Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" Lyrics Are Realistic About Dating


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.

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Verse One

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."


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.


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

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."


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.