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"Wonder"-ing about Mendes

By Miranda Lin

The idea of being authentic and vulnerable is still something that people of all ages and from all different backgrounds struggle with today. Now, it is being explored by one of the biggest names in the music industry, Shawn Mendes. In late September, Mendes announced his fourth studio album “Wonder,” with lead singles “Wonder” and “Monster” with Justin Bieber.

Through several interviews, Mendes has made it clear that this album is about opening up, being true to himself, and being vulnerable. He has said that he wants to be real and raw with his fans and with everyone around him.

In “Wonder,” Mendes sings, “I wonder, if I’m being real. Do I speak my truth or do I filter how I feel?” This line shows Mendes’ questioning of whether or not he is being authentic and coming across as what he truly wants and feels, or if he is just putting up a fake celebrity face. Furthermore, in his long-awaited and anticipated collaboration with Bieber, Mendes and Bieber sing about being “the monster,” or in other words, not the shining, perfect example of what a celebrity should be.

Mendes seems to have made a segue from his previous albums, which mostly involved him, a guitar, and a lot of falsetto, to something darker, deeper, and totally different from before...

Mendes sings “You put me on a pedestal and tell me I’m the best,” and Bieber parallels these lyrics when he sings “I was fifteen when the world put me on a pedestal,” indicating the angst that they feel of having been in an elevated position for so long and from such a young age. They also pose the rhetorical questions, “What if I, what if I trip? What if I, what I fall? Then I am the monster? Just let me know,” as a way of almost asking the fans what they would do and how they would feel if the celebrities they championed and idolized wavered from their splitting images of perfection.

With the release of these two singles, most fans have already noted key differences that appear between this album and Mendes’ previous three albums, which were mostly brighter, upbeat, emotional and lovelorn songs.

“When I first heard the song [‘Monster’], I didn’t think of Shawn Mendes as one of those artists because a lot of his other songs, while emotional, don’t give off the same energy. ‘Monster’ seems darker than a lot of his other songs, less upbeat, but still catchy,” said junior Briana Dunn.

Mendes seems to have made a segue from his previous albums, which mostly involved him, a guitar, and a lot of falsetto, to something darker, deeper, and totally different from before. Some fans have already pointed out that in all of his live performances of “Wonder” thus far, he no longer performs with his trademark guitar.

Mendes further excited fans with the release of a new documentary and recorded concert about a week before the release of his album.

Source by Saanvi Mirchandani

Mendes' new documentary titled "Shawn Mended in Wonder" is now available on Netflix for fans to stream.

“I’m really excited to see what Shawn has coming out. He’s had an eventful year with the release of 'Wonder,' his Netflix documentary, and his recorded concert. I think 'Wonder' might be a good indication of what the album’s vibe will be,” said senior Khushi Shah.

On December 4, Mendes finally released the long-awaited album, and right away, it was obvious that almost the entire album was about his very public relationship with Camila Cabello. In “24 Hours,” Mendes sings about potentially buying a house with his girlfriend, singing, “All it’d take is 24 hours, sign the check and the place is ours.” In “305,” he sings about how he is terrified of losing her: “If you cut the cord, I don’t know what I’d do. Don’t wanna skydive without my parachute. I’m a mess right now. I’m a wreck right now. I’m waiting for the moment that you let me down.” Mendes even showed his “jealous boyfriend” side in “Piece of You.” These songs, as well as his confession to Cabello in his documentary that “they’re all [his songs] about you” reflect how he has grown into the relationship over the past year and also how he has become more comfortable with talking about his relationship in the public eye.

With a year of craziness coming to a close, Mendes is looking to take listeners down an emotional trip of vulnerability and self-reflection with his new album, raw documentary, and recorded concert.

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