“Ed Sheeran has two new singles!” everyone in New York yelled at me as I walked to work yesterday, like some kind of reimagined La La Land in which the stakes are somehow even lower. (By the way, picture La La Land as being about Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift and the movie suddenly works.)
I would never usually listen to an Ed Sheeran single, except for by accident. But Monday was different. I don’t know—I was feeling like dipping my finger into an unusual pie.
The first single, “Castle on the Hill,” I don’t care about. I listened to ten seconds, turned it off, and immediately forgot it ever happened. But “Shape of You?” Now that’s something I can groove to.
On Monday evening, Rachel Vorona Cote wrote for this same website that the song is “utterly forgetful and dumb.” I’m sorry, but it isn’t. It is memorable and fun.
Sure, the opening lyrics (“The club isn’t the best place to find a lover so the bar is where I go”) aren’t great. In fact, I just laughed out loud at how silly they are. But that chorus? I’m singin’! I’m dancin’! I’m ready to go to the bar to find love and I’m ready to do some shots with his friends at a table!
What do I like about this song? I like how his voice gets all low in the refrain, and then high like a girl. I like how the words sound. I like the rhythm and how it makes me ride the subway like I’m riding to a fun party. Culture Editor Julianne Escobedo Shepherd says this is because he stole the dembow riddim from reggae/reggaeton, and I believe her, because she’s never ever lied to me before, and why would she start now? So, points off for theft, but points on for taste.
This song is already number one on Spotify’s Top Hits and will probably play on radio stations six times an hour for the next year and a half (it probably already does—I don’t have a radio). When Kara Brown comes back from vacation, she’ll probably give me a stern talking to. I’m sure it’ll somehow end up on Jezebel’s year-end list of the worst songs of 2017, and when it does, the writer (not me) will muse, “Remember when this used to be good?” And we’ll all be able to laugh and say, “Yeah. Yeah, I do.” Because that time is now: January 10, 2017. Barack Obama is our president. And this Ed Sheeran song is good.