Listen to this: New singles from The Weeknd and Shawn Mendes

By Nicholas Jennings

Two of Canada’s biggest male pop stars released new singles this week and instantly created a whole lot of buzz on social media — although not necessarily about their new tunes. The Weeknd found fans were distracted by his new physical appearance, while Shawn Mendes sent his followers on a treasure hunt.

The Weeknd: “Starboy” feat. Daft Punk
Toronto’s Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weekend, broke through with last year’s Beauty Behind the Madness, which sold 1.5 million copies worldwide and featured two #1 singles (“The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face”) and one Oscar-nominated song (“Earned It”). So there’s much anticipation for his follow up, which is now scheduled for release on Nov. 25. It’s called Starboy, which is also the title of its debut single, a moody club track that references Brad Pitt, Star Trek and New Edition.

The Weeknd’s single was overshadowed by the Twitter reaction to the news that Abel has cut off his signature ’do, known variously as the palm tree or the tsunami. Once he shared the photo, everyone was (ahem) a-twitter about the new look.

Shawn Mendes: “Mercy”
Toronto’s Shawn Mendes is only 18, but the singer came to prominence a few years ago with his Vine cover songs. Now a bona fide star, he has just released a sophomore album, Illuminate, which promises to take Shawn even higher into pop’s stratosphere. “Mercy,” the first single from the album, is a soaring ballad full of the kind of romantic anguish that his young female fans just love, and its brand new music video has sent fans into a frenzy.

To promote Illuminate, Shawn’s media team is using Instagram postings of billboard photos featuring lyrics from the new songs! Fans are encouraged to join the scavenger hunt and share photos of them using the hashtag #ShawnXSpotify.

Hello! music columnist Nicholas Jennings surveys the pop landscape each week to find the most dynamic tracks to add to your playlist.

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