AOTY 2023
Shawn Mendes - Wonder
Dec 4, 2020
Before this recent album cycle, I could safely say I hated Shawn Mendes. His music (at least what I had heard from the radio) annoyed me to no end- Señorita is one of my least favorite songs of all time, and tracks like “Treat You Better” still make me want to scream. However, as this LP’s singles started to release, I started to gain hope in the quality of this album. The title track, “Wonder”, is one of my favorite mainstream pop singles of the year- the production is incredible, Shawn’s vocal performance is great, and the track overall just has a great structure and build-up. The second single, “Monster”, was also a pretty decent song, where both Shawn and Justin delivered pretty powerful verses about being famous and young. The low-key instrumental was nice, and the chorus is incredibly catchy as well. These two tracks built up excitement in me, as I hoped that we would get a half-decent Shawn Mendes album, and that’s what we got. A half-decent Shawn Mendes album. I enjoyed it very mildly, but for the most part, it just sounds average.

“Intro” is a very simple, one-minute track that has a dreamy quality to it that I really like. The soft piano chords, playing a simple progression, that eventually give way to a huge wall of synthesizers, are incredible, and I honestly really enjoy this track. It leads into the title track, “Wonder”, which I touched on in the introductory paragraph. As I mentioned, I love “Wonder”, but the album starts to take a bit of a dive after the first 2 tracks. “Higher” features an annoying flow with a meh instrumental as well, and the melody in general just kinda irks me. “24 Hours” sounds like a watered-down wedding song, with a reverbed piano backing the vocals, and I don’t love it, but it’s not offensively bad either. “Teach Me How To Love” is an odd one for me- I feel like I should hate this track, but I really don’t. It sounds like dollar star Daft Punk mixed with radio music, and no matter how crap that sounds, it’s a groovy cut that is one of my favorites off of this LP. “Call My Friends” has a pretty great instrumental, but the vocal performance is unremarkable, and “Dream” has a really nice dreamy instrumental (who would've guessed) even if the writing and flow on this song could’ve been sent back to the drawing board. On “Song For No One”, the low-key instrumental doesn’t do much for the song, and the vocals are again mediocre, and the breakdown into what sounds like a Christmas song around the 2-minute mark just makes zero sense to me whatsoever. “Monster”, like I stated earlier, is a pretty great track, with a catchy chorus and nice instrumental and feature. “305” is pretty groovy, even with a somewhat irritating chorus (something that is a common occurrence on this album, as can probably be told by my descriptions). “Always Been You” is kinda gimmicky, with the huge shots of synthesized sound interpolated with Shawn singing with no backing whatsoever, but I don’t hate it. “Piece Of You” has a drum loop and beat that make me want to run into a brick wall, and not in the Idles way. “Look Up At The Stars” is a little faux-dramatic, but it’s still groovy and features a good vocal performance. However, there’s yet another totally nonsensical switch-up around the 1-minute mark that’s hard to explain. The final track is kinda like the Shawn Mendes version of the closer track to Black Dresses’ masterpiece “Peaceful As Hell”, but really bad. The breaks in his voice sound really annoying and fake, and like he’s trying to sound emotionally affected by something that clearly doesn’t exist. There’s absolutely no progression at all, and overall, it’s a horrible ending to a somewhat decent album.

This album exceeded and failed to meet my expectations at the same time. Most of the songs are average pop tunes, but they’re still better than I expected out of 40 minutes of Shawn Mendes, and overall, although I wouldn’t return to any songs on this project besides the title track, I can’t say this album was horrible like a lot of his most famous works are.

Standout - Wonder
Best tracks - Intro, Teach Me How To Love, Monster
Worst track - Can’t Imagine

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More Reviews by SMTCubes
Shawn Mendes - WONDER
Oct 2, 2020
Shawn Mendes - Señorita
Sep 30, 2020
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