Shawn Mendes’s “Wonder” taking grandiose to another level

Paige Evers '22, Associate Editor of Pulse

On Dec. 4, 2020, Candian singer Shawn Mendes dropped his fourth studio album “Wonder.” He first announced on Sept. 30, 2020 that the release of his first two singles “Intro” and “Wonder” would be dropped on Oct. 2, 2020 along with the date of his album.
His single “Wonder” hit the iTunes charts at number one while “Intro” was mainly just a gateway into his album. In addition to the release of his single, a music video accompanied it, along with an interactive website in order to promote the song and his upcoming album. The second and last single he released was “Monster” featuring Justin Bieber, again being accompanied by a music video. There were mixed feelings about this collaboration, as Bieber had been involved in past scandals that did not put him in the best light. I thought “Wonder” was the stronger single, thus setting the tone and expectations for the album.
Along with Mendes dropping two singles before the release of the album, he also released his documentary “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder” on Netflix on Nov. 23, 2020 paired with “Shawn Mendes: Live In Concert,” which was a concert film from his 2019 tour. His documentary gave his audience some insight into his upcoming album, it also showed some of the behind-the-scenes production of his new songs. In the documentary, Mendes said “Wonder” is an experimental album with lots of loud instrumentals, plenty of falsettos and a grandiose vibe.
Mendes opens up his album “Wonder” with “Intro,” a minute-long song which is heavily focused on piano, lyrically and instrumentally it starts out quiet and crescendos into a louder electrically orchestrated sound. Following “Intro” is “Wonder,” which is again very instrumental and his vocals start out quite normal and once again get louder as the instruments get louder. Lyrically, it is one of his best, considering that wondering what it’s like to be loved by someone can be very relatable. Personally, I think this was done phenomenally, from the production, to the instruments, to the vocals, it sounds great.
The third track is “Higher,” which puts a strong emphasis on falsettos and drums, though lyrically I find it repetitive. On the other hand, after “Higher” is “24 Hours,” which is a lot less in your face instrumental, but is lyrically meaningful.
Before diving into my favorites, two honorable mentions are “Teach Me How To Love” and “Song For No One.” “Teach Me How To Love” has lots of strong harmonies and is quite catchy. “Song For No One,” in my opinion is rather underrated. I think it does a nice job of starting off very quiet and peaceful then grows into a louder drum based beat, which I like.
My personal favorites are “Wonder,” “Dream” and “Always Been You.” All three of these songs start out quite normal or even quiet, but grow into something instrumentally and vocally impressive which is what I love about these songs.
Overall, I rate “Wonder” a 7/10 because the album was pretty grandiose, the vocals and instruments were impressive, but what lacked was the lyrics, they tended to be repetitive. I would recommend this album to anyone who appreciates a strong use of instruments and outstanding vocals.