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The music industry has changed drastically in the recent years, transforming itself into a platform to share thoughts and emotions and unite people. Some of the most influential artists of our generation have been coming together to bring hope and faith to people through their music. Singer-songwriters Shawn Mendes and Khalid, both nineteen, have teamed together in Mendes’ latest heart-wrenching power anthem, “Youth,” to exhibit the power and unity of the younger generation.

The song was inspired by the mass shootings that took place at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017. The tragic event took the lives for 22 innocent music lovers, but it also brought the music world closer together. The tragedy created a sense of unity within the industry, with artists of all ages coming together from across the globe to show their support for the youth and help them understand that fear will never win.

“Youth” starts slow and soft, with Khalid’s smooth R&B voice echoing solemn lyrics over an acoustic guitar, “Pain, but I won’t let it turn into hate / No, I won’t let it change me.” It is simple and raw, placing emphasis on the words rather than a complex rhythm, enabling listeners to almost physically feel his heartache.

Mendes comes into the song during its chorus and the acoustic chords quickly get lost into what becomes a gem of a pop song, with drums thumping amidst Khalid and Mendes repeating the lyrics “You can’t take my youth away / This soul of mine will never break / As long as I wake up today / You can’t take my youth away.” 

The song is arguably the most valuable piece of music released this year, thus far. Its lyrics not only apply to the Manchester attacks, but also many other difficulties young adults face in this life everyday.

The song shows people that they are never alone in their struggles and that when our generation is brought together, they can tackle any issue, whether that be gun violence, adversity, depression, bullying or assault. “Youth” pays homage to all those who find beauty in pain and celebrate the youth’s ability to join together in trying times, instead of putting themselves down.

“Youth” is Mendes’ third release in the past two months, following “Lost In Japan” and “In My Blood.” All three singles will be part of his self-titled album, set to release on May 25, via Island Records.

About Lilit Zakaryan

Lilit Zakaryan is the Music Columnist and Outreach Coordinator at The Courier. She is double majoring in Journalism and Communication Arts and plans to continue her studies in Journalism, with an emphasis in Music and Media, upon transferring in 2019. When she’s not laughing in the newsroom with an iced coffee in her hand, she can be found interviewing music industry professionals for a story, dancing with her friends at a concert, or interning at SiriusXM (still with an iced coffee in her hand). Her career goal is to be an Artist Relations Representative, so that she can combine her love of communication with her passion for helping artists manifest their musical dreams.

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