Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" Lyrics Are Sensual

by S. Atkinson
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You thought Christmas was over, but you were wrong, because Santa Claus doesn't wear a red hat and commute via sleigh. Plot twist: Santa's none other than your friend Ed Sheeran, who dropped two brand new tracks on Friday, Jan. 6, because why not? But what do Sheeran's "Shape of You" lyrics mean? Since it's the more danceable of the two tracks, and you've got that Friday feeling, I'd wager this is the song you've had on loop all day. But while the melody has immediately got you gripped, you want to take a moment for a close-read of those lyrics. Because that's part of Sheeran's charm, right?

He's not just a guy who can craft a melody that you'll be la-la-laing until your roommates impose an arbitrary no-singing-in-the-shower rule. He's also someone who pays a certain amount of attention to those lyrics, because Sheeran knows that part of his appeal is that he's the consummate everyman. This is best testified by his Bridget Jones's Baby cameo, when Bridget and her friend have no clue who he is when they bump into him in the VIP section, assuming they recognize him because he works at Starbucks. His words in the song are also testimony to this. But don't take my word for it, let's jump in.

Verse One

The club isn't the best place to find a lover
So the bar is where I go
Me and my friends at the table doing shots
Drinking faster and then we talk slow
Come over and start up a conversation with just me
And trust me I'll give it a chance now
Take my hand, stop
Put Van The Man on the jukebox
And then we start to dance
And now I'm singing like

Was there ever a wiser line than "The club isn't the best place to find a lover"? If you've dated a string of ne'er do wells you first made out with to the backdrop of a pulsing techno beat and who seemed far less impressive in the cold light of day, you'll know one thing: this soothsayer speaks the truth.

The second line gives us one significant piece of information for any fan crushing hard who'd like to believe Sheeran is single: "So I go to the bar" i.e. because you can't usually find a great lover in a club, Sheeran prefers bars. In short: he (or the person he's singing as) is on the hunt for a lover.

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Finally, Sheeran's a modern man who doesn't expect that he should have to do all the work. While he's on the prowl, he's also into people who approach him — "Come over and start a conversation just with me."

OK, you say. I'm into this. I don't have to sit around waiting for Sheeran to phone me, I can take direct action to make him fall for me. But who do I need to put on the jukebox to win Sheeran's heart? If you're faltering at Van The Man, I've got you; it's Van Morrison's nickname. But don't put on "Brown Eyed Girl." Way too obvious. If you want to slow dance with Sheeran, I'd opt for "Crazy Love."


Girl, you know I want your love
Your love was handmade for somebody like me
Come on now, follow my lead
I may be crazy, don't mind me
Say, boy, let's not talk too much
Grab on my waist and put that body on me
Come on now, follow my lead
Come, come on now, follow my lead

Sheeran's all about the finer details, so this one bears repeating, because it's a case of blink and you'll miss it. Did you notice how the chorus starts off in the voice of the male character "Girl, you know I want your love" before switching midway to his partner-to-be's voice: "Say, boy, let's not talk too much." The pre-chorus heats things up thanks to that fairly essential thing that you want to take place prior to getting jiggy with it: mutual lust.


I'm in love with the shape of you
We push and pull like a magnet do
Although my heart is falling too
I'm in love with your body
And last night you were in my room
And now my bedsheets smell like you
Every day discovering something brand new
I'm in love with your body
I'm in love with your body
I'm in love with your body
I'm in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I'm in love with the shape of you

But Sheeran's not just a romantic. He's also sexual, thus the chorus. He likes your smell on his bedsheets and your unique shape (note the lack of heteronormative specifics: tiny itty-bitty waist, voluminous breasts). But while the chorus is wildly sensual, Sheeran still wants you to know he's a sweet guy who's interested in both body and mind: "We push and pull like a magnet do/Although my heart is falling too."

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Verse Two

One week in we let the story begin
We're going out on our first date
You and me are thrifty
So go all you can eat
Fill up your bag and I fill up a plate
We talk for hours and hours about the sweet and the sour
And how your family is doing okay
Leave and get in a taxi, then kiss in the backseat
Tell the driver make the radio play
And I'm singing like

Sheeran continues on his crusade to be the most relatable man in modern pop. Lyrics for recessionistas: "We're going on our first date/You and me are thrifty." Same. And because he's all about those heartwarming, small details: "So go all you can eat... We talk for hours and hours about the sweet and sour."


Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on

I mean... I think you've got this.

In short, whether you're single or coupled up or somewhere between the two, this song is for you. It's about the excitement of another body, it's about the fun of drinking the night away with your friends, and it's about dating like a real person rather than a celebrity. Ed Sheeran's back, and he's better than ever.