Shawn Mendes Gets Lost

His New Video is a Lost in Translation Homage

BY: Andy Shoulders

I never knew I needed a Shawn Mendes remake of the 2003 film Lost in Translation, but apparently I absolutely do.

His new song, “Lost in Japan,” is a quite the catchy little number, with funky strings and driving bass, that sounds a lot like the Justin Timberlake of the “Justified” era. In fact, Mendes said himself that the song was inspired by many of the songs on the Justified album. The video’s inspirations, however, clearly come from Lost in Translation. Mendes actually reenacts scenes from the film as Bill Murray’s character Bob, with guest appearances from Norwegian actress Alisha Boe (who plays Scarlett Johansson’s character Charlotte) and song remixer himself, Zedd.

Zedd’s take on the song amps up the otherwise mid-tempo R&B-pop slow jam. Mendes’ icy cool vocals sound more layered above a methodical beat that bursts into a deliberately glitchy breakdown during the choruses. The end result sounds a lot like an old Nintendo game soundtrack with its melding of little noises into one huge sound.

I think it’s fair to say that with the new remixed version of “Lost in Japan” and the accompanying video, it’s now officially OK to really like a Shawn Mendes song. Besides being a pretty face tethered to an acoustic guitar, one could argue that there was simply nothing cool about him. He almost came off as a younger John Mayer 2.0, except without any of the run-off from millennial nostalgic appreciation of Mayer. “Lost in Japan,” however, is something of a revelation. We get romantic tension and horny desperation all wrapped up into a sexier, more mature package.

Give “Lost in Japan” a look and listen. You’ll be glad to find a new Shawn Mendes while getting lost with him at the same time.