I “Wonder” if it could get worse

Shawn Mendes came out with his fourth album “Wonder.” I was disappointed in the way he executed it since he has so much more potential than he decides to display in his music.

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Lauren Azevedo

Shawn Mendes just released his fourth studio album titled “Wonder”. He has been in the music industry since 2013. (Picture from Wikimedia Commons)

Lauren Azevedo, Social Media Manager

Shawn Mendes, a pop singer who rose in fame when he was just 14 years old, released his fourth studio album titled, “Wonder” on Friday, Dec. 4. I was so excited to listen to it because he dropped a teaser song, also titled “Wonder” and it blew me away. Once I heard this song, I had high expectations for this album. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed when I sat down to listen.  

I can tell Mendes is finding his own style, but while he does so, he ends up crawling back to comfortability and making music that sounds too familiar. With the title of the album and teaser song, I was expecting this album to be about self-growth, realization and raw emotion that we have not seen before.  

Instead, the album was more like a token of love for Camila Cabello. In just about every song, we hear about how much he loves her and how their relationship is so great. I was not expecting a love album and a gesture to his girlfriend, since their relationship did not seem like such a big part of his life. I was ready for an album that was intense, mysterious and exhilarating. I also wanted the album’s content to be more about himself.  

Comparative to Harry Styles, Mendes could have given his audience more to work with. Styles’ last album, “Fine Line, explored the ups and downs of love and heartbreak. Although it was about love and relationships, listeners were invested because the songs were about the pain Styles felt. We still got to hear the emotion behind the song and the vulnerability the came along with it.  

Mendes, who could have opened up through his music and been more unfiltered, decided to take the easy route and write songs about what he knew. He didn’t try to venture out to give the audience something new, moving or capturing.  

Styles has a certain technique and category he falls under, yet every song on the album is different. With Mendes, he hasn’t developed his sense of his style yet, but every song sounds the same. They open up with the same piano and sing-song voice. I was ready for more beats, instruments and lyrical breakthroughs, but instead had to hear songs comparative to his prior work.  

I hate to put it this way because Mendes has so much more potential, but his songs can be boring. I feel as though he is trying to stray away from the bubble of being a “pop artist” because he wants to reinvent himself as “Shawn Mendes,” and not the guy you hear on the radio every once and a while.  

In doing so, it seems like he is trying a little too hard. While listening, I could hear Mendes incorporating styles from other artists, which isn’t a bad thing, but if he is trying to create his own style and mantra, he should do it without being so eclectic.  

Mendes took precautions with this album, ensuring one or two songs would make it on the radio. However, this isn’t what music should be about. It should be about connecting with your audience and sending a message in a style that is personal and likeable.  

Because I had such high expectations, I feel like I have to force myself to like most of the songs. They’re just too similar to his other works and sound like he’s trying to be someone he’s not.  

Despite the disappointment, was impressed by a particular song named “Call My Friends. The content of the lyrics has to do with himself and not his relationship, which I like. When I played this one going down the list of songs on the album in order, I lost my cool. It was the only one where I could hear his trueness 

It starts the same as the other songs, slow and melodic, but it catches you by surprise when the chorus hits. It has an intense beat drop featuring an electric guitar. It’s comparable to an Arctic Monkeys song with the passionate background to support his vocals. The song is catchy, relatable and again, not about his girlfriend.  

This song captured my attention from the first time I heard it and I cannot stop listening on repeat. If more of the songs on the album were like this one, I’d like the album a whole lot more.  

Being a long-time fan of Mendes has trained me to love his methods in songwriting, instrument choice, vocals, etc. However, this album has pointed me in another direction. With the great vocals he has and the potential that sits within him, I wish his audience got more out of the album.