Meaning of “Youth” by Shawn Mendes (featuring Khalid)

“Youth” is the title of a single by Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes. The track also features American singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes. In the song, the singers (Mendes and Khalid) utter words of true inspiration to the youth. They inspire them to keep their heads up and not let the horrible things unfolding in the world break them or take away their youth.

“You can’t take my youth away
This soul of mine will never break”

Mendes and Khalid joined forces to write this song in the aftermath of two terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom – the 2017 London Bridge attack and the Manchester Arena bombing.

The Manchester Arena bombing was a terrorist attack that took place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom on May 22, 2017. The bombing happened just after a concert held by American singer Ariana Grande in the same venue. In all, the attack claimed the lives of 23 people (including that of the terrorist) and left 139 others injured. The majority of the victims of the bombings were children.

The 2017 London Bridge attack occurred a few weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing. This attack took place in London and claimed the lives of 11 people, including three of the terrorists. It also left 48 people with various degrees of injuries.

Mendes, who was so saddened by these vicious attacks, decided to write something about how they made him feel. He later got in touch with his friend Khalid and began working on “Youth”.

In all, the song sends one powerful message to listeners. It tells them that despite the heinous acts of the wicked, hate will never ever win.

Here are the words of Mendes’ himself regarding the song:

Shawn Mendes on the meaning of the song "Youth"

Music video for “Youth”

The song’s music video was released on November 5, 2018 (a day before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections). The video was deliberately released on this date to encourage the younger generations to go out and vote on November 6. The immense power of the youth to make change is the video’s main theme. Among other things, the clip shows a number of scenes from the youth-led 2018 March for Our Lives demonstration.


Quick Facts about “Youth”

  • Mendes co-wrote this track with Khalid and three others (Scott Harris, Teddy Geiger and Geoff Warburton).
  • Mendes teamed up with record producer and songwriter Joel Little to produce this track. For your information, Little also collaborated with Khalid to produce his hit single “Young, Dumb and Broke“.
  • On May 3, 2018, Island Records released this song as a single. It is the third single from Mendes’ third studio album Shawn Mendes (or Shawn Mendes: The Album).

Who said these words “If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking”  at the beginning of the music video?

Those profound words were uttered by American author and activist David Hogg. Hogg survived the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

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