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Shawn Mendes’ ‘Wonder’ is an oasis of dreamy appeal

  Shawn Mendes’ latest album Wonder is astoundingly distinctive and inviting in more ways than one, compared to his past albums. All 14 tracks recount a story of where the artist was a year ago and how he’s rebuilding his love life and – it seems – his sound. Mendes wants his fans to experience this journey through wonderland as much as he does. It’s clear enough through his overall playful tone and whimsical lyrics that leave my ears ringing with gentle whispers and kisses of lyrical bliss. Wonder may very well be all of Mendes’ past, present, and future rolled into one story of true love and passion no other artist can express through sheer vocal beauty.

Shaping into a new man and new life

Although Wonder reveals many points on the roadmap, including manhood, the journey through his music, and friendships, there’s one true target being addressed here — Camila Cabello. Mendes is the modern Romeo proclaiming a six-year-long lovefest to Cabello, who Mendes has had his sights on for years after meeting on tour years back. The guy gets the girl, and in this collection of potential singles, he’s the king of the mountain. Mendes has changed both mentally and artistically if one reflects on his history. From Vine to YouTube, to the radio, to record albums and touring with the likes of Taylor Swift and Cabello, Wonder seals the artist’s soul to the fact that he’s worked far too hard to give up now. With controversy in the past involving his personal demons with masculinity and what it means to be a man, album four symbolizes a remarkable milestone in the young artist’s life, a milestone to be performed.  

Standing strong with a new sound

Wonder features one collaboration. “Monster” with Justin Bieber speaks true to the realities of stepping into the spotlight at a young age. One can only “wonder” what that must be like. Instead, Mendes addresses both how life is a celebration of friends and what makes us all messy as humans. This is the artist’s first album with only one collaboration, but that’s not the only separating factor. “Look Up at the Stars,” “Piece of You,” “Always Been You,” and “Can’t Imagine” all show a new side of the artist, fulfilling a pensive and aesthetically pleasing sound never staying monotonous.
“It's a Friday night/And the streetlights are all saying your name/They always say your name”
The artist is taking this awful year and spinning it into something creative for his fans and himself. Although much of the album is for the fans, much of the work is for Mendes himself. Imagination can run wild with Wonder gazing at the celebration of life and its many struggles, more within this year than ever before. “Call My Friends” is a personal shoutout to the artist’s closest friends to which it seems he’s had little contact with at least in person. Something many of us can relate to. There’s a spiritual and emotional connection throughout each song, flowing till the last track. “Can’t Imagine” depicting the singer’s philosophy of what life would be like without Cabello. Time stands still in album four with love and dreams of a perfect world.

The “Achilles Heel” of it all

Although there’s a substantial appeal and fans get to see a side of Mendes yet not explored before, the album doesn’t stand up to his previous album, although close. “Lost in Japan”-Esque Mendes was his hype and the peak within his career. The aesthetic was shown ultimately in Shawn Mendes, and it’s present in Wonder but not as strong. The new album overall lacks the artist’s fast pace previously displayed, which may be just me, but it's expected at this point in his career.

Top tracks:

Intro Call My Friends Look Up at the Stars

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Featured Image: Genius Sources: Billboard, The Boar

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