People are “Wonder”-ing why Shawn Mendes’s album is receiving criticism

The level of lovey-doviness is out of control, say critics of the new album


Photo courtesy of John Shearer (Getty images via

Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes attend the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards in August 2019.

Maya Martin, Assistant Editor, Arts and Culture

“Wonder,” one of Shawn Mendes’s most awaited albums of his career, is receiving mixed reviews on the quality of his “lovey-dovey” music tracks.

The hit solo-artist, who became famous through vine for posting guitar covers, has been growing rapidly and immensely over the past few years. However, while writing his new album, many of the singer’s issues revolving around the struggles of being a celebrity interfered. Mendes became obsessed with creating music that would be hit singles rather than writing from his heart.

“It’s addictive… It’s destructive,” he told Apple Music. “You miss out on the most beautiful part, which is the process.”

While spending some time to find himself and his inner peace, Mendes rediscovered his long lost passion for writing how he feels and not what he believes will “make it big.” After dedicating a long time to soul searching and focusing on humbling activities like journaling and meditation, Shawn came to create his album, “Wonder.” The album is filled almost completely with songs and lyrics about self-realizations and romance with his girlfriend and fellow singer, Camila Cabello, which has sparked many controversial opinions on originality and quality.

Although Mendes’s large following of fans is backing him and his album, many critics and music listeners have not been impressed by the music. Pitchfork, a media company known for harshly critiquing musical artists, reviewed the “Wonder” album and wrote nothing short of harsh. The review was titled, “The pop heartthrob’s lovestruck fourth album comes across like your friend who just got into a relationship and won’t shut up about it: You’re happy for them and also tremendously bored.” 

After moving in with Cabello to quarantine during COVID together, Mendes was able to focus on their love and relationship on a deeper level, so he decided to write the album about her. It consisted of what is thought to be dramatic and over-emphasized themes of love. The album was even called out for using cliche terms like “Your body’s like an ocean” and “Once a wise man said only fools go rushing in” in the songs “Teach Me How To Love” and “24 Hours,” featured on the album. Mendes’s previous albums, “Handwritten” and “Illuminate,” for example, consisted of upbeat themes of his future and rise to fame. Many people are disappointed in the turn his music took in the “Wonder” album, noting that it “strayed away from his unique sound.” Rather than creating music that has deeper meaning to it like he normally does, the themes of love are looked upon as shallow and unoriginal.

Despite the criticism Mendes has received on the “Wonder” album for being too dramatic and “lovey-dovey,” some other deeper meanings and themes dwell in the songs featured on the album including self-growth and the dark side of being a celebrity. The hit song “Wonder” on the album, entitled after the song, is best known by Mendes fans for its breath-taking opening and catchy tune, but when analyzed closer it emphasizes the struggles the singer has gone through with his ego and popularity. The song opens with the lyrics, “I wonder, if I’m being real, do I speak my truth or do I filter how I feel.” The song is utilized as a way to reflect on the singer’s growth and to express how he struggled with his inner thoughts while his fame grew. His previous albums focused on his growing character, but this album seems to take his themes of individual growth and lead them into a new direction of growth with another person, love.

It can be assumed that since the two major themes of the album are love and an egotistical struggle while growing in fame, Cabello was one of the saving graces that humbled Mendes. He has expressed how his love for her has made him discover the true meaning of life and how she showed him to write songs from the heart. “Always Been You,” another track dedicated to Cabello stated, “I swear that you’ve been sent to save me,” and, “You’ve seen all my darkest fears.” It can also be assumed that Mendes’s music will change in a permanent direction towards this type of heart-felt music because of the impact Cabello has had on his mind and music.

Although Mendes’s album displays cliche themes of love, his music suggests that pop musicians alike should not be writing music for the thrill of making hit singles, but to express their prominent emotions through song.