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Released: 2010

Features: Boy & Bear

Let’s hit the play button on “Shape of Love” by Passenger, featuring Boy & Bear. What we’ve got here is a heartfelt tune that paints a picture of a chance encounter and emerging love shrouded by the ever-relatable metaphor of weather. This song beautifully encapsulates an emotion-laden moment buffeted by the elements, where the protagonist discovers a love interest that perfectly complements his own emotional landscape.

Let’s peel back the layers of this pop ballad. In the opening lines, “I only came inside to get out of the rain / And by the looks of things she may well have done the same”, we’re introduced to a serendipitous encounter. The protagonist and a woman, both seeking shelter from the symbolic rain, find themselves in the same place. The rain in this case could stand for life’s hardships — an all too common metaphor in pop lore. Next, the protagonist professes, “she’s the shape of love”. These lines put forth attraction and infatuation, as the protagonist sees something more in a stranger amidst the mundanity of daily life. The shape of love is an ambiguous term, it demonstrates how love can be subjective, different for everyone and sometimes hard to put into words.

As the song moves further, the chorus states, “I don’t ever want the rain to stop / I don’t ever want to leave this coffee shop / I don’t ever want the clouds to part”. On the surface, this seems to contradict common sentiments – why wouldn’t someone want the rain to stop? His yearning for the rain suggests a desire for these intimate, chance encounters to continue to happen. He’s not interested in the sun shining bright, indicating he’s content with the present moment, and doesn’t want the circumstances to change.

As the song progresses to “I don’t know how this one’s gonna end or how it may begin / But she’s the shape of love”, it showcases the uncertainty of love. Regardless of this uncertainty, the protagonist is mesmerized by this woman who, in his eyes, personifies love.

So, despite the rain-drenched hair, running makeup, and other perceived imperfections, this woman fits his idea of love. The continuous allusions to weather and the woman’s presence suggest a fated meeting that has awakened feelings of unexpected love. This reveals the crux of the song – love is not always perfect or easy, it comes in different forms, and sometimes the most unexpected circumstances can yield the most profound connections.

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