mendes is so deeply under the influence that he doesn't care what happens: "'Cause if we lost our minds/And we took it way to far/I knew we'd be alright/Know we would be alright." The next verse adds, "If you were by my side/And we stumbled in the dark/I know we'd be alright."

The problem, of course, is that when infatuated couples who've "lost their minds" and who "take it too far" do in fact "stumble in the dark," sometimes the consequences are more profound than they can imagine.

Consequences they still have to deal with once all the mind-altering effects of that infatuation inevitably wear off.

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Reached No. 22

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April 20, 2017

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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