Canadian artist Shawn Mendes releases his new album Wonder on December 4, 2020. This release occurs after two years since his last album. This album holds drastic creative changes since Mendes’s last album Shawn Mendes. While Mendes has a distinct sound that leaves any song recognizable beyond compare, Wonder seeps into Mendes’s mind as his most personal album yet.
Mendes begins his album with the track “Intro” which grants the listener an invitation into his “wonderland,” or his thoughts. The second song is the title track “Wonder” which begins with a soft choir opener but soon builds up into quite an intense single. Mendes honestly questions his ability to be loved and honest with his fans in the dense world we find ourselves living in today. The third track from Mendes’s album is “Higher.” Just when listeners thought Wonder would be a slower album, Mendes throws in an all-around jam that will make you want to dance. “Higher” poses that his relationship has helped him get through an increasingly low point in his life.
The next track on this album is “24 Hours” which is a classic love song once one has fallen head over heels. Mendes makes the love song his own with a heavy emphasis on the single piano note played every bar. “24 Hours” will easily be the next break-out wedding song. The fifth song is “Teach Me How To Love” which reminds listeners that Mendes is no longer that young, naïve boy who began his career. “Teach Me How To Love” is an intimate song with an upbeat melody.
“Call My Friends” paints a clear picture of the sadness one feels when growing up. Often one slips away from their friends due to work. Mendes proves that his work schedule is enough to make anyone wish for a mental break. This song allows a bridge between Mendes’s mental health and his fans. The track “Dream” uses lyrics to create an angelic dream state. The reoccurring piano melody in the first verse builds up to Mendes’s extended long notes. The next track on Wonder is called “Song For No One” which is an obscure title for music. Isn’t every song written about someone? As Mendes sings lyrics of accidentally stating his love for someone who did not reciprocate the feeling over a harp sounding guitar melody, it sure seems like even this song is for someone.
Next comes Mendes’s second single from the album, “Monster.” This track includes a feature from Justin Bieber. Both artists not only share their Canadian background, but also being put in the spotlight at a young age. In that time, they have made mistakes and feared losing it all due to cracking under the pressure. The lyrics convey this honest fear and forgiveness. Their voices collide together with a simple background melody to truly let their collaboration take power.
Track ten, “305,” brings the listener back into a relatively happy melodic line. However, the lyrics are quite disputable to the contrasting tone, especially in the first verse and the chorus. Mendes sings of being in fear of losing someone that makes him happy. Anyone who has ever been in love can relate to this feeling, whether in a romantic relationship or a friendship. Mendes conveys a worry of his without creating a downer of a track. “Always Been You” pays homage to Mendes’s classic, recognizable sound. The melody of the song ties into the current album with strong crescendos into the chorus.
With track 12, “Piece of You,” Mendes begins with a soft, slow set of lyrics. Mendes quickly changes the tone by creating a sound that gives off the vibes of “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen. “Piece of You” is no less of a hit either. While listening to the minor chords, one can see the light show that may accompany the song in a live rendition. Mendes creates unavoidable imagery that will leave listeners yearning for the time when live shows can occur once again.
“Look Up At The Stars” holds a reminder that everyone needs to listen to. One should live a life where they take in the beauty of the surrounding world as though it was created just for them. Mendes tricks listeners once again by beginning the song as a slow melody, but shortly the song provides a shocking quality as the melody changes with staccato notes that hold a jazz emphasis. The finishing track, “Can’t Imagine” is a beautiful love song that almost sounds like a raw voice memo. A truly personal way to end an album.
Mendes creates his third studio album with a new sound while also paying homage to his classic sound. Wonder creates fresh melodies while still giving old fans the nostalgic feel of his old albums. Wonder is not based on fiction. Mendes creates an honest look into his relationship, mental health, and outlook for the future.
Listen to Wonder here.