"Shape Of You" Added This Iconic Lyric To Fix A Big Problem

Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images.
After becoming Spotify's number one artist, and with "Shape Of You" securing the spot as most-streamed song ever on the platform, I think it's safe to say all of us want to know how Ed Sheeran makes the magic happen. In a video with the New York Times also featuring producer Steve Mac and longtime friend Johnny McDaid, the trio that brought this hit to life detail of serendipitous circumstances of how it came to be. It was nothing more than luck, they say, but we're sure the heaps of talent in the room didn't hurt either.
Advertisement
The song went through many iterations before it landed on Spotify — Sheeran wasn't even originally going to sing it — but there's one change that was absolutely crucial, and that without, would have made the song a little bit problematic.
"On the original version it doesn't actually say 'I'm in love with the shape of you,'" Sheeran revealed in the video. It was, in fact, McDaid who wanted to bring it in, mostly because the original lyric on its own, "I'm in love with your body," felt objectifying to the writer.
The phrase "shape of you" came from something people used to say in his hometown, but they tried a few things to make the 2017 hit a little more woke. "It is more than your body"? No. "You are more than your body"? True, but not quite catchy enough. Instead, they decided to balance out the line about a woman's body with the "shape of you" imagery, and it ended up not just fixing an important problem, but being the line nobody can get out of their heads whether they've been listening to the song or not — oh, right, apologies in advance that I just got it stuck in yours.
Watch the full video about their process over here.
Advertisement

More from Music

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.