Shawn Mendes opens his heart on 'Wonder'
“Wonder is bigger, better, and bolder than anything Mendes has released before”
Shawn Mendes returns to the scene after being catapulted into the superstardom that resulted from his self-titled third album. His fourth-studio album, Wonder is bigger, better, and bolder than anything Mendes has released before. In anticipation of this release, Mendes also released a Netflix documentary entitled In Wonder and a concert film of his latest tour filmed in Toronto.
Mendes is blissed out, in love with his girlfriend, Camila Cabello, and reflective of his life. Opening with a short intro that gives listeners a peek into the world of Wonder, the title track breaks down the door and lets them in. Wonder is almost cinematic in its production; Each song is big, bright, and loud. “Wonder” is a hint at some musings of the 21-year old pop star. Questioning the world and status quo around him, Mendes opens up as he starts to think about the narrative that society has put into place. “I wonder, when I cry into my hands/ I’m conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man,” he sings during the second verse.
This isn’t the only time in the album he ponders some big questions and darker themes. “Call My Friends” explores loneliness and missing out on big moments in his friend’s lives. The sole collaboration on the album with fellow Canadian singer, Justin Bieber, reflects on cancel culture and the darker side of fame. As both singers have been in the spotlight since they were teenagers, this song is raw and personal as they wonder if making the slightest misstep in the eyes of the public really makes them a monster.
But with dark comes light, and Mendes shines a spotlight on Camila Cabello, giving the world an open look into his heart and feelings for her. “It’s a fairytale that I can’t explain” he sings on “Always Been You,” but Mendes gives it his best shot since a staggering 8 tracks out of 14 can be attributed to their relationship. The first of these is “Higher,” where Mendes details the euphoria he feels with her while also proclaiming that Cabello has “always been the one that [he] want[s].” The pair moved into a house in Miami together during quarantine and Mendes wrestles with people wondering if they’re in a rush to settle down while knowing that this is what feels right in the song “24 Hours.” Other highlights include “305” and the closing track “Can’t Imagine.”
Overall, Shawn Mendes produced a wonderfully raw and open album, giving fans a look into what goes on underneath his now-signature curls. He flexes his impressive vocals all the way through, which match perfectly with the orchestral production. While the production does get too big at times and leaves listeners without focus, Mendes ties it in a package labeled “For Camila.” as he lays his heart on the line.
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