Shawn Mendes dropped his highly anticipated fourth studio album, Wonder, last Friday, Dec. 4. The record is heavily influenced by the musical stylings of the 60s and 70s, including Beach Boys-style harmonics, Elton John-esque piano progressions and dreamy melodic sounds that remind us of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s era.
One overarching lyrical theme throughout the 14-track album is love. It is clear listening to this album that Mendes is madly in love, and he wants us to know it. Additionally, the “Mercy” singer also heavily focuses on the topics of self-discovery and introspection across several tracks.
The album starts off with a short, minute-long introduction. “You have a million different faces // But they’ll never understand unless you let them in // You’ve been a million different places // So give yourself a chance to get lost in wonderland,” Mendes sings over a dreamy piano progression, setting the tone of the entire album.
It is clear that Mendes’ intention with this record was to let his audience into his world a little bit more than he has with past releases.
The introduction leads into the title track “Wonder”, which explores all of the deep thoughts about life that seem to keep Mendes up at night, all leading to him passionately singing out, “I wonder what it’s like to be loved by you.” The album has its fair share of slow and airy love songs, like “24 Hours,” “Can’t Imagine” and “Dream” (a standout track, in our opinion.)
On the flip side, it also includes some modern, upbeat pop songs like “Teach Me How To Love” and “Piece Of You,” which sound like they’re heavily influenced by Justin Timberlake.
The record also includes the R&B-leaning pop song “Monster,” which is a collaboration with Justin Bieber that explores the trials and tribulations of achieving massive fame at an early age. This, along with “Call My Friends” and “Song For No One,” are some of the more introspective tracks on the record that give us more insight into Mendes’ mentality.
In his Netflix documentary, Shawn Mendes: In Wonder, Mendes mentions that he was inspired by the classic love song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” to experiment with more vintage sounds and lyrical themes. It is clear that Wonder encapsulates just that, with a modern twist. The album seems to really illustrate Mendes’ growth as an artist, and we love to see it.
Featured Image: Island Records