Each song in Shawn Mendes’ new album Wonder is its own unique musical journey


Island Records

Mendes posing for a new Wonder photoshoot.

Although it took a while, Shawn Mendes finally released his new album. 

On December 4, 2020, all 14 of Mendes’ new songs—including the previously released single, “Wonder”—were released into the world and I immediately added them to my Spotify playlist. 

I am thoroughly impressed with the brand new sounds he brought out in his newest album: Wonder. It is easy to tell that, although it took a while for his new music to be released, he was not slacking off in the time being. 

Compared to his previous albums and music, I can tell he truly put a lot of time and care into making his pieces exactly what he intended them to be and what message he wanted to portray—right down to the very last note. 

Each song has a deep message and its own unique vibe to it. With his vivid musical experimentation, Mendes used a wide variety of instruments and custom sounds to give his songs the sugar and spice that make listening to each one their own experience. 

I was utterly amazed at how each sound blended together perfectly. I also loved how, with each new listen, I would notice a new instrument or gadget he used to add flair to the songs. The lyrics are meticulous enough, but by adding the phenomenal instrumentation, Mendes really captured my attention and had me playing these songs on repeat for hours. 

Upon my first listen, I was a bit disappointed to hear that most of the songs weren’t super upbeat, as those are typically my favorite songs to listen to. However, with each repeated listen, I grew to love the songs and their meanings, despite the speed being a little slower than I was used to.  

Among the 16 new tracks included in the phenomenal collection, it is honestly hard for me to pick favorites because they all stand alone in some way. Usually, in a new album, there are some songs that I listen to once or twice and then forget about because they aren’t my style, but none from this album follow that usual pattern on mine.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t acquired favorites, though.  

The songs can almost be categorized by mood and feeling. For instance, songs such as “24 Hours,” “Can’t Imagine,” “Look Up At The Stars,” and “Song For No One” are very calming and have a loving essence about them. These songs not only have moving emotions, but they all also have sweet messages that really give the listener insight into Mendes’ life.

On the other hand, I would place songs such as “Higher,” “Always Been You,” “Teach Me How To Love,” and “305” in a more upbeat, but still not worthy of “rocking out” category. Listening to these might include some head bobbing and foot-tapping to the steady beat. 

The obvious variety sprinkled within this album is one reason I really enjoyed listening to it; every song was its own unique listening experience. It’s not one of those albums that have songs that all sound the same, making it hard to tell the difference between them. 

Every song was its own unique listening experience.”

One of the most iconic songs in the album, “Monster,” was a collaborative effort between Mendes and Justin Bieber. I really enjoyed the song because it was vulnerable and carried a new message; both singers were introduced to the world of fame when they were very young, so this song took the listener through both of their similar insecurities about always trying to please their audience. I thought this was a necessary addition to the album, and put the cherry on top for me. 

To go more in-depth on a few of my favorite songs, I would have to start with “Always Been You.” 

This dramatic song starts out with what sounds like an orchestra tuning their strings before a concert, and it remarkably introduces the beauty of the lyrics. Essentially, this song is about Mendes’ realization that the girl he’s with, Camila Cabello, has always been the one for him no matter where his mind has tried to take him. The way the lyrics were spaced out illustrated Mendes reiterating this fact to himself: she’s always been the only girl for him. 

Another song with incredible meaning that stuck with me was “Look Up At The Stars.” This is one of the slower, more sentimental songs that Mendes included as a tribute to his fans. The stars refer to his adoring fans, and Mendes expresses how lucky and blessed he feels to have so many people supporting his music. I thought the song was a really nice way to give a little something back to his devoted followers–including them in his musical journey. 

With each song, this album continued to impress me with its detailed musical momentos, vulnerable lyrics, and overall outstanding sound, and the obvious amount of effort put into each individual song gives me hope for Mendes’ musical future.