Photo Credit to vacancy magazine Article by Rikki Red
After a full week of teasing, Shawn Mendes finally dropped his newest single "Wonder" on October 2nd. It was everything that we were hoping it would be; catchy, honest, introspective, and still showcasing that playful-pop vibe that we've grown to love so much. If we can, as a whole, say anything about 2020, I'm sure that it's caused many of us to delve deeper into who we are at our core and question if we're truly living life the way we want to.
Outside of solely growing out his hair over quarantine, it appears that Mendes has grown in confidence as well. From moments in his past where he had no problem saying that he couldn't dance and it wasn't comfortable for him to try, to being so concerned about every action that he took and what rumors would begin to circulate from them, we got a glimpse of what it's like to quite literally be thrown into fame before even being able to figure out who you are. In the music video for "Wonder," we begin to see that Shawn is clearly coming to terms with who he is as a 22-year-old guy.
In true Shawn fashion, the video starts off on a train that looks eerily similar to The Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter. The song begins on a bit of a brooding note, the surrounding music quieting down before Mendes chimes in with the first line, "I wonder if I'm being real, do I speak my truth or do I filter how I feel?" and the mood only continues throughout the entirety of the first verse. Especially with a fandom as young as his tends to be, I'm always impressed when celebrities speak about real life in their music so that regular teens from all over the world can gain the understanding that as much as we'd all like to, we don't really have it figured out. We're all sort of on this journey together, over-analyzing every move that we make and every word that we speak.
The backing track, primarily sounding of drums, almost reminds me of a heartbeat. On Shawn's last album, he debuted a single called "In My Blood" about his struggles with anxiety, and this single gives kindred vibes off. As someone who deals with anxiety as well, whenever my thoughts get too loud, it's as though my heartbeat gets stronger and I can hear it beating in my own ears. As Shawn digs deep into the source of who he is during this song, I can feel the emotions right alongside him, that anxiety that turns into a crescendo of finally accepting that it's okay to wonder. We don't have to have all the answers.
As Mendes walks through the moving vehicle, dancers surrounding him, you know that crescendo is close, but it's not until he opens the hatch and climbs out onto the top of the train that you really feel it. I bounce back and forth between interpretations for this section of the song, wondering if this is a bonafide love song like many in Shawn's repertoire (which I'm sure it is), or if this is a cry to himself, wondering how differently life would go if he was able to love himself like he's loved someone else. Would that finally grant him the openness he's been longing for?
In a blink, we see Shawn is suddenly relocated to a forest, all alone. The music has calmed down once again, and he's back with more introspective wording, maybe my favorite part of the entire song, "I wonder why I'm so afraid of saying something wrong, I never said I was a saint. I wonder when I cry into my hands, I'm conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man." With these words, Mendes begins to dance and it feels earth-shattering.
Mendes went from being surrounded by dancers, but leaving the setting as quickly as he could and finding himself alone on top of a moving train, to being alone with his thoughts in a lush forest, standing up and finding it within himself to dance without any audience. Beats later, he discovers another group of people to dance with, placing himself in the center, and finding companionship, people who understand his heartbeat at that moment. That's really what we all want, isn't it? To be able to relate. Shawn does a great job of letting that happen with this new single.
As they begin to run, Shawn finds himself alone once again, but this time, he doesn't seem defeated. There's an energy behind his movements that makes me want to get up and run with him. He finds himself at the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean where he almost falls in. He's able to brace himself with just enough time to stay standing, but that doesn't stop the waves from crashing up over the cliff and soaking him anyway.
It seems as though there's a metaphorical realization washing over him, that life is a journey. We don't have all of the answers, we don't know what tomorrow holds, we don't always know who we are, or even what we want... but there's something about the journey that is so beautiful. If we can learn to be patient with ourselves, and other people, and we don't make life so "black and white," we'll learn that it's magical just the way it is - in color.
Watch the video below:
Shawn also announced that his new album will be premiering in full on December 4th. If "Wonder" is any indication about how the rest of the album is going to go, we're already obsessed!
He's made it available for preorder, as well as some other exciting merch that you'll definitely want to check out! Just in time for the holidays!