It’s an extraordinary time to release a new single and album. The COVID-19 pandemic has people scared and unclear about the future.
Into this feeling, Shawn Mendes releases another monumental single with Island Records.
The new single is different from other songs he released in the past. This single is deeper and makes it sound as if the lyrics were written from his soul.
The song also gets the listener thinking about the future.
On Dec. 4, Mendes plans on releasing a whole new album: named Wonder, the same name as his new single.
“Wonder” begins slow with piano then the tempo starts to speed up and the drums kick in. Once Mendes starts to sing, it is impossible not to sing along.
Mendes’ voice stays very soft and steady at the start. When the drums begin, his voice becomes more powerful. Every time he sings “I wonder” gets him asking the question if he is allowed to continue living inside this society.
As part of the launch for the new single, Mendes held a “Wonder Live Virtual Event” on Oct. 15. During the event, Mendes said the lyric, “I wonder, when I cry into my hands/I’m conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man” is his favourite.
The lyric references deep emotions linked to hypermasculinization: the fact men feel they cannot express their emotions.
Mendes “wonders” if society will ever change and allow him to express his emotions freely.
Crying is a human emotion that cannot be stopped yet boys and men are told it is not manly to cry by society so they need to be strong all the time. Mendes questions this social norm in “Wonder.”
The instrumentation behind the lyrics stays soft when Mendes questions society. The music gets quicker by the end of the song, making it sound like Mendes is starting to understand and, maybe, accept that now in this moment, nothing will change.
During the single’s premiere, Mendes also released a music video. Directed by Matty Peacock, the music video had more than 20,000,000 views on YouTube, eight days after the release.
With intense and impactful transitions between each clip, the music video starts with an old-fashioned train moving along in the mountains, and transitions to Mendes starting with the lyrics, “I wonder if I’m being real/Do I speak my truth or do I filter how I feel?”
Mendes is torn between wanting to show who he is to the world or keep it hidden away, foreshadowing the lyrics when he sings, “making him less than a man.”
By the end of the video, Mendes runs towards a cliff. The instruments get louder and more powerful, when Mendes sings, “I wonder what it is like to be loved by you.” As the music video goes on, it looks as though Mendes is screaming at the ocean, letting go of all the emotions he has kept hidden for years.
“Wonder” represents the feeling of freedom from keeping in all his emotions from his past.
Mendes’ music has taken a turn. “Wonder” is deeper and more emotional in both than his first single, “Life of a Party,” released in 2014. At that time, Mendes was the youngest artist to be featured on the Billboards 100’s Top 25. He was 15-years-old. Now at 22, Mendes is wondering about the future.
“Wonder” can be streamed on YouTube and Spotify.