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Shawn Mendes' "In My Blood" Lyrics Are So Deeply Personal

It's been nearly 5 months since Shawn Mendes released the lead single off his self-entitled third studio album, and guess what? I'm still not over it. "In My Blood" dropped March 22 as an introduction into the singer-songwriter's latest, and most vulnerable record yet. And despite an impressive debut and climb up the Billboard charts, the track is so much more than just another top 100 hit. He's been there, done that. Following his massive radio favorites, like "Stitches" and "There's Nothing Holding Me Back," Mendes took a risk to go deeper with his first post-Illuminate project. "This song is the closest song to my heart that I've ever written, and I hope you guys love it," he wrote ahead of its release. Shawn Mendes' "In My Blood" lyrics offer an intimate look at the star's personal battle with anxiety. So, if you weren't already sobbing (and singing) along, time to start.

Mendes opened up about the song's significance to Beats 1's Zane Lowe in March, telling the host:

It was kind of something that hit me within the last year. Before that, growing up, I was a pretty calm kid, super steady. I knew people who had suffered from anxiety and found it kind of hard to understand, but then when it hits you, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, what is this? This is crazy.’ That song is complete truth and the best thing about it is, it’s not all down. The whole reason I wrote this song was to be like, at the end, ‘It’s not in my blood to do that.’
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Mendes rose in popularity on the now-defunct shortform video app, Vine in 2013. And while, his sudden fame was responsible for catapulting his music career - he released an EP in 2014, and shortly after his debut album, Handwritten - it also ignited the anxiety. "I was in such a bad head space. It's so overwhelming to be successful," Shawn admitted to Vulture. "And that sounds like such a sh*tty thing to say. But it's like, how do you keep it going? How do you sustain success when you don't even really know why you're successful? Dude, it was the worst. I'd break down in tears once a week. I used to think everybody was out to get me."

According to Mendes, the decision to go public with his anxiety, and write about that private struggle, has been a part of the healing process. Calling the choice "really hard at first," the 20-year-old Ontarian told Wonderland that it ultimated eased the burden. But as an ambitious young artist, he also saw the value his honesty would carry in the music. Looking to surpass prior hits, like "Mercy" and "Treat You Better," Shawn told SiriusXM Hits 1:

For me, the only way I musically am going to get past those is if I can be honest, as honest as I possibly can. I got super vulnerable, wrote exactly what I was thinking at the time.

A quick listen through "In My Blood" reveals a lot about Mendes' state of mind during the writing process. Throughout the song, he recounts his struggles with anxiety. "Help me, it's like the walls are caving in / Sometimes I feel like giving up," he croons. "I'm looking through my phone again feeling anxious / Afraid to be alone again, I hate this / I'm trying to find a way to chill, can't breathe, oh."

Here are the rest of the lyrics:

[Intro]

Help me, it's like the walls are caving in / Sometimes I feel like giving up / But I just can't / It isn't in my blood

[Verse 1]

Laying on the bathroom floor, feeling nothing / I'm overwhelmed and insecure, give me something / I could take to ease my mind slowly / Just have a drink and you'll feel better / Just take her home and you'll feel better / Keep telling me that it gets better / Does it ever?

[Pre-Chorus]

Help me, it's like the walls are caving in / Sometimes I feel like giving up / No medicine is strong enough / Someone help me / I'm crawling in my skin / Sometimes I feel like giving up / But I just can't / It isn't in my blood

[Chorus]

It isn't in my blood / It isn't in my blood

[Verse 2]

I'm looking through my phone again, feeling anxious / Afraid to be alone again, I hate this / I'm trying to find a way to chill, can't breathe, oh / Is there somebody who could

[Pre-Chorus]

Help me, it's like the walls are caving in / Sometimes I feel like giving up / No medicine is strong enough / Someone help me / I'm crawling in my skin / Sometimes I feel like giving up / But I just can't / It isn't in my blood

[Verse 3]

It isn't in my blood / I need somebody now / I need somebody now / Someone to help me out / I need somebody now / Help me, it's like the walls are caving in / Sometimes I feel like giving up / But I just can't / It isn't in my blood /

[Outro]

It isn't in my blood / It isn't in my blood / I need somebody now / It isn't in my blood / I need somebody now / It isn't in my blood

ShawnMendesVEVO on YouTube

In the Jay Martin directed music video, the song gets a very literal interpretation. Mendes is shown lying still on the bathroom floor, probably "feeling nothing," as the walls cave in. It continues to snow, rain, and storm around him until the end, when grass and flowers sprout. Oh, the symbolism.

The track, and the record as a whole, may not be as light hearted as Shawn's earlier albums, but he's able to evoke something new with "In My Blood." Speaking to Billboard, he said:

The concept of this song is about how it feels [when] you’re about to give up, and then you don’t. That’s the whole payoff in the chorus section…It’s about something that I think everybody goes through and it’s something that I think people don’t talk about often, especially in music.

While, I'll never not love the Shawn Mendes classic "Stitches," he's evolving as a man and artist. And frankly, this emotionally mature version is even better.