On December 4 of this year, Shawn Mendes released his fourth studio album, “Wonder”. Before his career, Mendes got started on an app called Vine and posted singing covers, which ultimately launched his success. From there he was able to come out with his first single, “Life of the Party”, released in 2014, and his first album, “Handwritten”. After his first album, he came out with a second, “Illuminate”, in 2016 and a third, “Shawn Mendes”, in 2018.
For his fourth album, Mendes continued the evolution of the sound on “Shawn Mendes” and brought new ideas into his songwriting. Overall, I think that this album was beautifully written. He addresses his mental health, his relationship with his current girlfriend, singer-songwriter, Camilla Cabello, and his previous feelings for her. With this new album, Shawn has experimented not only instrumentally but with his vocally as well, bringing in higher and lower notes. He brings in sounds that are new and unique to his style.
Mendes has a theme of adding a few very melodic piano songs onto his albums. For “Wonder”, these include “Intro”, “24 Hours”, and “Dream”. These songs are very different from the rest of the album and hold a lot of vulnerability. Along with these songs he includes “Can’t Imagine”, where Shawn creates a beautiful conclusion to the album with his voice and guitar. He begins and finishes this new album with very new and vulnerable sounds that bring the album full circle.
On “Shawn Mendes”, Mendes had experimented with a lot of new instruments and sounds that had not been introduced in prior albums. With “Wonder”, he continues to experiment and bring new sounds into the mix, but for fans of the last album, “Higher”, “Teach Me How To Love”, and “Piece of You” will definitely bring that older sound back. These songs sound a lot like they would have ended up on the third album. They bring back the same feeling in songs such as “Nervous”, “Particular Taste”, and “Queen” from “Shawn Mendes”.
With the introduction to a new era of Shawn Mendes, we were also introduced to a sound that had not been as prominent on prior albums: drums. Mendes brings this new sound into the title track “Wonder”, “Call My Friends”, “Song For No One”, “305”, and “Look Up At The Stars”. Whether the song is exciting like “Wonder” or a rollercoaster of emotions like “305”, he has perfectly mixed the drums with other instruments such as guitar and even piano.
Mendes collaborated with fellow Canadian, Justin Bieber, for “Monster”, which explains the pressures and fears of being a teenager in the music industry. “Monster” and “Always Been You” bring a new electronic sound to the album that is new compared to his last uses of that type of sound. He creates a completely new feeling which ultimately brings the album to life.
Overall, Mendes did a beautiful job on this album. He brought in new sounds and ideas that had not been previously touched on while continuing to use older sounds and bringing them new life. There were select songs including “Song For No One” and “Piece Of You” that were not my favorites on the album and I would not play as often as the rest, however, the others made up for it with their unique and upbeat tones. “Wonder” is a very vulnerable and raw album that addresses his personal life in-depth and brings fans and listeners a deeper understanding of what is going on inside of the singer’s head. The album is wonderfully written and I am excited to see what comes next for this young artist.