Shawn Mendes speaks to the moment with new song, 'WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DYING FOR ?'

'I wanna save us, but I don’t know how'
Shawn Mendes
Photo credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In response to the forest fires devastating his native Canada, Shawn Mendes has released a climate change focused song to ask for donations to the Canadian Red Cross.

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Given that the 24-year-old singer-songwriter is from Canada and living in NYC, it makes perfect sense that the natural disasters are hitting him hard. As it currently stands, there are at least 103 wildfires actively burning in Alberta, Canada. The fires have devastated over 11,000 acres so far, causing the evacuation of about 25,00 people and sending smoke throughout the US northeast. Mendes hastily responded to the crisis through his music, and released a single with cover art of the orange, ash ridden NYC skyline.

“Started writing this song yesterday morning with my friends in upstate New York & finished it only a few hours ago,” he wrote on social media. “Felt so important to me to share with you guys in real time.”

Venturing into electric pop, Mendes inspires the listener as the song builds. Each chorus builds louder until he eventually belts: “If we don't love like we used to / If we don't care like we used to / What the hell are we dying for? / If it doesn't cut like it used to / If you're not mine and I'm not yours / What the hell are we dying for?” And if those lyrics weren’t enough, the music itself is mixed with a kind of “mask” over it. There appears to be an echo and filter placed over his background vocals and music, as if to emulate the obscurity of smoke and ash.

Yet, some fans have noted the heartbreak-esque lyrics as well. Lines like “Locked in my mind, you're all I think about / I wanna save us, but I don't know how” and the bridge’s “Livin' without you / Is not livin' at all” could easily act as a double entendre for a failed relationship. The singer is currently tied to Camilia Cabello, though their status is unclear. The on-again-off-again couple appeared to reconcile at Coachella back in April and have been seen together multiple times, even slow dancing at a Taylor concert. As reports of a second break up swirl, this song may just send fans of the couple into a frenzy.

As for Mendes, he seems focused on the real crisis and referred his fans to the Canadian Red Cross to assist in emergency relief. You can donate alongside him through this link, and be sure to form your own opinions on the song by checking out the official release below.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images