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Shawn Mendes’ “Wonder” Review: An Ambitious Story of Romance and Tribulation

Shawn Mendes’ new album, Wonder, was just released and it shows a side of him that has only been revealed in his concerts. His fourth studio album is a reflection of Mendes’ life and a deep-dive into his heart, along with a love story of his relationship with girlfriend, Camila Cabello. The album is already number one on the charts and has 14 songs, beginning with a minute-long intro that flows into his first single on the album, Wonder. The title track is a beautiful exploration of how the people in Mendes’ life feel around him and his fame, and questioning if his life is being filtered to adapt to his celebrity. In an interview with Radio about his single, Mendes explained, “There's a real sense of freedom that this song oozes out to me, that makes me love it even more.”

The third song in the new album is Higher, which is clearly about the beginning stages of his relationship with Cabello. In Mendes’ new Netflix documentary, In Wonder, he explained he has been interested in Cabello for years, but the timing was never right until about the summer of 2019, when their romantic relationship began. This is reflected in the lyrics, “All eyes are lookin' at us, but I can't stop fallin' in love, always been the one that I want.” 

The night before the album was released, Cabello said on Instagram Live that the fourth song on Mendes’ album, 24 Hours, was her favorite (and mine too). The song shows how enamored Mendes’ is with his girlfriend by explaining that he does not mind rushing the relationship. Fans are already speculating the song hinting at marriage, because of the lyrics, “We could dance, you could throw the flowers. It's a little soon, but I wanna come home to you.” The slow-paced, love letter will make you want to hold on tight to your significant other.

The steamy, fifth song on the 22-year-old singer’s album is Teach Me How to Love and is about the early stages of his relationship. Mendes said in an interview that this song was one of the first songs on the album that was recorded in the studio. “It’s kind of an outlier because it sounds like it’s not in the same world as everything else, but I think that’s what makes it feel so good too,” he said.

The sixth song on Wonder is Call My Friends, filled with emotion and energy. The tune is a bit heart wrenching, as he is singing about missing out on moments with his friends from his hometown in Canada, but the lyrics are matched with up-beat instrumentals and multiple high notes. Call My Friends was released one day early from the album’s release date, making it the third single on Wonder

Dream is the seventh song on the album and was teased towards the end of Mendes’ Netflix documentary. He was seen in the studio recording the intro for the song with his team and contemplating the beginning lyrics. The melody is another annotation of his love for Cabello and being away from her on tour, saying, “When I'm apart from you I just shut my eyes, all I have to do is dream.”

The most mysterious song on the new album is Song For No One, a saddening song of loneliness. The song begins with the lyrics, “I wake up a little drunk, check my phone, I'm all alone. Ten missed calls, a couple texts, none of them are who I'm lookin' for.” Fans have already taken to Twitter, speculating the song was written around three years ago when Mendes confessed his love for Cabello, but she wasn’t ready. The lyrics follow up with, “Yesterday, I got pretty drunk, said some things that I shouldn't have. Told you that I really love you, you did not reciprocate those feelings.” A little more than halfway through the track, the song goes from slow and melodic to strenuous and powerful, completing the tune with drums and arduous vocal range.

Monster is the ninth track on Wonder and was the second single released on the album. Justin Bieber is featured on this song about the uncertainty of the music industry and the unpredictability of life. The chorus says, “But what if I, what if I trip? What if I, what if I fall? Then am I the monster? Just let me know,” alluding to how social media and cancel-culture affects public figures and those in the music industry. 

The tenth track, 305, is about being afraid to be let down or hurt in a relationship. The instrumentals are fun and up-beat, but the lyrics show uncertainty and precariousness. Although, clearly, Mendes and Cabello’s relationship is working out just fine (remember 24 Hours? Yeah, me too). 

Always Been You was another song previewed in Mendes’ documentary. In the film, he said, “I wanna write a song that’s like orchestra in heaven with massive drums and it goes [makes buzzing drum sound] and then really quiet, my vocal just goes ‘It’s always been you, it’s always been you.’” Another love song to Cabello, Always Been You is the type of song every girl wants written about them. 

Coming in at number 12, Piece of You is another track assumably about Cabello and her magnetic personality. Mendes sings, “I'm sorry if I get protective, need these boys to get the message. You know I'm yours, I know you're mine, everybody wants a piece of you.”

The thirteenth track on the album is Look Up At The Stars. Mendes said on Instagram Live the night of his album drop that this song is his favorite on the album. He also said this song is about and for his fans, the pre-chorus saying, “I am feeling so lucky, the sun shining down on me, got these angels all around me, I'll never be alone,” and in verse two, “Finally we've met, now the lights are set. It's taken us 'til now to be together in this town.” 

The album ends with Can’t Imagine, a sincere love letter to Cabello about his fear of losing her. This track is the only one Mendes wrote by himself, and seems to end with a little cliffhanger, saying, “Cool, that’s good for now.” 

Wonder divulges feelings of fear, nostalgia, falling in love and growing up. In his fourth studio album, Mendes opens his heart and tells the world intimate details of his relationship and friendships while changing his musical style and proving he can sing different vocal ranges. Mendes ambitiously leaves listeners wondering, “What else can he do?”

 

Jordan Thornsberry is a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, studying magazine journalism. In her free time, Jordan likes to travel, read and catch up on the latest celebrity drama. You can find more of her writing at jordantberry.com and on social media at @jordantberry.
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