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Breaking down the hit song “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, it’s a playful and compelling expression of attraction and romance, underpinned with Sheeran’s typical down-to-earth charm. The storyline draws heavily from the process and thrill of meeting someone new at a bar, the chemistry between them, and their journey progressing from strangers to lovers.

Starting off, Sheeran openly confesses, “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover / So the bar is where I go,” implying his preference for the more intimate and laid-back setting of a bar, rather than oscillating strobe lights and deafening club music. Instantly, we get this image of a guy who’s more about shooting the breeze with friends while sipping on drinks, rather than wild partying.

The line “Me and my friends at the table doing shots / Drinking fast, and then we talk slow” creates a great visual and atmospheric setting. It implies the habit of taking shots, following the initial rush with more intimate and relaxed conversation – classic pub culture. The song then delves straight into the meet-cute when the girl strikes a conversation, immediately seizing Sheeran’s attention.

÷ (Deluxe)

A lovely pop cultural Easter egg is dropped in the line, “Take my hand, stop, put ‘Van the Man’ on the jukebox,” Van the Man being a loving nickname for Van Morrison, indicating a shared appreciation for good music, that adds an extra layer to their budding connection.

It’s undeniable that the chorus is eye-catching: “I’m in love with the shape of you / We push and pull like a magnet do.” It’s a radiant metaphor for that magnetic attraction one feels when chemistry is off the charts. This attraction isn’t merely physical – though lines like “And now my bed sheets smell like you” undeniably point to that – but it also remarkably deals with the excitement of the continual discovery of one’s personality, expressed in “Every day discovering something brand new.”

The second verse depicts a first date scenario, replete with all its awkwardness and charm. Talk of ‘thrifty’ buffets and long conversations cleverly root the song in the real world, making it relatable and adding to Sheeran’s image as an down-to-earth bloke. The taxi ride back home, with the kiss in the back seat and the driver instructed to “make the radio play,” adds a touch of modern-day romance to the mix.

The song then moves into repetition, underscoring the idea of the irresistible attraction and the discovery process. The repeated plea, “Come on, be my baby, come on,” marks the transition from attraction to a desire for deeper commitment.

All in all, “Shape of You” works as a compelling ballad of modern love, an exploration of attraction, an examination of that inexplicable “click” that happens when you meet someone special. It’s a testament to Sheeran’s ability to spin a universal narrative from simple moments and make it catchy as all get out.